How I Podcast: In conversation with Olivia Lopez of “The Art of Travel”

May 14, 2021

For many of us, it feels simultaneously like a lifetime ago and just yesterday that we were giddily planning our next vacation. Those were, of course, the Before Times. The world of travel, and the world at large, has since changed drastically—it’s hard to know what shape the After Times will take and how they’ll change the way we travel.

It’s all top of mind for Olivia Lopez, whose podcast, “The Art of Travel,” is aptly titled. In each episode, the Manila-born, L.A.-bred Lopez ventures deep into travel themes we don’t always think about: the ways in which traveling changes us, the underheard voices from the hospitality industry, and where we’re going—not just literally. The latter is something Lopez thinks about a lot, especially as it relates to those aforementioned After Times.

We talked with Lopez about starting her podcast mid-pandemic, her ever-changing recording setup, and much more!

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your podcast?

Hi! My name is Olivia Lopez, and I’m the host of “The Art of Travel”—a conversation space that explores where we’ve gone and where we’re going. I’ve always been curious about how set and setting shapes a person’s perspective, and my guests on the show share how risk and curiosity have been formative to what they do today. In short, the podcast explores the ways movement influences personal, creative, and entrepreneurial development. 

I’m Manila-born and Los Angeles-bred. I wear many hats—first as a design and culture writer, photographer, and brand consultant. I also run Bon Weekender, a site that explores travel through the lens of sustainability, identity, and design. You can find “The Art of Travel” on Instagram @theartoftravel.podcast.


What fueled me to start a travel podcast was the unlikely and untimely event of the pandemic—after six months confined in the same four walls of my apartment, I realized I craved the connection and community of travel more than travel itself. The pandemic forced me to assess my relationship with travel and the intersection of industries I worked in—and in that full stop, I learned what I loved most was hospitality. Hospitality is one industry where the focal point is to make people feel good, and I wanted to create conversations about travel in a time when we’re not able.


I format my shows by first encountering a guest whose story I feel genuinely connected to. Then I deep-dive into researching their story. I vet every guest on a pre-interview call before our live recordings. Often I look for individuals who have a lot of story arcs—some of my favorites are ones where genuine curiosity and risk have led to pivotal, and sometimes life-changing moments. I hope to leave listeners inspired and I want every guest to be a portal into a new way of seeing.


My recording setup is a little all-over-the-place. Since the podcast launched during the pandemic, everything has been a remote learning experience. I’m learning a lot about sound acoustics—and how furniture can absorb noise. I’ve caged myself in comforters and pillows in closets and discovered my car while parked in a garage is a very quiet place to record introductions.


I promote “The Art of Travel” through my Instagram page @oliviavlopez as well as the featured guests’ social pages.


One thing I would have loved to know about podcasting before I started are editing fees. Also, it is incredibly time-intensive—though from start to finish, it’s become a process I love. It really feels like storytelling in its purest form.


I wanted to use audio to tell stories because of the nuance of voice: I’m an avid podcast listener, I consume everything through podcasts—and there have been moments I’ve been so moved by a story, just from a shift in tone and the power of how it can move language.


I wanted to use audio to tell stories because of the nuance of voice: I’m an avid podcast listener, I consume everything through podcasts—and there have been moments I’ve been so moved by a story, just from a shift in tone and the power of how it can move language.

What’s a podcast that you look to for inspiration?

I’m really inspired by “99% Invisible,” “In Good Company” by Otegha Uwagba, “At a Distance” by Spencer Bailey and Andrew Zuckerman, and recently “The World’s First Podcast with Erin and Sara Foster”—even if they only have one episode so far, I know I’m already hooked.


My favorite Anchor feature is the geographic location breakdown—I love seeing where my listeners are streaming from! 


My favorite thing about podcasting is connecting with people through their stories—I learn so much about each guest through these conversations, and it lends a space of intimacy that I don’t think I would have had the opportunity to have otherwise. 


My best podcasting advice: Enjoy the process, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.

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