I live 42 miles from my office. Due to traffic, especially in the winter months when all the snowbirds are back in town, it takes me up to 90 minutes to drive to or from work. Yes, it’s crazy, and I don’t recommend it. However, my husband and I fell in love with a specific suburb, and felt it was a great place to raise a family. We also had a lot of family that lived nearby, and since only one of us had to commute at the time (my husband worked from home full-time from 2008 to 2014), we decided that we’d rather commute to work than commute to family. Also, at the time, the plan was for me to become a SAHM eventually. That plan has fallen by the wayside, but I have no plans to change jobs. The position I have right now is a good one, and right now I’m able to telecommute part time (I work from home 3 days per week).
However, from November 2008 until November 2014 I was driving 90 miles per day 4-5 days a week (I started working from home one day per week in 2013).
I’ve had to find many creative ways to pass the time during my commute. I’ll sometimes listen to music but I prefer Immaculate Heart Radio, or playlists on my iPhone. I really love podcasts and audiobooks, though, and to that end I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite resources.
Catholic Answers Live. I’ve been a fan of the Catholic Answers apostolate for several years –the tracts on Catholic.com played a large part in my journey to the Church – and although I didn’t discover the podcast until after my conversion, I’ve listened to it on the radio or via MP3 download since 2005 or so. It’s great to have the day’s two episodes automatically downloaded to my iPhone every night so I can keep up. I especially enjoy episodes where Jimmy Akin (staff apologist) and Patrick Coffin (the show’s host) discuss deep theological issues such as, “Is it morally permissible to utilize zombie labor?”
The Break with Fr. Roderick. “From the Simpsons to the sacraments, from technology to theology, this show features the cool and the classical, the past and the future, the trends and the tradition…whatever you are and whatever you’re doing, it’s time for a break!” Hosted by the Dutch podcasting priest, Catholic new media guru, and all around funny guy, Fr. Roderick Vonhögen.
Among Women. “‘Among Women’ celebrates the beauty and grace that women experience in their Catholic Faith and Life. We hope this ‘faith-sharing’ program will be ‘faith building’ …inspiring women in their call to holiness by drawing closer to Christ and the Catholic Church, by living lives of prayer and loving service.”
The Catholics Next Door. This weekly podcast is done by husband-and-wife team Greg and Jennifer Willits. The Willits family has five kids, four boys and a girl, so the show’s chock-full of fun stories about family life and Catholic parenting, games, and serious discussions as well. (Greg is also a kindred spirit in that he’s a huge Star Wars fan –one of their sons is named Benjamin Kenobi. How cool is that?).
Daily Readings from the USCCB. The daily readings for the Mass in convenient podcast form. The only drawback is that they’re in the American Standard Version as opposed to the (in my opinion) better-translated Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition, but regardless it’s a good way to get deeper into Scripture on a daily basis.
LibriVox.org. This is a site, not a podcast (although there is a LibriVox podcast available as well). It’s a fantastic resource for those who love audiobooks but can’t afford to purchase many on a regular basis. LibriVox volunteers record literary works that are in the public domain and offer them free of charge. You can listen to books by G.K. Chesterton, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. Therese of Liseux, and many more.
Did you know that some public libraries offer the option to check out audiobooks? The one in my neck of the woods is called the Greater Phoenix Digital Library. If your local public library has this option, it’s a very affordable way to listen to a wide variety of audiobooks, including works by G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis, among others (such as Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI).
I have a difficult time praying the rosary while I’m driving — traffic is often thick and I find it too distracting. However, if you don’t have this problem, there are many great Rosary MP3s available – Rosary Army has some great ones, EWTN has downloads of Mother Angelica and the Nuns of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery saying the rosary, and Discerning Hearts has some too.
Do you have a preferred Catholic podcast or other resource for a long commute? Please share your favorites in the combox!