To the outside world I'm just a guy walking down a Toronto street on a Saturday afternoon listening to his iPod. But in reality, okay, in 'my' reality, I'm in a 4X4 crossing the incredible Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the world's largest salt flats. And the guy you see in the morning line-up at Starbucks waiting for his dark-roasted cuppa to kick-start his day? He's not listening to Justin Bieber. (Trust me!) He's thousands of miles away, riding a rickshaw toward a temple in Chennai, India. Podcasts are the new radio for me. Over the last two years I've become addicted, especially to travel-related podcasts. I get to plug into what I want when I want - and escape to wherever I want. Over the next while I'm going to share with you - and rave about - my top 5 favourite travel podcasts. First up: Chris Christensen of The Amateur Traveler. [caption id="attachment_2609" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Chris Christensen, The Amateur Traveler"] [/caption] 5 Reasons You Want to Listen to This Travel Podcaster • Format: Chris Christensen of The Amateur Traveler delivers an engaging and informative interview each week (his video podcasts are twice-monthly) with guests from all over the world. He typically follows a Q&A format with his guests, who range from amateur travellers to travel industry experts. And some weeks, I think he just follows his instincts and gives free rein to that day's guest, asking open-ended questions that enable the interviewee to take over. At the end of each episode he asks a standard set of questions. My favourite: "Describe to me a moment when you know you are the farthest away from home." He opens up entire new worlds by asking that question. Bonus: all podcasts are bursting with great take-away advice and service-tips. Chris crafts his questions in such a way that they bring out the unforgettable travel moments, but also the how-to and best tips and what do avoid. • Personality: Friendly, informative, inquiring, articulate, thoughtful and honest. He's the first to fess up if he's goofed on a historical or geographical fact. He's soft-spoken yet gets the goods out of his guests. He doesn't come on like a hard-hitting journalist. Rather, he gently draws out descriptive detail and memorable travel experiences, and he asks questions that conjure up specific images in amazing detail - without even being there. Gary Arndt, the award-winning travel blogger behind Everything Everywhere, frequently introduces Chris Christensen as "the man so nice they named him twice." • Talks about Canada: Chris has devoted several podcasts to Canada. Listen his segments on Prince Edward Island, Toronto, the Yukon and Kingston, Ontario. This is what the rest of the world is hearing about Canada. • Talks to Canadians: Not only does Chris occasionally cover Canada, but he also interviews Canadians who've travelled afar. In one episode titled "Traveling Iran by Bike", he interviews Canadians Friedel and Andrew Grant. Friedel guests in another podcast episode devoted to "Bike Travel in Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan)." Another excellent Canadian guest has been Montreal-born lawyer-turned-world-traveller Jodi Ettenberg who's behind the popular web site Legal Nomads. In this episode, Jodi reports on her trip to Chile. • Great photos: The Amateur Traveller photography gallery is a must-visit for any travel enthusiast. My personal favourite is his Asia Photo Gallery. More About Chris Christensen [caption id="attachment_2613" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="The not-so-amateur traveller Chris Christensen, known to peers as Chris 2X"] [/caption] To know more about Chris, read his profile on the Amateur Traveler web site. You can also catch him on the weekly group panel podcast This Week In Travel. Stay tuned for my No. 2 favourite travel podcaster. And I'd like to know of any travel-related podcasts you follow. Send me a message at DougCanLiving@canadianliving.com or, better yet, post your response here. Happy travels! P.S. Yeah, okay, as you've probably noticed above, our style is to spell traveller with two l's while the American spelling, which Chris uses, calls for just one l. Noted.