Now that fall is here, I’m taking longer walks. The trees have started sporting their bright red and yellow highlights. The air is crisp and the low humidity makes walking all the more pleasant.
I try to take at least three 3-mile walks each week. Before the pandemic, most of the exercise walks I did were with my walking buddies at work during our lunch break. There were about six of us in our walking crew and someone was always willing to get out and get some steps. So not having friends to walk and talk with has been a major adjustment!
I sometimes like a quiet walk where I listen to nature and the interesting sounds of my neighborhood, but I’ve found that podcasts can also be a great companion. Obviously, millions of people like to listen to podcasts when they workout, so listening to them during exercise will be no newsflash for them. But in case it’s of use to someone reading this post (I sure hope so!), here are a few of my favorites that are worth a listen. Most of them are between 45-60 minutes long, which is about the same length as my walks.
These podcasts are thought-provoking, soul-nourishing and mind-revving. Can’t say enough about them. Without further adieu, here’s my list:
On Being with Krista Tippet: I used to regularly listen to the On Being podcast on the radio. It’s aired on my local NPR affiliate, WAMU, on Sunday mornings at 7 a.m. Pre-pandemic, On Being would be on the air on my way to Church (I like the 7:30 a.m. sunrise Mass), and though it’s not a religious show, per se, it always touched on spiritual themes that evoked the same emotions that a good sermon would: self-reflection, contemplation and openness to the wonder of the Word and the world. These days, I head out for my walks between 6:45 and 7:15 a.m. It’s the perfect time to listen, especially if I’m out on Saturday or Sunday mornings. There are so many amazing episodes on this show that it’s hard to recommend just one place to start. But Tippett’s 2019 conversation with Imani Perry – which discussed at length Perry’s experiences raising two Black sons, including her experience with “progressive” schools – was particularly resonant to me.
The Secret Lives of Black Women: This show is hosted by close friends Charla Lauriston and Lauren Domino and touches on every topic under the sun, but from the unique perspectives of the bad ass Black women they interview. I LOVE this show and feel such a connection to its hosts and guests, some of whom I knew nothing about before listening. Unfortunately, new episodes ended in May 2020, but I still have their three dozen previous episodes to catch up on. The very first episode I listened to was Charla and Lauren’s interview with Teen Vogue’s youngest-ever Editor-in-Chief Lindsay Peoples Wagner. I was hooked after that! Highly recommend.
Deliberate Freelancer: Full disclosure, this is the podcast of one of my closest friends, Melanie Padgett Powers. As you can tell from the title, the show addresses the do’s and don’ts of building a successful freelance business. And while that’s not exactly my lane, there is certainly a lot that 9-to-5ers can learn about handling oneself in business, whether it’s thinking about how you can innovate the work you do to improving your relationship with the freelancers and consultants that you work with. She also has a lot of universally actionable content, such as how to build self-care into your calendar (and budget) and tips for polishing your personal brand. (If you struggle with personal branding, like I do, I highly recommend the episode “Yes, You Need a Personal Brand, with Hilary Sutton” of the Hustle & Grace podcast.)
Brown Ambition: I love learning about money, how to earn it, grow it, save it and spend it. And because of that love, I’d come across content from Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche in the wilds of the interwebs, including on the Secret Lives of Black Women podcast. Then I found my way to her podcast, which Aliche co-hosts with personal finance reporter Mandi Woodruff. There are literally hundreds of episodes on finance, wealth building, investments and the like – some are led by the two co-hosts and others feature guests like FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) advocates Christina and Amon Browning of Our Rich Journey.
The Walk-In: This podcast, which launched this summer, is hosted by Elle Simone Scott, a.k.a. the lone Black cast member on America’s Test Kitchen. Scott interviews some of the leading Black voices in the culinary industry. My grandfather was a chef in D.C. in the 1940s through 1970s. I so remember as a child going to restaurants with my parents. They’d always reference “the Brothas in the kitchen,” like my PopPop, who you didn’t see, but who you knew was responsible for making the delicious meal we were eating. Listening to this podcast reminds me that there are still many unsung heroes and sheroes of the food business that don’t get the spotlight they deserve. Scott, in my opinion, is one of those people, too! I’m loving the conversations she’s having with Black food professionals, like this one with award-winning vegan author Bryan Terry, and how she’s helping to raise the profile of Black chefs, cooks, entrepreneurs and foodies.
With such an abundance of content in these and the many thousands more to discover and explore, I’ll have enough to keep me walking all the way through this pandemic and beyond. Let me know the podcasts that you love in the comments!