About the show

Why I’m doing this

If I had to describe my podcast in one sentence, it would simply be: “I ask interesting people interesting questions.” I understand this is vague, so I’m writing this post to explain.

You see, I’m breaking all the “rules” of podcasting. I’m creating a variety show. Variety shows are hard to market. I’m not a celebrity, and I don’t have a huge fanbase. What I do have is a unique way of doing things. This idea of talking to a variety of strangers stems from a strange hobby I started many years ago.

In my late twenties, I was taking cabs a lot to get to work. I wanted to be a documentary filmmaker at the time, so I figured I’d practice my craft by interviewing cab drivers. I’d ask them all sorts of random questions during our trips: what hobbies they had, what good memories they had growing up, how they learned to become better parents. Eventually, I needed to get a “real job”. But, the hobby continued over time. As the industry changed, this meant interviewing Uber drivers whenever I needed a ride to a medical appointment or to pick-up groceries. What’s your dream job? What country do you want to visit? What’s a story your grandmother used to tell you? And every conversation was absolutely fascinating. I didn’t know a thing about their religion, their political leanings, or their heritage. I didn’t care. I wanted to find out who they really were. I wanted to connect, in some way, with this stranger at the wheel.

And now, we’re living during a pandemic, which means far fewer rides with Uber drivers. In 2019, I started an online science project called A Tiny World, to document the microscopic world. In early 2020, I started doing Q&A sessions with scientists on Twitch to talk about various topics in science. But, one thing became very evident: I became just as fascinated with them, as I was with their area of expertise. Who are they? Why did they become scientists? What do they do for fun? I wondered if I could apply everything I’ve learned from interviewing cab drivers to interviewing scientists. And then, I wondered: what about artists, historians, tradespeople? What can we learn from them, and about them?

I want to do more than just inform. 

I’ll be talking with all sorts of experts. And we’ll certainly learn facts about dragonflies, and why trees shed their leaves in the fall. But, I’m genuinely curious about the person behind those facts. I’m curious about people who dedicate their entire life to researching one question. And I’m curious about people who reject the status quo and pursue an artistic passion. See, I think we’re more than just cogs in a machine.

I named the podcast Planet B612 as a nod to The Little Prince’s home, Asteroid B612. The Little Prince is a story that lays out the differences between retaining a sense of wonder and curiosity, and growing old and becoming like everybody else. A child doesn’t think twice about possibilities; adults do all the naysaying. We find all sorts of excuses not to do things. We play weird social games with one another instead of learning what fills us with joy, what dreams we have, and what scares us to death. We wear labels and create distance between each other. “I am a…” I am not. Honestly, I just want to learn about new stuff, and explore our common humanity.

And that’s why I’m doing this. I wanted to do documentaries. This podcast is my way of doing that. I hope you find it as interesting as I do. I’d love to make a career out of it one day. It’s what I should have done twenty years ago, but I didn’t. The beauty of life is that as long as you’re alive and well, you have a chance to go for it. This is me going for it.

Meet Your Host

Julie Laurin

Julie Laurin

Host

I’ve had a crazy life. 

I grew up in Chelmsford, Ontario. You’ve never heard of it because it’s in rural Canada. I went to French Catholic schools and quit university seven times. I wanted to be an artist of some sort, but out of desperation, I forged myself a career in the IT industry where I work to this day as a Software Manager. 

Meanwhile, I’ve had all sorts of side jobs and double careers. I taught adult high school for a while. I worked as a fine art photographer. I had many great lovers, and lived like a rockstar. In 2018, I lost the ability to walk, out of the blue. 

It lasted six months, but it changed my life. There’s a lot of stuff I don’t care about anymore. And there are things that mean more to me than they ever did.

I’m in love with someone who values me, I take weekends off from social media, and I want to move to the country. I enjoy films, video games, long bike rides, and doing nothing. I absolutely love having free time. Nothing irks me more than “email marketing” and little notifications going off all the time. 

I read about all sorts of stuff, but I have a soft spot for fairytales and the history of medicine.