Well, we’re sure by now you’re sick and tired of hearing all the ways travel has changed due to the pandemic.
Humans are creatures of habit, and change isn’t often something we welcome when it prevents us from doing things we like to do… like taking trips and leaving our homes, having parties or leaving our faces uncovered.
But a few good things have come out of this crummy year, and a soothing new way to road-trip may be among the best.
Kevin Costner? Say no more.
Well, I’m still gonna say it anyway — I cannot gush enough about Kevin Costner to do him justice.
He’s a red-blooded American man’s man and an actual cowboy. He plays country music with his band. He’s worked tirelessly to educate the public on the importance of the American West to our human story.
And he’s sooooo attractive. Besides his rugged good looks (and he’s aged darn well), he’s got that voice that makes women of all ages swoon.
It’s a voice that soothes, one that we’ve heard for decades in films or as narration for television programs.
Actor, director, producer, conservationist, musician, cowboy — he’s done a little bit of everything, and a lot of great stuff. He’s almost perfect.
His only flaw for such a patriotic American is that he has campaigned for Obama and other lefties after once being a stalwart Republican. Like I said, almost…
And now, like Dances With Wolves and Yellowstone, he’s giving us another gift to connect our past and present, our history and our nation to all the hopes and dreams we’ve had to put off this year but are still lurking within us all.
So it’s only appropriate that the voice that could lull anyone into a state of serenity is narrating a series of podcasts for our listening enjoyment on our next Great American Road Trip.
This expression may not be used that much these days, but it was often a call of support and praise.
And that’s exactly what Proud American Travelers will be shouting in their cars, trucks, and mini-vans about the new app HearHere.
Co-founded by Costner with Bill Werlin and Woody Sears – who, from what I can gather, are a couple of genius tech-savvy guys who like travel and history – HearHere is one of the greatest things to happen to the road trip since mix tapes.
According to blog posts available on HearHere’s website, Werlin is a once-road-dog ski salesman with a love of the Rockies. Sears knows what it’s like to try to find quality entertainment options for the entire family while trapped in the car with kids for extended periods of time.
And then, there’s Costner. While I’d love to write a biography, I’ve probably already said enough about my favorite leading man. Each of these founders has a profound love for the stories and history that made America.
As evidenced by summer travel numbers, many Americans are still putting off air travel and sticking close to home. But families have found the open road is the perfect medicine for what has ailed us this year.
HearHere currently offers well over a thousand stories — not only narrated by Costner, but other celebrities – that “bring history alive” as we travel America’s historic roadways.
Most of the stories currently focus on the West Coast, but by next summer’s road trip/vacation season, the company plans to offer 10,000 tales about places all over our great nation.
Of course, iPhones dominate right now, so the app is so far only available for Apple. But, we lowly Android lovers won’t have to wait long for our chance to try this out.
Costner’s dream behind the creation of HearHere was to expand on those little “on this site…” landmark plaques that give a few sentences about important people, places, and events along the roadside.
Ever the storyteller (and story lover), Costner wanted to bring all the details about the places we go – to teach and to entertain. Sure, road trip tunes are great, and there are many memories behind them, but this app offers another special addition to our road trip playlist.
The first five stories are free so we can all take a trial trip with our favorite actors and notable personalities. After that, a subscription is just under 50 bucks for an entire year – and you don’t have to just listen in the car.
We can play Kevin’s (yeah, and the other narrators’) soothing stories at naptime, bedtime, dinnertime – any time at all!
And if you are on the road, the stories cover all sorts of relevant topics including local history, music, natural scenery, places of interest, and “colorful characters,” according to the website.
There are also blog posts and sample audio blips so you can get an idea of what the service promises. There are a few samples available, but I chose to listen to Kevin’s gravely history on the Central Coast. Several times. Ahhhh.
Podcasts have been a big thing in recent years, but this is one I’m pretty sure will not bore or disappoint.
And with AAA’s prediction that over 96 percent of travel this summer was by car – a trend that’s likely to continue as we approach the holiday season — this is a unique travel podcast whose timing couldn’t be better.
I can’t wait to take a long drive and listen to some of these stories to the sultry sounds of Kevin Costner’s narration.
The only thing that would improve this idea is if cowboy-hat-wearing Kevin would take me on private guided tours of America’s most scenic places in a big, dusty pickup.
I’m sure my husband won’t mind.
A girl can always dream.