top of page

About the Podcast






Life of an Octopus is a show that takes a multifaceted look at biology, anthropology, and ontology. It is a show about octopuses, but it is just as much, if not moreso, a show about humans.


Never content with our own story, we humans dive ever deeper to find meaning and extend ourselves ever further to grasp at truth. This podcast helps to tell that story from a comparative view.


Looking at our individual lives juxtaposed with a creature so unlike us, we gain new perspective. Octopuses are animals evolutionarily disposed to learn. Humans are animals evolutionarily disposed to tell stories. In each episode, we find that there is much to learn from an octopus, and that we humans learn best from sharing stories - the octopus' stories as well as our own.


Each show centers on a topic that begins as a scientific discussion with renowned experts in marine biology, malacology, neuroscience, oceanography, and the like. The topic then becomes personal and far more human. I sit down with one of a wide variety of people - thinkers, business leaders, strangers, and friends - as they lend their in-depth reflection on the subject and tell their story.


This podcast is meant to be a mixture of introspection and extrospection - science talk with a Theory of Everything spin. Part ethnography, part ethology, the result is intended to be a thoughtful portrait of life from two opposite ends of the animal spectrum.

Dive deep with us as we together question what it is to be alive.



Why an octopus? Ah, so many reasons, but rather than write them out, I'd love to tell you directly. Click on the button below to enjoy a short video.



The point of this show isn't to overwhelm you with bizarre facts about a sea creature or cajole you into appointing the Blanket Octopus your beer league team mascot.


The point of the show isn't to make you a bleeding heart for the plight of cephalopods worldwide. Yes, the world's oceans are in need of our help. Fisheries are in decline, coral reefs are crumbling, acidification is threatening the delicate balance of life both on land and underwater, sea level rise could impact bathymetric and met-ocean conditions, trash is suffocating the water's surface, and the ill effects of surface runoff, military tests, and spills are leaving lasting toxic loads on all orders of sea life. Any of these issues unmitigated negatively impacts the inter-relationships within an environment largely foreign to us and yet makes up two-thids of the Earth's surface.


But I'm not here to tell you all of that. If you're interested in this show, you're probably already aware of some or all of these problems. You may already be signing petitions, donating to environmental charities, being a conscious consumer of plastics, seafood, gasoline...You may even volunteer to clean up at local waterways or beaches. If you do, that's awesome! I do occasionally mix activism in the show, but the mission is not to make you pass over the calamari. 


If you want to find room in your heart to love again and maybe even make octopuses yoru favorite animal, keep listening to the podcast, as that may happen over time.


The mission of this show is you, or, more specifically, us. What do each of us want out of life, and what does life mean to us? How can we improve ourselves? How can we be better to each other? We have the unique ability to think very abstract thoughts, but what do we spend our time thinking about? We have the unique ability to express very complex ideas, but what is it that we tell one other, and what does that say about ourselves? The mission of this show is to help us be better humans without as much of the pretext that our concept of humanity brings, but rather, to be better homo sapiens in the context of a broader ecology.


This is the mission of Life of an Octopus...want to join me?

  • Twitter Square

Follow me on Twitter

  • SoundCloud - Black Circle

Follow me on Soundcloud


Perhaps I should have said this first...Hello, I'm Erica Waddell, and it's a pleasure to have you as a listener! Thank you for your interest in this little project. I sincerely hope that enjoy it!

What got me into this project? Well, I have a debilitating problem: I'm easily fascinated. The thing that fascinates me most of all is observing things thinking. Watching people and other living things think causes me to reflect upon my own thinking, and I'm pretty much useless for hours after that. An octopus is transparent in a way in that it shows what it's thinking with very little contrivance or constraint. I found myself thinking about octopuses thinking and, in turn, my own thinking, and, by extrapolation, how human beings think. I got tired of spending my afternoons on this, so I decided to launch a podcast. Even though I still spend hours each day thinking about thinking, now I have something to show for it.


Ever since I was a four-year-old kid, I've loved being by the ocean. My favorite animals are fin whales, and I have the pleasure of whale-watching whenever I get a chance to step away from my clothing store and workshop and take a break for a few hours. A love of whales is a love of the ecosystem they occupy, so I love to learn more about cephalopods along with cetacea.


Speaking of my real job, to find out more about my clothing label and other work, visit


Also, don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter! In addition to podcast releases, you'll get a preview on guests coming up for future episodes and exclusive news from past favorite guests.

bottom of page