The podcaster who travels through cultures

Lara Studer
Apr 22, 2019 · 4 min read

a portray about Travis J. Dow and his works

By Lara Studer

Travis J. Dow

“I always try to blend in, trying not to tell my whole story […] but I actually have no real roots.”

Which come with no surprise if you’re looking into the story of Travis J. Dow, podcaster between two continents.

Born in 1982 in Corvallis, Oregon he was on the move since he was a toddler. Aged four he moved with his family to Munich, because his father had a job at Siemens. Speaking German within six months, he moved back for high school when he was 14 years old. He ended up in Munich again when he was 18 for hotel management school but went back after one year to study at Oregon State University. But this wasn’t the end of his intercontinental movings, as he started to work right after University in Prague for 10 years. It’s quite a story to tell and Travis has no conventional home but feels at home at several places.

His in total eight movings between the continents actually led him to podcasting. First, he started to translate a German podcast called “Das geheime Kabinett” just to keep his German in practice, but he didn’t stop there. He was living in the old town of Prague and as a history geek, Travis was deeply interested in the history of the city and alchemy, so he started to work as a guide for ghost tours. In the beginning, there was only a blog about the history of alchemy, but then he met soon after at work his future podcast partner Peter Collmann. They both started the podcast “History of Alchemy” and “Bohemican Podcast”. Peter nor Travis expected anything with their podcast.

“We popped up a bottle of sparkling wine after the first 30 subscribers”, he says still amused.

A trailer for a Bohemcian episode

But that was only the beginning of a long story of success. Inspired by other history podcasts like the “History of Rome” Travis wanted to do something more. He thought back to his youth in Munich and started the podcast “History of Germany”, but it felt wrong to do only in English. So, he did every episode in English and German, too. From there the way to “Americana für euch” a German podcast about the history of USA seems just natural next step in his podcast career.

The podcasts gained a lot of attention, which Travis did not expect and motivated him to go on. Today he gets sponsored for his podcasts, even podcasting is still not his fulltime job. Now back in the States, he works besides podcasting as a technical editor in a tech company in Silicon Valley. He founded the podcast label “Podcastnik” a word creation based on the Russian satellite Sputnik and does publish under this label all his different podcast productions with his several podcast partners.

Podcastnik anniversay

Travis is an easygoing positive person, as his podcast partner Peter Collmann can confirm.

“He is such a fun guy and extremely generous with his time, funds, and gifts to up-and-coming podcasters…. there are a ton of people that know this first hand. Many of these people have become successful in podcasting because of the start they got from Trav.” — Peter Collmann

Also, his podcast partner from History of Germany Judith Strußenberg shares this opinion. „Travis is someone who I really regret that normally there are thousands of kilometers and the ocean between us, but even from the distance I like how stirring he is […] and one day I want to know how why his days have more hours than mine but till then I am looking forward doing the next podcast episode with him.”

But where is his ultimate goal in his podcasting? It’s isn’t success or fame as you may think.

“I want to make an impact on people, so they think about the stories I tell.”

He remarks, that not only the serious story like about antisemitism are important, but also the mundane stories about his childhood friends. Besides, that one urgent wish remains; he wants to see Immad in safety. Immad is a Syrian refugee in Cairo and does the Arabic translation of History of Germany Podcast to help fellow refugees in Germany to understand the culture and history there. “And he is not safe in Cairo”, Travis urges, “I really want to help him.”

Travis J. Dow is a down to earth person, who knows exactly how privileged he is, starting from his childhood between two worlds and now his success in podcasting. Having this consciousness, he wants and does the right thing; he uses his privilege to help others and this is something which many people are amazed about him; his apparently endless positive energy and goodwill.

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