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Soundscapes and Solitude: A Norwegian Commute with Podcasts as My Lifeline

A young woman stares from a train window with headphones on, a podcast playing.
Kaia Thonul, Monday, November 27, 2023, 08:15

In the humdrum silence of my train car, surrounded by the hazy grays of this chilly Norwegian morning, I find solace in the familiar melody of the recorded voices braiding into my eardrums. Despite the world's ceaseless orchestration of tension and strife, these podcasts form musical compositions of thought, a matchless concert, pulling me from reality's icy grip.

One would think that as a journalism student, my preference for audio content would hover around the lines of current affairs - the staple diet for a prospective news Andrew. But in the midst of my daily news digest, I found my spiritual haven somewhere between the human psyche and philosophical navel-gazing. Between coping with isolation in Nordic weather and keeping up with global dilemmas, these discourse-filled podcasts are my comforting hot cocoa, a soft refuge in a world swirling with perpetual conundra.

I've taken a particular liking to podcasts that delve into the labyrinth of human consciousness, spinning webs of captivating discourse about how we perceive reality, penned in the poignant lingua franca of moral philosophy or cognitive psychology. Something about exploring these intricate cerebral pathways, concealed deep within layers of corporeal matter, feels both intimate and humbling, a haven in my personal storm of intellectual overwhelming.

Extracting warmth from the philosophical, I then often glide into the waltz of socio-political podcasts, absolutely unafraid to stir the pot. Any cold morning becomes an invitation to explore the intricate play between power, government and its omnicompetent populace. Today's news makes a detour to a convoluted world where geopolitical complexities are constant reminders of the daunting task ahead for a budding journalist like me.

The recent resumption of operations in Gaza was a painful reminder layered over the icy landscapes outside my window. Countries can wage struggles of ideologies and power, and amidst this, the toll often remains upon the innocent, underreported, over-suffered populace, whose stories we, as journalists, try to foreground. No hypothetical podcast could dissect this conflict enough.

Lest the world weigh too heavily, sometimes I indulge in culinary podcasts, a welcome delight, providing a light-hearted breather amidst an otherwise dreary morning commute. With no personal summons to the kitchen in sight, these mouth-watering concoctions of culinary stories and recipes are my vicarious gastronomic adventures.

As my frosty breath fogs up the cold glass pane, I'm carried through the weaving tales of the world, immersed in soundscapes that amplify my human connection. Even when reality seems a weary march on cracking ice, these audio lifelines keep my spirit tethered, a beacon in my solitary pursuit of ethical storytelling. This exhaustive reality—an orchestra of international tensions, the bewildering intricacies of the human mind, and the comforting crumb of culinary adventures—are my everyday etudes in empathy and incessant learning.

The world outside continues its icy, slow waltz, and I quietly steel myself for yet another day at the university.

Tags: podcasts journalism Travel

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