What are you waiting for?
The advent of the podcast is the one thing that has fundamentally improved my state of mind by the time I walk into our office in the city centre in Cape Town. I have chosen to live 40 km away in rural tranquillity, but the flip side is a commute from hell that sends my blood pressure soaring, my heart racing and shortens my lifespan if my timing is off. I don’t like swearing, but “taxi” is a four-letter word! Listening to talk radio doesn’t help. Politics, crime, drought, recession... Or the news that another darned minibus has lost a wheel and is now blocking my – and thousands of other grumpy commuters’ – route into the city. No wonder my brain feels like a mouldy Brussels sprout by the time I eventually stumble into the office. Podcasts changed all that. I don’t really mind the commute these days. It gives me time on my own to listen to interesting people talk about topics that I enjoy. This morning, for example, I listened to episode 10 and 11 of go! Stories, where Jon Minster recounts his honeymoon travails in “Things get messy in Mieussy” and Toast Coetzer reads an early column of his called “Our own little Border War”. Snug in my car, with the voices of our writers taking me along on their journey, the dark, the rain and the taxis didn’t bother me at all. I even laughed out loud a few times. In rush-hour traffic! You can use your favourite Android or Apple app to listen to these and other go! Stories if you haven’t done so yet. In the afternoons on my way back home, I usually listen to my favourite historians, some of whom would put my family to sleep within five minutes if I had to share the pleasure with them. Dan Carlin’s “Hardcore History” has more than 20 hours just on the First World War. Bliss! In an episode of “Revisionist History”, the brilliant Malcolm Gladwell talks about his 12 rules for a happy life. He ends up realising that he actually only has one rule, but the podcast got me thinking about similar rules of my own: Buy the best red wine you can afford. Only spend time with things and people that enrich your life. And get in your car and drive – even if it’s all the way to East Africa!