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Long commutes can be tough, especially if you’ve only slept for two hours. When you’re running solely on fumes, it’s hard to stay motivated enough to make the drive to campus. The radio songs which play on repeat don’t make the task easier. Look at it this way — travel is like an adventure. There are streets you’ve never driven down, music you haven’t listened to and books you haven’t read. With a little help, your lengthy drive might become bearable.

Podcasts
Podcasts are digital audio files that can be downloaded to most devices and are a great time killer. From comedy to mystery, news and more, there are thousands of genres available. Not only are the possibilities endless, but all they require of you is to listen. Your hands can stay firmly on the wheel while the podcast does the entertaining.

TED Talks Daily is a great option for college students to consider, which is a daily podcast published on weekdays. If you like TED Talks, you’ll love these. The only difference between the two is Ted Talks Daily is in audio format. The podcast’s range of topics to explore to are unlimited, which is why TED Talks are so great.

If you’re not a big fan of TED Talks, then I suggest Stuff You Should Know. SYSK is an award-winning podcast hosted by Josh Clark and Charles W. Bryan. While most episodes involve the two gentlemen discussing how common things work, all episodes will tell you something you didn’t already know. One of the most recent episodes, called “Ballpoint pens? Heck yes, ballpoint pens!” presents little-known facts about the writing instrument. This quirky podcast is sure to grab your attention on dull drives.

Audiobooks
Audiobooks are a great option for those who like to read. You won’t be doing any visual reading yourself, but you’ll be engulfed into an imaginary world individual for each novel you listen to. The voice chosen for the audio can also enhance the experience of a story tremendously. Plus, your focus can stay on the road, where it’s supposed to be. Audiobooks are great because you can check out many titles from public libraries. This is an easy and cost effective way to vamp up your commute.

I recommend each audiobook for “The Inheritance Cycle,” a fantasy series about dragons, magic and a teenage boy named Eragon. The term fantasy often turns people away, but the incredible storyline in “Eragon,” “Eldest,” “Brisingr” and “Inheritance” will leave you eager for more. After you start listening to this series, you’ll wish for a longer commute.

It’s sad but true — fantasy novels aren’t for everyone. If the world of Alagaёsia doesn’t strike a chord with you, look for recommendations from your local library. The librarian can suggest popular titles you might not have heard of before. The best thing about libraries is that they are free. If you don’t like one book, you can always check out another.

The Road Not Taken
As the Robert Frost poem suggests, taking the path less travelled can make a huge difference. Let’s face it — we take the same two routes to school and work daily. While one course might provide familiarity, unfamiliarity can give you so much more. Why not try something new? It’s little things which make a difference in your commute. Instead of heading straight at an intersection, turn left. Even a simple turn can offer an abundance of new experiences. You never know — you might just make a turn in the right direction.

Commuting can be frustrating, especially when you spend hours on the road each day. It may be maddening, but there are ways to make it a little less awful. Podcasts, audiobooks and new directions will help make the drive bearable and get you where you need to go.

a.whitten@dailyutahchronicle.com

@adelinaydg

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