Due to COVID-19, most of us won’t be going anywhere international for a while. For the foreseeable future, travel means road tripping. Sadly, crisscrossing the U.S. these days has become more about efficiency and “making good time” than slowing down and enjoying the ride. But, if the Great American Road Trip is as much about the journey as it is about the destination for you, Kevin Costner has a few words for you — literally.
HearHere provides historical audio tidbits about thousands of destinations along the Pacific Coast. Subscribers download the app and pick their interests from niche topics like history, local insights, sports, music, and natural wonders. Using GPS, the app can automatically play relevant “stories” about their location. This includes places like Crystal Cave (“Sequoia National Park’s secret underground world”) and the story of Northern California’s Shell Money (“the most precious currency of the Redwood Empire’s first people”). For out-of-the-way destinations, the content can also be downloaded for offline listening anywhere you might not have cell reception. The audio clips are narrated by Kevin Costner, legendary basketball coach Phil Jackson, and more.
The app was started by Costner and co-founder Woody Sears to keep road trippers engaged and off their phones and tablets. They recognized that seeing somewhere or something truly incredible isn’t always enough to appreciate it fully. Their collaboration is designed to dive deeper than the cursory descriptions found on official highway markers and placards to give a real sense of place.
In his words, Costner is the nerdy dad who relishes every roadside turnout and scenic vista. “I love stories,” he writes on the HearHere blog. “I am the guy that stops at the historical markers along the highway — usually bringing moans from everyone in the car. But it was this continuing curiosity that I began to think HearHere could satisfy without anyone having to leave the car. Why couldn’t we replicate every marker along the highway — even expanding from the usual paragraph in bronze that always left me wanting more.”
The HearHere App is available for download for iOS in the Apple Store. After the free trial, an annual subscription is $49.99. Early adopters can score a 50% discount through the end of this month. The app currently offers stories in California, Oregon, and Washington state with the goal of adding at least 10,000 more locations in the near future.
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