An Unexpected
Literary Podcast

Every week, host Adam Sockel interviews a popular member of the literary world about their passions beyond what they're known for. These longform, relaxed conversations show listeners a new side of some of their favorite content creators as well as provide insight into the things that inspire their work.

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It's all about the layers with Julia Whelan

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On episode three of Passions & Prologues, Julia Whelan chats with Adam about her unique passion- packing for vacation! Julia is well known for iconic voice as the narrator of hundreds of audiobooks and her new novel Thank You for Listening is a must read (or listen!).

Julia has traveled all over the world for various lengths of time and across all seasons. All of this experience has made her a master of travel prep. Come for the conversation about her excellent new book, stay for the tips about layers, clothing rolling, and transitional shoes!

You can view the episode transcript here.

Enjoyed this episode? Be sure to rate and review us on whatever platform you listen to your podcasts and send your feedback to [email protected] If you email us proof of your review, Adam will send you a personalized book recommendation via email! Thank you to everyone who did so after the first few episodes!




Julia Whelan: This is Julia Whelan and you're listening to passions and prologues with Adam Sockel.

Adam Sockel: You're listening to passions and prologues, a literary [00:00:30] podcast for every week. I'll interview an author about a thing they love and how it inspires their work. My name is Adam SoCal, and if you listen to the first two episodes of the podcast, welcome back. Thank you so much for tuning in. If you're new to the podcast, if this is your first go around. So happy to have you here. Today's episode is a discussion with Julia Whelan and I'll get to the topic in just a moment, but I want to talk a little bit about some of the wonderful things. You've all been saying over the past few weeks. Also, just the fact that I'm so excited [00:01:00] for you all to hear Julia Wayland talk about something as opposed to reading you a book, because if that name is familiar to you, it's probably because you are an audiobook fan.

Adam Sockel: Julia is, as I have said, many, many times the best living audiobook narrator. So it was a joy to have her on, but we did not talk about her narration. Specifically. We talked about a thing she's passionate about, which we'll get to in just a moment and her brand new book. Thank you for listening is now available. It's a fantastic novel. [00:01:30] I highly recommend you check it out and we talk about it at the end of the show. All right, before we get to Julia, I just wanna share a couple of reviews and kind words and reminder that you can get ahold of [email protected] If you send me a review of any kind, just screenshot, whenever you write, whether it's an apple or any, anywhere you listen to your podcast, send me a screenshot of your review. I will give you some customized book recommendations, email those to me, or you can find me on Instagram or TikTok at fashions and prologues.

Adam Sockel: [00:02:00] Uh, I also have a personal Twitter account that you can find very, very easily, uh, which is what somebody did and wrote a very kind thing. Um, I'm gonna share just a couple of these here, right? Really quickly. Tessa wrote I've really been enjoying listening to Adam smoke's new podcast, passions and prologues there's book recommendations and fascinating conversations with book people about things that are not their books. And I just really love it should really check it out. Then Celtic Jade wrote it took me long enough to get to this meeting episode one of the podcast, but [00:02:30] it was fantastic. I wanna read that women in weightlifting book that Mallory Rome mentioned that she's writing and also she provided Mallory a suggestion to a body positive weightlifting community. If she's interested, which is really cool. And then just one review on apple that I wanna share with you because it's exactly what I was hoping people would think of when they listened to this podcast.

Adam Sockel: This is from Michael. It says, Adam is such an engaging yet casual interviewer. [00:03:00] You feel like you're eavesdropping on two very interesting people in the booth next to you at your local pub writers are the most curious of humans and to hear what they love is endlessly fascinating. Can't wait for more. Thank you for including me and the people who are super interesting to me. It's the people that I'm interviewing that are interesting. And I'm glad that you're all enjoying this as well. Uh, I wanna do a book recommendation for you. Like I've been doing every single episode, but we're gonna do something just a little bit different this time around. I am gonna tell you that [00:03:30] if you haven't already, you need to listen to an audio book that Julia Wayland narrates and boy howdy. Are there a lot of options? Um, basically anything written by Taylor Jenkins Reed, whether it's the seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, that's probably my favorite one.

Adam Sockel: Julia does all of those, uh, book lovers by Emily Henry, really any of the books by Emily Henry. My favorite book that Julia has ever narrated is the invisible life of Addie Laro by VE Schwab. That is the [00:04:00] , uh, it's kind of like a Fous story about a woman who makes a deal with a Demonn to live forever. And then it's told in the two timelines, one back in the 17 hundreds in France, when she first makes the deal with this devil and then in present day. And there's a twist to the deal that she makes for basically, anytime someone looks away from her, they forget her forever. So it's a very lonely life that Adie Laro is, is living. Um, literally whether you are purchasing [00:04:30] your audio books or you're borrowing them from the library just in Julia Wheland and you will find quite literally hundreds of options of books that you can check out.

Adam Sockel: Um, but again, if you haven't listened to the invisible life of a Laro yet by the Schwab, that's gonna be my recommendation for today. So when I asked Julia to come onto the show, she jokingly said, I would love to, but I don't have any hobbies. And then she remembered one that she was super into and she wanted [00:05:00] to talk about, and it's packing for vacation, not just travel, which is a thing that she loves, but the process of preparing to travel. And you're gonna hear me laughing a little bit throughout this conversation, and it's a joyful laugh because the preparation that Julia did is so spectacular. Like I told her that she should publish a guide to packing for vacation and she should read it with her fantastic narration voice. It's really, really joyful. I love it so much. Um, okay. That's just about everything.

Adam Sockel: As a reminder, if you ever have [00:05:30] any questions for any of the authors that I've brought on to the show, feel free to shoot me an email passions and [email protected] I will forward them onto those authors, and I will see if I can get you questions answered and I'll share those on the show as well. Keep providing any feedback, keep sharing the show. I really, really appreciate it. It's just me doing this. So all of you telling other people to check out the show means the world to me, and the more people that listen in, the more fun things we can do. Okay. Really, really, really delighted to be able to tell you that today's [00:06:00] episode of passions and prologues is with the iconic Julie Whelan author of thank you for listening. Enjoy, Hey everybody, it's Adam again. And in my long line of early interviews of just basically people I've gotten to become friends with over the years in the author community, just so excited for this one. And, uh, this particular author is going to be the one person whose audio is gonna sound just better than mine [00:06:30] cause she in her actual recording studio, Julia Wayland. Thank you for joining me today.

Julia Whelan: You are so welcome. I'm so happy to be here.

Adam Sockel: Ah, I'm so excited for this. So we're gonna get into your actual narrating and your new book in a little bit, but before we do that, the thing that we're doing for this podcast, what's the thing you're crazy passionate about that we're gonna talk about today.

Julia Whelan: Okay. So it took me a while to come up with something, as you know, when you first came to me with the idea, I said, the problem is I don't have any hobbies, which [00:07:00] is true because it occurred to me somewhat recently that I don't have hobbies, that aren't books. But then I realized that that's because the thing that was my hobby for so many years has just been retired for the last couple of years because of the pandemic. And that is travel gear and travel clothes and how to pack for travel. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and like, this is the thing that really animates me.

Adam Sockel: I, I love this so much when you told me this, I was like, oh, travel would be a fun thing to talk about, but I like when [00:07:30] you narrow it down, I was like, oh my God, no, this is so much better. I love this. So, so much. So let's, let's walk through your process first off. What do you find so enjoyable about preparing for a trip?

Julia Whelan: Okay. So it basically comes down to, I really feel like I problem solved this, which is, I was really tired of. Overpacking only using half the stuff I would bring, having things that didn't wash well in like, you know, foreign laundry machines that are not awesome. <laugh> yeah. [00:08:00] And just always feeling like that really awkward cumbersome American abroad. And so in back in, I think it was like 2017, 2018. We had a trip coming up and I just said, I'm going to figure out the best way to do this. Like it was a four week thing. It was a different country. Every few days. It was like really fast paced. I just wanted to be lean and mean and be able to be, have everything covered. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so I took some money [00:08:30] and I was like, I'm going to invest in this. And I was mainly using REI. I did a bunch of research of like, what are the best products to have? And I created like a travel wardrobe that now just lives on its own in the suitcases that it will eventually go. So like it's never it, I don't ever have to like also go through my closet and be like, oh yeah, that where's that thing. Where's this? No, it all lives in its own place.

Adam Sockel: I love that. You basically have a go bag, but for vacations.

Julia Whelan: Exactly.

Adam Sockel: [00:09:00] <laugh> this is a, okay. So I feel like depending on the type of trip I am going to take, I'm good at packing or cataclysmically bad at packing. Like there's no between for me. So like when I go on a work trip, like, as we are recording this in a couple weeks, I'm going to Utah for work. Okay. And that is where my company's, uh, headquarters is based in like, as recently as like a week ago, I had coworkers telling me like, Hey, it's snowing here, but then they'll like post pictures of it's sunny in 75. [00:09:30] So I have no idea what I'm I know I'm telling you right now, even though I'm going to ask you specifically about your process. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I know I'm still gonna over pack here because I'm, if it's those varying temperature situations, I panic,

Julia Whelan: We, we can solve this.

Adam Sockel: Okay. So let's, to me, let's solve my issues here. This is gonna be like packing therapy with yeah.

Julia Whelan: So the secret to everything you're talking about is just layers Uhhuh. <affirmative> right. So you're gonna need to invest in some quality base layers <laugh> you're gonna want, and you're gotten those layers are going to be [00:10:00] definitely Marino. Woo. You've gotta spend on it. But the, the basic principle for all of this that I can, I, I made a list, so I wouldn't get sidetracked here. But, um, I also is

Adam Sockel: Honestly, the most excited I've been since recording this podcast.

Julia Whelan: I also, I also have to say like, I also there's no affiliate links. Like I have no, I have no vested interest in this. In fact, I don't even know brand names to tell people. So like outside of like REI, which I know even right now is a little bit problematic. I, I don't, I don't have an opinion on this, but the general [00:10:30] principle is you need, it's all comes down to the materials. You need materials that are quick and moisture wicking. Mm-hmm <affirmative> <laugh> sorry. I can see your face

Adam Sockel: Right now. We're like, yeah. We're both like on the verge of giggling here. I'm sorry. I'm gonna like, I'm like, turn my camera off. Are

Julia Whelan: You talking? No, it just makes me so happy though. It makes me so happy that you're so happy about this to solve that. Cuz often, yeah, like one of our favorite times to travel our shoulder seasons where like, so you start out at the end of April, but by the time you leave a place, it's [00:11:00] like the beginning of June and you've gone through, you can have you're susceptible to like all different temperatures. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so finding base layers that are either like a silk undershirt or Marino wool. And you can either get those in short sleeve, long sleeve tank, whatever. However you wanna, if you run naturally cold or naturally hot, you know? Yeah. You know that about yourself and then you would have like a, again, moisture wicking, ventilated button up mm-hmm <affirmative> to go over that base layer [00:11:30] or just throw a sweater over it. Which again also should be wool because the things that do not travel well are like heavy cottons because they lose their shape. Mm-hmm <affirmative> they get wet. They don't, they don't dry. Right. They dry, stiff, you know, all that stuff. Yeah.

Adam Sockel: Okay. First off, I feel like you don't appreciate how many people you're helping with this information.

Julia Whelan: <laugh> no, I look, I was known before, like, like I said before, everything shut down, like this was a weird thing that was known about me. And I would get emails from people being like, do, do you have a good [00:12:00] product for something? And I'm like, yes, here's my list. Like I have a go to list of things I send out to friends.

Adam Sockel: Okay. So this is actually huge because so I'm a distance runner. And so I run all year long outside. And so I have,

Julia Whelan: Okay,

Adam Sockel: I'm finally baselayer enthusiast. I've got my, um, I, I get stuff from REI. Same thing. Like I, this is gonna be very early on in the life of my podcast. So I don't have sponsors yet. So I'll say I have Viri stuff. I have, you know, Adida stuff. I have Lulu lemon. Like if any of those people want, send me free [00:12:30] stuff, please. Yes, please do. But I never think to use those in my travel. Like to me, those are my running clothes, which is silly mm-hmm because I do have short sleeve, long sleeve moisture wicking. Yep. Got all these things. So, but when you say so when you say layers, are you packing them? Are you like rolling? We, we need more process here. We need like, let's get, let's get

Julia Whelan: Into it. Okay. So first of all, let's just talk about the essentials to what you should have when you are starting out. I [00:13:00] have

Adam Sockel: Right. I don't wanna, yeah, I don't wanna skip ahead. You're absolutely right. Let's start from scratch. <laugh>

Julia Whelan: Okay. So everyone should have three pairs of quick drying travel underwear.

Adam Sockel: Okay.

Julia Whelan: Okay. And you're gonna be like, I can't believe I'm spending $25 on a pair of underwear. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but the reason is, is because you only need three pairs. Mm-hmm <affirmative> they will probably last forever unless you travel your whole life. But the trick to that is if they're quick drying, you can literally [00:13:30] come in from the day, like get into the shower with them when you're just showering off, rinse them off and then like throw them over the top of the shower to dry overnight mm-hmm <affirmative> and then you're ready to go the next day. So you are constant, even, even two pair you can do, but like, why not? Yeah. Be go big. <laugh> treat yourself. So three pairs, three pairs of quick drying travel under wear same principle, two, three pairs of quick drying moisture, wicking socks. Mm-hmm <affirmative> again, depending on climate and depending on what you're doing, but ankle socks, hiking, [00:14:00] the hiking ones. If they're thick, sometimes it's not an overnight dry mm-hmm <affirmative> sometimes you need a little more time. So you would time the wash. Yeah. With like when you've got two days in a consistent place mm-hmm <affirmative> or something, the socks are essential because also socks is where that's where you hit all of the B blister problem, like invest in. I had decided years ago that life was too short for cheap socks. Yeah. And never looked back.

Adam Sockel: I can wholeheartedly subscribe as again, as a runner, but also as a, as a person who loves a comfortable sock. Yeah. You're Abely yeah. If you're not [00:14:30] somebody, maybe its from a movie, but it's like, if you're not treating your feet, right. You're not gonna treat anything else right in your life. I've this I

Julia Whelan: So true.

Adam Sockel: Makes sense. Right away.

Julia Whelan: Yeah. So true. Same thing with, for people who identify as female, like travel, brass important mm-hmm <affirmative> because the kind of, you know, thick pushup padding, first of all, they're just like sweat collectors. They don't clean properly. They don't dry properly. Mm-hmm <affirmative> what you want is they'll you can find this, but like something that is washable in the sink, kind of like a sports bra, except [00:15:00] some of them will have like insertable pads. So you can take those out, wash them separately or you know, they will give you a little bit of coverage, but not the full like Victoria secret, just come plus they, you want, they don't pack. Well, those other ones mm-hmm <affirmative>

Adam Sockel: So we've only just started and instantly you've cut the amount of stuff I'm gonna pack by a third in those, those, those segments right there. So this is you

Julia Whelan: Go, you're doing great. Let's keep going. Thanks. Okay. So obviously for now outfits, right? The thing that you want to aim for is versatility [00:15:30] pants that go with every shirt that go with all the shoes that go with the dress that go with the jackets in principle. What you're aiming for is a capsule wardrobe. Yeah. Just for travel, right? Mm-hmm <affirmative> this is where the layers come in. Marino woo or silk again, quick drying. They'll keep you warm, but they can also stand alone. If you need to peel off layers, like they'll, they'll stand in as a t-shirt over shirt. Like I said, I like button downs can get ones with like pockets built in like zippered pockets for key cards or passport. If you need to they'll [00:16:00] off of them, they'll be like vented in the back. So again, to get that, to get breeze roll up, sleeves are obviously a bonus.

Julia Whelan: So you can go as like techy and high gear is, you know, as you want with the features again, depending on climate and where you're going, but sweaters, this is where you've gotta invest in wool because the cotton just doesn't hand wash. Well, but you should think about whether you want like a zip up or a jumper, something, you know, just, and again, something that will work well with what you've got going on. Is it good on a train? Is it also good? [00:16:30] Going into a nice restaurant for dinner? Mm-hmm <affirmative> also, is it redundant? Do you have a jacket that would serve that purpose and you don't need a sweater, but these are the questions you need to ask yourself.

Adam Sockel: I love this. So I love this so much. I'm like you keep looking up at me. I'm like, I'm trying not to laugh, but it's like genuine joyful after not like, wow.

Julia Whelan: You so happy.

Adam Sockel: I'm so happy right now.

Julia Whelan: This, it makes me so happy. I just

Adam Sockel: Love the prep you've done for

Julia Whelan: This. Oh no. I'm this is I'm telling you like this was the hobby. I mean, look, I could also go into [00:17:00] like whole, you know, points and miles credit card stuff. But like, I don't like doing financial advice over podcasts. So probably fair. We're not, we're not doing that. Let's just talk about travel clothes. This is like a whole ecosystem of the way I run my life. Okay. Pants,

Adam Sockel: Pants,

Julia Whelan: Again, depends on climate, but you're looking for that quick dry moisture wicking materials. I will tend to travel again. This is all you really need. This is where the overpacking comes in. I will tend to travel with like one pair of wide leg, kind of cargo pants, lots of pockets. [00:17:30] And those I use on like travel days when, you know, I just need, I wanna be comfortable as opposed to the days where you're like rooted someplace, walking around mm-hmm <affirmative> so I have one pair of kind of just wide leg cargo sort of things. And then one pair of black kind of skinny. What would be skinny jeans except they're not jeans. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that look just as good with like a pair of sneakers walking around or with like a nice pair of, uh, flats for night. So that's your like day to night pants and then [00:18:00] one pair of sweats or workout pants or something. Again, that's comfortable for travel if they can be versatile. Great. I have this like old pair of Lululemon, like balloon pants, sort of.

Adam Sockel: Yeah. Weirdly

Julia Whelan: Nylon thing you mean? Yeah. I love them and I'm like, I actually need to see if they still make them because I need to back up. You know, if you can break the bank, a pair of cashmere, leggings is amazing for that zip off hiking pants can kill two birds.

Adam Sockel: Love

Julia Whelan: It. Obviously, if you need that. Yeah. Skirts and dresses. So they're, there are skirts and dress [00:18:30] combos. Mm-hmm <affirmative> where like you can either wear it up above on your chest, like a halter and then it's a short dress or you can push it down to your waist and it's a long skirt. So see,

Adam Sockel: I don't have that CA I don't have that. You

Julia Whelan: Don't have that problem.

Adam Sockel: That's not good.

Julia Whelan: Yeah. Those are very dependent on body type though. Just to be fair like that, your mileage will vary my like go to nice outfit that I pack with me because I don't wanna have multiple skirts. A couple dresses is actually a jumpsuit. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like a black polyester [00:19:00] jumpsuit. Yeah. That is again, really comfortable for just walking around. But if I wanna dress it up, it's versatile. Mm-hmm <affirmative> jackets again. Depends on climate. I have a really good puffer with just like zips. Yeah. Up for ventilation. That's perfect. And then you can do, depending on when you're going, you don't need to bring like a rain jacket. You could just pack little ponchos to go over that puff. So you don't need a separate jacket, but if you're going to a colder place, some of those like three in one jackets where it's got the puffer with the out, then you're almost dealing with [00:19:30] like a ski jacket when the whole thing is together.

Adam Sockel: Yeah. Like the zip, like they zip into each other. Now, now you are tar having one of those for running an archaic one, man. I'm just buzz marketing everybody right now. Yeah. Those things are they're they're not cheap, but they are. They're not freaking.

Julia Whelan: And it totally depend. Then you've got essentially, like I said, you've got the interior like puffer, and then you've got a rain shell that you can, and then together they're very warm, so they're not cheap, but if you're traveling a lot and it depends where you're going. Yeah. [00:20:00] They, they really are three jackets in one shoes. Shoes is a cause they take up so much space. Yeah. So again, all I find, and this is, this is like, for me, I also feel like I should explain that for me travel. Most of it is casual, but I like the flexibility of if a nice opportunity presents self at the end of the night to go into a, you know, a kind of dress code situation or something. I wanna have that flexibility. I will always have a pair of like good walking, great shoes. I just try to get them in like neutral tones. [00:20:30] So again, they can go with the wide leg cargo pants. They can go with the skinny black, nice ones. They're usually black. And then I bring a pair of like, again, depending on the climate, but a pair of like comfortable boots. Mm-hmm <affirmative> like just ankle boots again, usually like black, but they've they can also go day to night. So they're good for hiking over like cobble stones. They've got enough support mm-hmm <affirmative> but if you just are wearing like leggings with them, they actually look really nice.

Adam Sockel: I feel like this, like, I feel like we could have you like [00:21:00] narrate this over a like Tuscan movie. Like mm-hmm, <affirmative> I'm like picturing like a woman going on a journey in a movie and she's packing and you're like, okay, first you're gonna wanna, again, like, I can literally

Julia Whelan: Visualize this. I should probably do one of those. If I were better at this or knew how to do it, I should do like a, you know, putting everything out on the bed next to a suitcase and make a talk video of like

Adam Sockel: How yeah.

Julia Whelan: You wanna

Adam Sockel: Hundred percent. You absolutely should do.

Julia Whelan: Oh God. I just don't know how to. Okay. Whatever. We'll get to that for [00:21:30] nice shoes and the kinds that will get you into like good restaurants. Look, they can't make you wear high heels. <laugh> we all have to keep that in mind. Yeah. So I like, I think flats are obviously so much easier to pack and you can also use those for like a pop of color or something for me after walking like 10 miles a day or something, I actually find mini Tonka, moccasins. Mm-hmm <affirmative> are the most comfortable. Yeah. And you can still walk in them and you can get them in any color. And they're great to have, or if you're going in the summer, like [00:22:00] a nice versatile pair of sandals mm-hmm <affirmative> accomplishes the same thing. Sleepwear. Yeah. Sorry to say, but silk is really best. Sorry, cuz it's expensive, but you're gonna hand wash it anyway.

Julia Whelan: Most likely. It's good for all temps. It'll keep you cool. It'll keep you warm. It's really just essential for that. Depending on weather. And for me, this means basically all times of year, but I will travel also with wool long underwear for bottoms. Yeah. Because I can sleep in them or they can go on under my pants, but I'm like usually cold [00:22:30] all the time. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so they get worn pretty consistently. And honestly then it becomes down to anything else that you need, hat, scarf, gloves, that sort of stuff that you're not sure you're gonna need even heels. Like if you're, let's say younger, you wanna go to a dance club for instance. Yeah. And they do require he like just buy them there. Yeah. Don't schlep them with you for your whole trip just to use them one night, buy them there and then they'll become the shoes you bought that one night you were in [00:23:00] visa. Okay. So, so

Adam Sockel: This actually, this gets to one of the questions I wanted to ask you because I like to like, if I'm going somewhere where I know they have things that I cannot access or I currently live, I will try to create space. So a perfect example, I'm going to Utah park city is right there. There happens to be a distillery that makes a whiskey that I very much like that you just can't find

Julia Whelan: I've been to that distill. Yes. I was just there in October. Yes.

Adam Sockel: So I can get high west where I'm at, but they have [00:23:30] a, a version of their whiskey called Midsummer's night jam. That is just delightful. And also the name as in book nerd. I mean, yes. Yeah. So I am anticipating bringing at least one bottle back for myself, if not more. So when I thinking about that in my packing, how should I be packing my back? Like what should I be thinking about knowing I'm going to be bringing stuff back.

Julia Whelan: Is there anything you're leaving? There is the first question. Like, do you have to bring anything for work that you're [00:24:00] gonna use while you're there and then leave?

Adam Sockel: I'm not gonna leave anything there. So I, I, so I need to be mindful of having space in my bag because what I'm taking will be coming back with me plus whiskey.

Julia Whelan: Right. Okay. So first of all, there are like, if you, if you need them, you can buy flat almost like book mailer, kind of bubble wrap envelopes that work for bottles. Yeah. I have them for bottles. You can take those with you. Honestly. I just like wrap like a sweatpants around them or something, [00:24:30] brace them properly in the bag, packing them in like shoes. If you have mm-hmm, <affirmative> a shoe that needs that that'll stabilize them. But you know, yeah. You've just gotta be conscious of the, if you have an expandable suitcase,

Adam Sockel: I, it it's slightly expandable. And that is, that's probably one that I will go with to a larger extent. When you are packing, do you like, is there like the role method? Like how are you? Yeah.

Julia Whelan: Okay. Yeah. Okay. So we'll get there, but here's the here, but in terms of your question, like, first of all, if you're [00:25:00] doing this right, you should not be packing within an like within

Adam Sockel: I life.

Julia Whelan: Yes. Like it should be, you should have the room spare. You can also take with you anywhere you go. I travel with a, um, little collapsible foldable duffle bag. Mm-hmm <affirmative> that if I like find something somewhere I can, it can like actually become a checked bag, you know, expands into that. But for the bottles, you've just gotta keep the, I usually see for me, the difference is if I'm traveling and especially if I'm gonna see friends, I'm usually bringing a couple of bottles with [00:25:30] me to begin with. Yeah. So then I know I have that space back once I see them, we drink it and then I pick up something else.

Adam Sockel: Hilariously. I am doing that. Cuz I have a coworker who is a poet at this company and she cannot get writers' tears where she's at. And she's on an Instagram post that I did over. And she's like, what is that? I was like, that's an Irish pot, still whiskey. And she's like, I've never seen it. I need a bottle. So we're, we're doing a bottle swap.

Julia Whelan: Great. Okay. There we go. Yeah. Already built in. Okay. The other things you're gonna need to take with all of these clothes you have. Now [00:26:00] you can get little packages, individual packages of Woolite mm-hmm <affirmative> so that you can be washing these in hotel sinks or bathtubs and you can go. I mean, the first time I went, I had like a, I even had like a clothes line mm-hmm <affirmative> and like these like shes of, of soap that just kind of dispense themselves in this little. And, and I just was realizing like, if you're at the point where you need to like wash all of your clothes, you need a clothes line. Mm-hmm <affirmative> just go to a laundromat for the day. Like wherever you find yourself and [00:26:30] just do the wash, go have a drink, come back. Like there's no value in like trying to do this in a hotel sink.

Adam Sockel: Are you mindful of like toiletries? Like I imagine as a person who is being very aware of how you're packing you're I imagine you're not like bringing your own like shampoo and conditioner.

Julia Whelan: I mean, I, no, I have like skincare stuff that I will bring, but yes, you're right. I'm making it, I'm putting in much smaller bottles. Yeah. I'm using travel size again. Toiletries are those things that you over pack and underuse. [00:27:00] And so you can, I mean, depending on where you're going, but again, sometimes it's worth just getting it there. Yeah. And if you're really low maintenance, then yes. Use the stuff that is provided.

Adam Sockel: I love

Julia Whelan: Yeah. In hotels. So another essential thing to have is actually your own laundry bag, which would be like a nylon kind of delicates bag. Because not only can you collect your dirty laundry in there, but then when you are going to a laundromat or something, you can put your delicates yeah. In there, like the wool, like the silk, things like that, that, well you just wanna keep a little safer [00:27:30] from mm-hmm <affirmative> the vagaries of foreign laundromats.

Adam Sockel: You are absolutely a dynamo. This is fantastic.

Julia Whelan: I mean, you know. Okay. So to get to your question for, I, you absolutely wanna roll things that is important. I also use packing cubes.

Adam Sockel: Okay. This is gonna be one of my, my questions. Do you use packing cubes?

Julia Whelan: But here's the thing like I used to think they were fussy and then I completely changed my mind and it just depends on, I will separate the clothes by gen if you will. Mm-hmm <affirmative> but I also [00:28:00] will, if I'm in a stitch, so I would have like all of my shirts in one, all of my pants in the other. But if I'm in a situation where I know I'm going to be like, there's gonna be really quick turnaround. Like I fly in at midnight and then I'm catching a train at six the next morning or something. I will pack an entire outfit in one and just like, it'll be on top of the suitcase. So when I open it, I've got pajamas for that night plus underwear socks for the next day pants shirt. All in one. Yeah. So I'm not digging around the suitcase.

Adam Sockel: You must be a [00:28:30] dream to travel with. I just feel

Julia Whelan: Like it's pretty great. Yeah. It's pretty great. Honestly, no, every time we get to a place and like my husband opens his bag, he's just like, oh my God, this is beautiful. This is beautiful. I'm like, thank you. I also am experimenting. I've got a trip coming up. I, I did get, I'm just gonna see, I can't vouch for this yet, but there was a, um, kind of collapsible clothes rack. Mm-hmm <affirmative> where, if you think of like those shoe holders that you used to have in a closet, or like in a dorm, [00:29:00] they kind of sold them for dorms where they were like collapsible, they accordioned down and then up and they have compartments. Yeah. So like, again for this like quick turnaround thing, I'm gonna see if I can pack things into that, compress it Uhhuh. And then when we just get there, I can open it up, put it in the closet, ready to go.

Adam Sockel: This is admittedly an easier question for other people to answer. But how would you say this in any way, this passion of yours folds into your work, into your writing, into like, would you say that how [00:29:30] you organize your stuff? Like, do you find yourself organizing your manuscripts that way or anything? Is there any connection between Julia Wayland packing professional? And

Julia Whelan: That's a really good question. Well, I mean, I write about travel a lot. I will say that like I have a little bit of wanderlust in my books, especially the last one where I was writing, being like stuck at home and just, I, it was, it was escapism, but yeah, in terms of, I, I think I'm not a, I'm not a terribly organized person in real [00:30:00] life. Like my desk is kind of a disaster. I I'm not, I I'm not actually good at that. It's like just the efficiency of when you're traveling. I want that. Yeah. And I think when I'm writing, I don't really have a, I think everything, every book has demanded a different level of organization. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so, but I'm not one of those people who can like use every feature of Scrivener to, you know, I, I'm not, I'm definitely, I don't work that way.

Adam Sockel: I wrote the entirety of my manuscript in Google docs and [00:30:30] I like was fine with it. We'll be back with more passions and prologues after this break. And now back to passions and prologues. I, I can't, you told me this before, but I can't remember. Are you a planner or a dancer? Like I have to imagine you're a planner when it comes to your writing.

Julia Whelan: Yes, no, I am. I am for sure. But I think that's like is that's just more about, I don't have the [00:31:00] time to figure it out along like the screenwriter part of me is like, if you don't know where you need to end up, mm-hmm <affirmative> how can you even begin to write? <laugh> like, that's my thing. So, you know, for me, it's like, I, I would kind of love the, I haven't done that since college where I've just been able to like, just start writing and see where the story takes me, but I've written both books kind of under deadline and yeah, no, I just need to know what I'm doing.

Adam Sockel: So tell our listeners about your new book. Thank you for listening and cuz this [00:31:30] is, this will be like an actual transition into your, your book. We can talk about that a little bit.

Julia Whelan: <laugh> okay. So thank you for listening is set in the audio book world and it is a romcom with heart. I don't know what we're calling these things exactly, but it is about a former actress who has been an audio book narrator for the last seven years. Um, and we don't entirely know why when the book starts, who has kind of like, she used to narrate a lot of romance when she was first starting out and then she just got tired of [00:32:00] the unrelenting, like happily ever after, and everything will work out for you and the fairytale aspect of it. And she's just a little more cynical than that because of the way her own life has gone. But she gets an offer to record like one last romance novel with the industry's hottest, most enigmatic best selling male narrator. And she is gonna be paid very well to do it.

Julia Whelan: And she has her beloved grandmother who is suffering from dementia and she wants to be able [00:32:30] to take better care of her. So she agrees to do it through the experience of co-parenting this romance novel with this other narrator. They get to know each other through aary sections mm-hmm <affirmative> and yeah. Shenanigans happen. Yeah. Uh, but it is a, is a journey of self acceptance and it is a kind of stripping down the identities that we tell ourselves we possess to get back to who we really are and when we're willing to risk that, the reward that [00:33:00] we can, uh, rape.

Adam Sockel: It's so good. I loved it. So, so much. You're actually, so Julia's book was the first advanced reader copy. I was sent at like since starting this new book event, it was so like, felt like coming home. When I, I opened up, I was like, oh, that's an arc. I've missed these for people. I mean, for people who are listening to this, that listened to my previous podcast, I know I, you know, I worked for a library company. We like, I feel like digital audiobook listener. Like we all like come to the throne of Julia. Wheland sorry. I'm giving you your flowers in front [00:33:30] of you and then

Julia Whelan: No, don't come outta mind.

Adam Sockel: Yeah. But like, I mean, I am on the record of saying, I think you're the best narrator to ever live. Like I absolutely am upset anytime. I like, I, I have borrowed dozens of books knowing nothing about them. Cause I saw that you have narrated them. I'm interested in hearing, like how did it feel writing a book about a NA like, did it feel, I I'm literally picturing you during like the height of COVID in your audio book studio, like in your narration studio where she's currently at right now, like writing about [00:34:00] like your own life, like going, like doing like a shining situation,

Julia Whelan: You know, what's really crazy is like, so I, I definitely this idea has been percolating for 10 years. This goes back to when I was doing a lot of romance under a pseudonym. And I wanna pause here to say that like narrators, narrate romance often under pseudonyms, the same way that romance novelists write under pseudonyms mm-hmm <affirmative>. And I just, I'm trying to use this like publicity tour to explain to people why it's not cool to out narrator's pseudonyms. Yeah. Cause this actually happens with some frequency and they think they're doing other fans [00:34:30] of service by saying like, oh, well, if you like her, you know, you can listen to her under this other name. But the thing is like, we are all independent contractors and we all chose an alias for like a very specific reason. And everyone has different reasons. Some of it is to like protect their kids at their school from their teachers who would look, you know, or other parents.

Julia Whelan: So just be mindful of that. Cuz the book talks a lot about recording under pseudonyms. And I just wanna make sure that this is very clear that you don't have the right to out someone. So [00:35:00] anyway, yeah. When I sat down to actually figure out this specific book though, I was at a very different point in my career than I was 10 years ago. And I knew that people would just like assume it was probably yeah. Auto fiction. Right. So I specifically steered away from anything that was my personal identity, but that said there are certain universal experiences to being an audiobook narrator and to really have to kind of introduce the reader to that, you know, this isn't an industry that exists in [00:35:30] any other media mm-hmm <affirmative>, there's no TV series about audiobook narrators. I kind of had to realize that I was explaining this whole thing right. From the ground up. So yeah, I was, I was very conscious of like trying to create a character that wasn't me, but trying to explain the industry yeah. To new readers.

Adam Sockel: Well, and there's so many things about narrating that people definitely don't re there is I'm trying, I, I feel so bad. I'm I'm gonna try and look it up after the fact, but there is a narrator that I saw on Instagram and they're [00:36:00] doing, they do these, like they get the feedback from the publisher about like the things that they messed up and then they'll play it.

Julia Whelan: It was Kelsey Navarro. It was Kelsey Nova. Yes.

Adam Sockel: Yes. And then so, and they also did one where they put a sentence on the screen and they're like, yeah. Being an audio book, narrator is easy. And then they changed the inflection of just one word at a time and changed the sentence, like the meaning of the sentence eight different times. Yeah. And even I, a person who probably listens to a hundred audio books a year, even, I was like, oh no, this, this seems impossible. Like, [00:36:30] so how do you, okay, I've never asked you this, but like how do you know where to put the emphasis in sentences and things like that? Is it just

Julia Whelan: Like, I don't even think it's a conscious decision. Honestly. I think it's just having been a reader for so long and having read so widely. Like I, I, once you get into the flow of a particular writer's voice, I'm just going along with them. But sometimes like sometimes it can be important. I do a lot of record, a lot of nonfiction and essay like journalism [00:37:00] mm-hmm <affirmative> and when you're really trying to make a case for something, or you're trying to like say there's this thing, and then there's this thing I will often go back and like my first instinct may not have been right. Like the emphasis on the sentence in order to highlight that it's contrasting with the previous sentence, I've gotta go back and punch that up. Yeah. But yeah. It's uh, oh, so wait to go back to the original of you being like how, how difficult was this to, you know, what was it like writing? Yeah. Yeah. Something [00:37:30] so meta, I don't think I realized how meta it was until I recorded it.

Adam Sockel: That was gonna be my next question.

Julia Whelan: So when I got into the booth to record this thing, like suddenly like the, even the first chapter hits different when mm-hmm <affirmative> in audio or like there's a recording scene in the book and recording my two characters, playing two other characters in a recording scene talking about what it's like to record yeah. Was really mind blowing.

Adam Sockel: I yeah. Then, and for people I will put, [00:38:00] uh, I will put a link to Julia's TikTok in the show notes because I, I love that you took people through some of the like narration sessions of your own book. Yes. I love that. So, so it was it's so I just think like, for people to understand what goes into just how you have to slow down and how you like enunciate stuff. And I think actually the first time we ever met, we talked about how much narrators dislike when people speed up audio books for that exact reason, because of the fact that like you are working so [00:38:30] hard to put this together in a specific we

Julia Whelan: Do. Yeah. I have. I I'm glad you reminded me, me of that because I was like, where did I first say that? Because it's kind of become, can that, like, I, I'm not a fan of that. And for obvious reasons, I'm not in terms of as a performer, I'm like, I am purposefully choosing to tell this story at the pace that I'm telling it at. And like yeah. When you change the speed, you are affecting my performance. That said someone just persuaded me otherwise the other day with a tweet saying that they could never read and they could never get through an audio book because [00:39:00] they have ADHD. And when they sped it up, suddenly the story was moving at the speed of their brain. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I went okay,

Adam Sockel: Like a reluctant agree. Like that's

Julia Whelan: Like, yeah, that's a really good perspective. Yeah. Okay.

Adam Sockel: But I, I just, I, I don't know. I see how hard, like, knowing like you and other, uh, narrators that I've gotten to know a little bit, like seeing how difficult it is. And like, I will freely admit many, many books now. I like, I just listen to as a pace that they are recorded because [00:39:30] there are some, like, there's a few authors who record their own, like Neil Gaman who I love. Like I will speed his up cuz it's it's it's like listening to syrup. I'm like, okay. Right. You could you speak slowly normally and not the slow?

Julia Whelan: Well, I also think that might be a shift that's happened in the industry because when I was first starting, you know, 13 years ago or something we really were told to slow down mm-hmm <affirmative> like there was an acceptable pace of audio books. And I think like I've stopped getting those notes because I, I think that we've accepted that as a society, [00:40:00] things are just happening faster mm-hmm <affirmative> and like our attention spans are shorter and we are taking in information at a higher rate. And so like, we've kind of had to start serving our listeners.

Adam Sockel: Well, there's also now from then, like just the sheer amount of people that are listening to audiobooks now. Yeah. So much greater that like, I'm sure there are countless people who probably, when they first start listening to audiobook, they do they'll keep it at, you know, like the exact tempo it is. And then they might like slowly speed it up as they [00:40:30] listen to 'em. But no, it is. I mean, it's very it's I guess that I, I remember like, I specifically remember that conversation with you and having a newfound spectrum, but being like she's right. That makes perfect sense.

Julia Whelan: To me. It was intentional, like the speed at which I was doing this book was intentional.

Adam Sockel: Yeah. So speaking of intentionality, you, there was a, I think it was on your TikTok. I think I saw it on your Instagram first, but somebody, or you did like a duet with somebody who was like, whoever the narrator is of your character makes them sound so sexy. And that was kinda [00:41:00] jus kinda make the face she made out the TikTok. Yeah. But this that's not my question. My question is, do you know, like when you are recording a voice for something mm-hmm <affirmative> do you know, like when you're doing a character, you're like, oh, I, this one hits, like I got, I got this person. Right. Regardless if you're trying to make them like sexual or adventurous. Yeah. Or funny, like, can you tell when you're like, that's the voice? That's the one I know.

Julia Whelan: Oh yeah, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. When I can like really settle in and nail something and it's also, you can tell too, I think the true test [00:41:30] of that is like, if that character disappears for five chapters and then comes back, do I have to remind myself of what I was doing? Or are they just right there? Yeah. Like that's a test. And with that character, which was Charlie Lara in Emily Henry's book lovers mm-hmm <affirmative>, that was like a very conscious decision where in just reading that book, I thought he was her hottest hero that she'd written yet. And so I sent her a message saying like, I fuck it. I'm gonna just, I don't sorry. I don't know if we're swearing on this. You can swear.

Adam Sockel: Yeah. You can

Julia Whelan: Say whatever you want. I was like, no, I'm gonna scorch some fucking earbuds on this [00:42:00] one. I was like, I I'm pulling out all the stops. And I'm very glad to see that, that, uh, that seemed to have

Adam Sockel: Landed. I have seen that to roll around like several times and every time I'm like, it just makes me, I don't know, like, cause I told someone else who like one of the first, I think they hadn't heard like our last interview did or something. I was like, they only know your voice as the narration. Like, I, I can't do it. I'm not gonna like do, but like they don't know like your real voice. And I was like, that's not, she doesn't just walk around like absolutely stopping people in their tracks. [00:42:30] Like, can I have a cup of coffee? Right. It's like, that's not, not a real voice. You know, it's, she's doing

Julia Whelan: No, I was having, you know, it's funny. I was just having this conversation with a reporter actually, who was asking me about that. And they were like, your, your conversational voice is very different from your narration voice. And I was like, yeah, I, I, I absolutely. And I think part of it is when I'm off the clock, I don't wanna be on the clock.

Adam Sockel: Yeah, exactly.

Julia Whelan: And, but the other thing is I also don't want that to sound like it's an artificial thing. Like it is, I feel just as genuine when I'm in that, like I'm dipping [00:43:00] into it right now, just like unprompted. But like, I feel just as genuine and connected to it when I'm doing it, as I do it to my real voice, it's just different times call for different voices.

Adam Sockel: I mean, but it's the same thing as like anything else when it's, uh, when you're creating con uh, creating content, such a gross term, but it's

Julia Whelan: No, but here we are.

Adam Sockel: It's what we're doing. And like for the podcast, like before we were recording, I was just like, Hey Julia, how's it going? Like, as soon as I hit record again, I don't have like a narration voice, but as soon as I do it, I'm like, Hey everybody, welcome back. It's like, you just [00:43:30] do one active up a little bit louder. Yeah. You like, kinda like sit up. You're like, hello? Hello. Hello. It's me. Hey, nerds. Like, okay. I, I can talk to you for hours and hours and hours, but I have two last questions for you. One I'm asking everybody. And one that I just wanna know because of our topic for the kind of this episode, what's the most challenging vacation you've ever had to pack for.

Julia Whelan: Okay. I will say that. I think the challenging vacations come when they are there's bookends around it, that are like formal functions or something. [00:44:00] Mm-hmm <affirmative> so like, for instance, what happens for me a lot is I'll go to New York for the odds, which are the, you know, audiobook awards. And then from New York, since I'm already like halfway there, I'll go to go visit friends in Amsterdam or something. Yeah. Or the UK. And so what do I do with like this bag of makeup and mm-hmm <affirmative> hair stuff. And like, you know, or God forbid a ball gown. That's where rent, the runway comes in handy. Like stuff I don't wanna travel with. It's like real one off stuff. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. So I feel like [00:44:30] in those, those situations, that's where packing really gets complicated. And the seasonal season seasons are a big thing when you're in a shoulder season. And so you leave and it's a rainy spring. And then by the time you end, it's like summer and Greece or something that

Adam Sockel: Gets, yeah. Last question for you. I'm asking everybody for just a recommendation of any kind, something you're enjoying Lil, it could be a book. It could be a movie, a TV show. Most people are doing books cuz I'm interviewing authors, but it doesn't have to be, um, mall me recommended a protein powder cuz she's [00:45:00] way there. But like, and it could be a book. I mean obviously you read books before most people cuz you have to then narrate them. So anything you wanna recommend that you're enjoying?

Julia Whelan: Oh wow. I just finished the second season of hacks. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and I just thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the first season, but I actually like loved the second season. Yeah. So I think I'm gonna just go with that. Yeah. Also obviously the entire was like during this really difficult spring, my comfort watch was below deck mm-hmm <affirmative> and I just [00:45:30] don't know that there's a better reality show yeah. Than below that. I'm sorry. I just don't

Adam Sockel: My sister and brother-in-law are obsessed with below

Julia Whelan: That it's cause it's the structure because what you get is you get like three shows in one, because you've got an upstairs downstairs thing. Mm-hmm <affirmative> you have the travel porn aspect of it. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and then you, you get to know like a solid cast of characters for each season, but then you have a rotating cast of the guests that come on the ship. So like they've just got everything.

Adam Sockel: I honestly [00:46:00] I've seen like a few episodes and even I, I don't watch much rally TV at all. And even I was like, I get it. I, I get, uh, Julia, this was absolutely delightful. Thank you so much for joining me today.

Julia Whelan: I'll send you links. I'll send you links,

Speaker 3: Passions and prologues is proud to be an evergreen podcast and was created by Adam SoCal. It was produced by Adam SoCal and Sean rule Hoffman. [00:46:30] And if you are interested in this podcast and any other evergreen podcast, you can go to evergreen podcast.com to discover all the different stories we have to tell.



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