Unmapped is a new nonfiction podcast from Uncover documenting the host’s travels:
In “Unmapped,” millennial travel blogger Angelina Zeppieri takes you along on her adventures, revealing hidden gems along the way. Get inside Angelina’s head as she narrates her honest thoughts and experiences throughout her global journeys.
Unmapped feels somewhere between the Samantha Brown Travel Channel shows and Radiotopia’s Millennial. The show offers some travel tips, of course, but mostly what it offers is a personal narrative of why travel is so transformative and important. Unmapped is about the places traveled to, but mostly, it’s about wanderlust, finding small joys, and the moments that make experiences actually memorable.
As host Angelina Zeppieri starts her travel in Greece, it’s hard not to feel a simultaneous tug of jealousy paired with a feeling of escapism. Zeppieri is such a charismatic and genuine host–though my back-East Italian family might make me a bit biased here. Zeppieri’s narration provides a lens into travel that seems so much more down-to-earth than most personalities who write about travel. When she discusses her travel, she doesn’t talk about the beautiful, lavish hotels she stayed in or the Michelin star meals she ate. She talks about tour guides flaking out on her without notifying her. She talks about getting mixed up on which ferry to take, and winding up in a small island that is definitely not Mykonos.
Alongside the travel episodes, though, Unmapped also talks about finding the small joys in your own backyard. Given, Zeppieri’s backyard is New York, which takes her into Rockefeller Center and Coney Island. Still, these episodes feel more quaint and humble, a reminder of how many genuinely attainable experiences most of us can find locally. These episodes delight in being a tourist in your own town, urging the listener to not just live vicariously through her travel but to also form their own adventures.
The production work in Unmapped is lush and expressive, adding sound effects and music to create a soundscape to back the narration. At times, the episodes do feel a little over-produced, but usually they pull back enough to be immersive instead of intrusive. The production helps allow the feeling of vicariousness for the listener; it helps the listener steep in the moment instead of just listening to an external account of the events.
While Unmapped has proven to be an addictive listen so far, I wonder how–or if, even–the show will veer towards gaining more emotional or narrative substance on top of its travel discussions. Likely, expecting a travel podcast to reveal some deep human truth is a far-fetched expectation or even desire, but the intimacy in Zeppieri’s narration makes me curious. With Zeppieri, Unmapped could focus more on its protagonist–something that still very much exists in creative nonfiction–and how her experiences shape her perspective. Even as a straightforward account of some events with a large helping of personality, though, Unmapped is doing just fine without intense soul-searching.
If travel blogging is finding a new home in podcasting, it can find no better example than Unmapped. Between the genuine host, the production work, and the actual content, podcasting feels like a natural home for Unmapped. With only five episodes out, I can’t wait to see where Zeppieri takes us next.
You can find Unmapped on its website or any major podcast platform.
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