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Introduction to The First Mile podcast

The First Mile podcast cover photo


Introduction to The First Mile podcast

Have You Heard? is a series in which the team from Pod Bible meet the people behind the podcasts you may not have heard of yet. While the Oh. My. Pod. section in the magazine gives a quick shout out to shows of that ilk, Have You Heard aims to go deeper in an effort to spread awareness for shows that deserve more exposure! We recently spoke to travel journalists Ash Bhardwaj and Pip Stewart about their brand-new, immersive travel podcast The First Mile, which launched earlier this month.

Who are you and what’s your podcast about? 

Pip: We are travel journalists, Pip Stewart and Ash Bhardwaj. The First Mile brings you untold stories from the world of adventure.  It’s a weekly podcast series that explores everything from the ethics of cultural tourism, to how to document your journeys and make a living from travel. We navigate this territory with some of the world’s greatest travellers and they reveal key moments in their own careers. They talk about how they got their first break in travel writing, planned life-changing expeditions, or made the switch from the corporate sector to a life of adventure. And alongside these in-depth interviews are travel-narrative dispatches. These are evocative field recordings from our own adventures, which take the listener along for the ride. In the first season, you can join us in Annapurna (Nepal) and Whanganui (New Zealand) where we report back on rites of passage, celestial navigation, the joys of moonshine liquor, and a whole lot more!

What was the first podcast you ever listened to? 

Pip: The Ted Radio Hour.

Why did you decide to start podcasting in the first place? 

Ash: Podcasting is the perfect format for travel storytelling. Its immersive nature helps us transport our listeners, not just tell them what we’ve seen. As well as the narrative dispatches, Pip and I wanted to go beyond anecdotal travel interviews, to really dig into the tips, tools and knowledge of our guests, to help our listeners make the most of their own journeys.

Which podcasts do you take inspiration from? 

Pip: I’m a big fan of From Our Own Correspondent in terms of digging deeper into a place. About as far from adventure travel as you can get, I also love the interiors podcast, The Great Indoors, for the dynamic between the hosts. There’s something comforting about listening to friends chat about things they’re experts in – hopefully this comes across in our podcast too. Fingers crossed! 

Who’s your dream guest for the podcast? 

Pip: I’m going to be greedy and ask for three. I’d love to interview Devla Murphy, the 88-year old touring cyclist and author. She’s had some incredible adventures. Secondly, Michael Palin, I enjoyed watching his shows and reading his books when I was growing up – thinking “I’d love to do that,”  Thirdly, Barack Obama. In 2015 he joined Bear Grylls on his show Running Wild with Bear Grylls. I’d be fascinated to find out how (and if) travel and adventure has informed his politics and what he’s learnt from the outdoors. I have a theory that politics would be a better place if we made all politicians spend time cycle touring and then camping before they took office. I’d love his view… 

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far as a podcaster? 

Pip: Everything takes longer than expected!

Which episode would you say is the perfect introduction to your podcast? 

Pip: If you want an honest look at what it means to be a travel writer (and how to fund it) listen to award-winning writer Monisha Rajesh’s episode. Levison Wood’s episode is great if you want to hear about how he walked the Nile – and why failure led him there. For some armchair travel, check out our first dispatch episode from Ash’s photographic trip to Nepal. He treks high into the Annapurna mountain range, encounters tea houses and shares stories of the amazing people he came across. This episode also delves into the ethics of tourism and how we can all travel a little better. We will be releasing more episodes with some of the world’s best travellers every Wednesday…

Where can the Pod Bible readers find out more about you? 

Ash: I’m on Twitter and Instagram as @Ashbhardwaj. 

Pip: Find me on Instagram @PipStewart or Twitter. We’d love to hear what you think of the podcast!

The First Mile with Pip Stewart and Ash Bhardwaj

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