Historic, cultural, or famous distances, with podcasts?
April 14, 2020 12:16 PM   Subscribe

I am starting to walk more for fitness and I like the idea of walking a famous route or place, along with listening to a podcast or audio-book that fits.

My first walk is the distance from coast to coast of the Panama canal while listening to a podcast on its history and construction. I am hoping you all can help me come up with some interesting distances and some matching podcasts. So far I have;
Hadrian's wall with History of Roman Empire
Downloadable walking tour of Interesting cities (on the shorter end of what I am looking for)
The Appalachian trail with any audio-book that is relevant

This is of course right now in our world on a treadmill so I am a little open to streaming video of a journey or place rather than audio, but audio is preferred.
posted by dstopps to Society & Culture (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods, for the Appalachian Trail
Cheryl Strayed, Wild, for the Pacific Crest Trail (I have not read this, but it seems appropriate)
James Joyce, Ulysses, for rambling around Dublin

Lots of books set along the Camino de Santiago as well
posted by basalganglia at 12:47 PM on April 14, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also on the shorter end of what you're after, but Ramblings with Clare Balding has been going for about 20 years and each episode is a different walk in the UK. They're short (25 minutes apiece) but there are 239 episodes so you could do several if there are enough spots there you're particularly interested in.
posted by penguin pie at 1:05 PM on April 14, 2020

The first season of 13 Minutes to the Moon is a documentary with great audio and supporting interviews with flight controllers of the Apollo 11 moon landing starting with the descent phase from Lunar Orbit, around 69-70 miles up, to the surface, and picking apart everything that happened in that 13 minutes. (I don't have the math handy to figure out how far they traveled over the ground while descending.) Once on the surface, by the way, Neil and Buzz walked a combined total of around 3300 feet, so feel free to add that on, hopping if you can.

As you get close to the final episodes of this podcast, which cover landing, you might want to pop on the recent documentary Apollo 11, which is 99% documentary footage and audio, with just a little bit of CGI to help the viewer follow what they're seeing on screen. It's 90 minutes long, and condenses the already tense 13 minutes into about 5. You think you'll be watching the moon, but you'll be watching the fuel gauge.

I figure 70 miles (plus .625 mile for moonwalking) is a nice distance for a podcast that length; if you want to cover the 239,100 mile distance to the moon, and double it for the trip back, well, you're gonna need another podcast, or maybe several hundred other podcasts.

Season 2 covers Apollo 13, which had its on-board explosion exactly 50 years ago yesterday (4/13).
posted by Sunburnt at 1:49 PM on April 14, 2020

The Pilgrims' Way from London to Canterbury (UK), and an audiobook of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales (and / or of the Tales themselves, depending on how long you want it to be). The closest equivalent to that part of the Pilgrims' Way is the North Downs Way.
posted by paduasoy at 2:04 PM on April 14, 2020

The English Channel (560 km) and The Crossing: The Curious Story of the First Man to Swim the English Channel by Nigel Calder. I suspect it would take you longer to walk 560 km than to listen to the audio book though, but there are quite a few fiction and non-fiction books also written about the English Channel.
posted by unstrungharp at 4:15 PM on April 14, 2020

If fiction works, you can walk various routes in Middle Earth. That page has worked out distances for many of the journeys in the books.
posted by current resident at 4:37 PM on April 14, 2020 [1 favorite]

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