Podcast roundup.

I thought I would highlight podcasts here this week as i have been streamlining my feed with the ongoing year of less. I am still surprised that there are many who either don’t know about podcasts or who have never tried them out. I would say that they are one of the things that have helped keep my sanity, passing time whilst waiting for all sorts of things. when I first started listening to them on my daily commute in London they were informing and educating about a whole plethora of subjects from travel, health, tech and although I hate the word, lifestyle. If memory serves me correctly I started out with macpowerusers one night on the 141 bus in central London with the usual grinding commute home and that opened up a whole new world for me and very quickly there weren’t enough hours in the day to listen to my backlog of content. To me it is just like listening to the radio but it’s a stream of content that I want and not having to wait for the programs you like or want to listen to come round on the good ol’ radio. Yes there are catchup services now but they are no where near as useful as podcast downloaded to ones media player of choice and at the time there was noting really like it. Obviously the quality of the podcast is an important factor but now with decent quality kit not costing the earth it is relatively easy to create them on a kitchen table or in a bedroom, It doesn’t have to sound like someone’s coming from the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Amazingly there are people that produce regular shows and episodes with nothing but a mobile phone. But on the whole the level of production needs to be considerably less complicated and therefore opens and democratises the whole process.

Once only the territory of usually public broadcast programming there a of a lot of niche topics and conversations that can be found whether you are into current events, hustling or backyard bodging. The fact that YouTube is now so dominant not as a search engine in its own right but also in the online media doesn’t mean that podcasts are waning away, on the contrary they are starting to boom. People obviously, myself included, like to listen as we do other things and in this modern era of everything always on we are now able to choose how and when we consume. There is something about the spoken word that is relaxing and undemanding much like the radio of old also and I guess depending on the podcast one likes and identifies with the voices of the host(s). There is also the added benefit to podcast listening that you can choose to listen or not. From the very beginning I always used to listen religiously not missing a minute but then as time went by I realised that skipping the bits that were and I use this word advisedly, uninteresting to me didn’t make me a bad person and it gives me more time to listen to more podcasts, at least I don’t listen at double speed!

So what to listen to? Well my playlist includes a variety of genres and really the best place to start is the Apple podcast directory which is now in its own app, but also available on Mac and PC via the iTunes Store on these respective platforms. It is the most complete list that I have come across although there are other alternatives. Apple really championed podcasts long before it became popular and so far seemingly uninterested in controlling this medium. The benefit of looking at iTunes is that it also offers recommendations for similar podcasts in that group. I talk about iTunes and the Apple ecosystem as I have an iPhone and started listening to podcasts on that platform however there are alternatives for Android though I am not aquatinted with this. So what follows is a selection of ones that I listen to or have listened to in the past and is by no means extensive.

Life

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-minimalists-podcast/id1069757084?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-ground-up-show/id1203518464?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/lets-know-things/id1119222036?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/zero-to-travel-podcast-national-geographic-type-adventures/id778339885?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/podcast-tiny-house-chat/id911216379?mt=2 (now finished but some great stuff in there if your into tiny homes)

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/optimal-finance-daily-best-personal-finance-minimalism/id1090822398?mt=2

Others

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/desert-island-discs/id342735925?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/kermode-and-mayos-film-review/id73802698?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/tedtalks-society-and-culture/id470623803?mt=2

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-life-scientific/id469912037?mt=2

A bit of tech, but I won’t bore you..

https://overcast.fm/+E7b6LVQzM (productivity and tech)

https://overcast.fm/+FrCFFA3dg (Apple related tech and interviews)

As for podcatchers I have tried just about all of them including Apple’s App, Downcast, Castro, Pocketcasts and others (these can all be found on the iOS App Store) but have settled with Overcast as that has some features(Smart Speed especially) that I like and I like the fact there are ads at the bottom for other podcasts, funny when we spend most of out time trying avoid ads.

One things for sure, you can easily go down the rabbit hole on this one. See where it takes you if you haven’t tried a podcast out..

Till next time..

Intentional Living – A guide to life not a blueprint

I have been gathering my thoughts about minimal living and minimalism over the last couple of years and trying to clarify what feels best for me. I certainly don’t want to live in a white room with only a chair in it nor do I want to be carrying around decades of detritus under the guise it has some kind of value. One of the hardest things to get ones head around is what is actually important. Now I know that there is a a huge spectrum of what that means to each person but guess there is a happy medium for all of us that sit somewhere in the middle of utter chaos and extreme simplicity.

Looking into this world of downsizing and minimalism it seems to attract a kind of people that have a somewhat nomadic way of life and I have no evidence to back this up but it would be interesting to see a study of the socio-economic demographics of this group. They are probably out there and I should have done some homework. But it would seem to me that this compact living allows for and encourages a more mobile life.

I guess what really switched me on to the whole ‘thing’ was stumbling across a podcast of the Minimalists around 2013. I was already aware of the tiny house movement and many other forms of smaller living before but I really started to explore the possibility of living life with less when an enforced move lead me to question the things that owned due to the cost of moving and storing them. Now as I said I really am not about ditching all the things that I hold dear for the sake of some doctrine that decrees that possessions are bad but I am trying to get to a point where the things I do own have meaning to me beyond any sentimental or monetary value, i.e. the cost of replacing them. Somethings are irreplaceable like Mum’s hand made quilt, the family photos of the parts of the family no longer with us, from a time when there were very records of people and places unlike now where a phone can hold a multitude of history. Everything can be replace expect me, or should I say people, so with that mantra most of the stuff strewn around me is mainly junk. However that then brings into questions the methods of disposing of it or recycling it. The old me would have just taken it all to the dump. I know they can strip out a load of stuff, pulp and generally reuse quite a bit now but even so the idea of land filling a bunch of plastic etc is not appealing and I would rather someone get some more use out of it that it end up in a landfill site. It’s not that long ago that “we” did naturally recycle and I have strong memories of being taken skip diving and dump hunting when I was a little boy. It was certainly a lot more acceptable then and my parents parents generation made do with even less.

So that led me on to how can I give it away? Easy, there are now more ways than ever to donate unused and unloved things and I have started asking anyone in my immediate social sphere if I can give it away. On top of that I have started to Freecycle things too, yes there are other sites available but thats the one I ran into first. Once you get into the swing of thinning out and overcoming the anxiety of not having more. It is amazing the freeing feeling one gets when the layers of lifes detritus are lifted away and slowly one feels like one can breath again not weighed down both psychically and metaphorically crap. The act of giving is also a affirming experience and although I have made minimal efforts on that front through my life I feel that this is something I want to continue. Giving back I believe is the phrase. Someone once said something about “doing something for nothing is good for the soul” and I would heartily agree. What does all of this have to do with intentional living? Well in my view it is bound up in the premise of trying to live intentionally. What does that really mean? we hear so much about trying to live this ways in its many guises but for me I think it just boils down to thinking about the consequences of my decisions and actions when it comes to pretty much any avenue of life not just the things we buy. I was pointed to this post over on twitter and it really struck a cord with how I see and think of all ‘this’. It’s not about a badge or being of a clan it just living a happier life.

I’m not sure to about becoming a fully paid up member to the minimalist way of life as I like to pick and choose far too much but I have certainly benefited mentally from the idea that less is more. I guess we all do this in our own ways but it is very interesting to see others view points and learning about these patterns is fascinating to me. I also realise that the things that I once thought I “needed” are really just a distraction from working out what is important in life and to me. If only I had worked this out sooner. But like the cliché `says hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Now is the time to jettison the junk. Another lot has just sold on the famous auction site and more to go on. I really am getting into the ebaying thing and am thinking what happens when my junk comes to an end? I need to find more hahaha! But thats another thing. I am also taking sporadic pictures to remind me how I am doing with the offloading and as a reminder for the future me not to return to the bad ol’ ways. But progress is starting to get some momentum and one of the nice offshoots of selling the clutter is that when I am ready to by something new I really need, I know I will be paying cash for it, no credit will have been sought and that is such a great feeling. One that I think a lot of people have long forgotten.

Till next time..