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Tales from the Departure Lounge takes flight

A new podcast series is celebrating the transformative power of travel in the lives of international education professionals.
March 13 2023
3 Min Read

Everybody’s talking about Tales from the Departure Lounge, a cult new audio series that celebrates the transformative power of travel in people’s lives.

The first five episodes were released last week and achieved 1,200 streams in just seven days, placing it in the top 5% of listening figures for all podcasts according to Buzzsprout statistics.

Listeners tuned in from all over the world as word spread across the international education community. Some people reported downloading the series in preparation for long haul flights overseas including delegates going to the APAIE conference taking place in Bangkok.

The show is co-hosted by Andy Plant and The PIE’s very own Nick Cuthbert and has a slightly more irreverent tone to some of the usual content in the sector.

Stories recalled by guests often focus on controversial themes such as dangerous situations, geo-political unrest, drinking culture, cultural misappropriation and illness – often with hilarious consequences.

The candid insights reflect the true nature of traveling for work or study, and while some of the stories may be shocking, many people will be able to relate to them.

“One thing that unites everyone in the international education industry is travel,” explained Plant who also writes and records jingles for the show.

“We’ve simply asked our community to share their experiences, their stories and their wisdom from time spent on the road and we can’t believe how well it’s been received.”

The show follows a structure for each guest including a final boarding call to a destination of their choice, tips on essential items they’d take and a more philosophical segment entitled ‘what’s the purpose of your visit?’

So far guests have taken listeners on an audio adventure to places such as Luanda in Angola – the world’s most expensive city for expats, Kurdistan in Northern Iraq as well as Cuba, Cambodia and the US.

“It occurred to me that many people are still working from home,” explained Cuthbert about the inspiration for the series. “Many people don’t have that tea break or water cooler moment to chat with colleagues any more, to share their adventures and travel hacks.

“We’ve absolutely loved the community engagement on social media in response to the first releases so we are setting up the frequent flyers club – a mailbox where people can send us or record their own travel stories that we can share on the show,” said Cuthbert.

The first five episodes feature guests from the UK university sector including Martyn Edwards (Loughborough University), Selma Toohey (QS), Andy Mandebura (University of Huddersfield), Justin Wood (ApplyBoard) and The PIE’s CEO, Amy Baker.

The next five-episode drop is already in production and will include episodes on wider travel perspectives from outside the higher education sector including a luxury hotel inspector and a wildlife film producer.

Listeners can hear Tales from the Departure Lounge on all major streaming providers including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon podcasts, as well as directly on the website

Chapter markers and a full transcript of each episode has also been added for accessibility and convenience. Listeners can submit their stories to the frequent flyers club by emailing

Have you listened to Tales from the Departure Lounge? Let us know what you thought of the series in the comments below. 

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