The Somewhere podcast art, featuring a cartoon desert and map.
Courtesy Zach Mack

A New Podcast Examines Everyday Life in Popular Road Trip Destinations

Zach Mack explores tight-knit communities and subcultures in his narrative travel podcast, Greetings from Somewhere.
By Kathryn O’Shea-Evans
January 9, 2021
2 minute read

The middle of a pandemic may seem like an odd time to launch a podcast about road trips—but maybe it’s ideal, as unexpected as the journeys themselves. Longtime podcast producer Zach Mack certainly didn’t anticipate the onslaught of Covid-19 when he drove through the American South two years ago, schlepping his recording equipment around to interview locals and make audio-postcards along the way. He realized he was onto something. “I couldn’t name a single narrative travel podcast [at the time],” he says. “There were a few chat shows, but nothing immersive. It felt like a huge gap.” Mack devised a framework for his own podcast, which evolved as the coronavirus set in. About two months ago, he released the first episode of Greetings from Somewhere, a show about how travel affects us; how we affect the places we visit; and, to date, how the pandemic changed everything.

“I originally planned to go to these off-the-beaten-path kinds of places, but those places are now mostly shut down,” Mack says. Instead, he headed to open-air meccas like Walt Disney World and Joshua Tree National Park—tight-knit communities and subcultures that are experiencing change caused by the outside world—to tape episodes on location. The series’ debut centers on Marfa, Texas (population 1,714), and explores how the area is dealing with issues such as gentrification and out-of-towners seeking refuge from lockdowns. Mack has also interviewed historian Allen Pietrobon about our romanticization of the American road trip, and Tariro Mzezewa, a travel reporter for The New York Times, about planning excursions during a global health crisis. “The pandemic has become a secondary character in every episode and added a layer of tension to every story,” Mack says. “It’s forced me to get creative. Ultimately, I think it’s made the show feel more important, more timely, and hopefully, more relatable.”