Travel for $15 or Less?
Back in the day, (1971 to be back-enough), it was common to see books or articles describing seeing Europe for $5 a day. With a backpack and a Europass, it was not that difficult.
As a student, I took a six week class on Italy’s Economic Development in Bari, then had six weeks to travel in Europe with a Eurail pass. My travel companion and I enjoyed the art in Rome and Florence, and then she wanted to go to Paris and I to a remote unknown area of Europe to be determined. In retrospect, I wished I had stayed with her 🙂
I ended up going to Norway on the Eurail pass and stopped in Amsterdam and Copenhagen on the way. I had to see the Rembrandt museum, and also saw the Munch museum in Oslo before taking the train North above the Arctic circle to Trondheim.
The train ride there was beautiful with verdant green valleys, tall waterfalls, and fjords. Yes, I escaped the typical Europe tour destinations and instead experienced some amazing country. Having Norwegian in my bloodline might have helped.
Fast forward to the New Normal in 2022 and travel is in everyone’s bones after two years of lockdowns and mandates. Yet it is not the same. The world changed in 2020 and the change is still going on.
Travel is a must for some, and a wish for many.
Then there is the cost. There is also the alternative – armchair traveling.
Real vs Armchair
Before covid I already had some experience as an armchair traveler, and now I have gained some skills and variety that is enjoyable on many levels.
Of course real, physical travel is hands on fun and the experiences are direct. Yet for me, virtual travel and vicarious experience is also fun and very rewarding.
I might mention that I live in Mexico permanently and am married to a beautiful Mexican woman. Living here and sharing my life with her is beyond travel – maybe like a permanent vacation? We have traveled to two beautiful destinations here in Mexico in 2019. We are planning for more at some time in the near future.
Until then, my armchair travels are from here – a Mexican city on the Gulf coast
with a beautiful beach, Gulf breezes every afternoon, a semi-tropical climate, and the magic of Mexico.
So What About the $15 Travel Experience?
Experiencing storytelling for the price of an audiobook will allow you to travel to other lands and cultures, see life through the eyes of unique characters, and the creative mind of the writer, and choose which adventure you want to have next.
(ok, this is one of many types of armchair travel, and I am passionate about audiobooks, so some space is dedicated here for this idea.)
There is also a bonus – you can time travel if the stories are based in other times and in history.
“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.” – – Ernest Hemingway
I’ve enjoyed vicarious experience on a whaling ship, hanging out with Hemingway’s characters in Spain, Steinbeck’s in California, and being engaged with amazing stories based in England, France, historic U.S.Russia (yes, Tolstoy is not sanctioned), South America, and California in the 19th and 20th centuries.
YouTube has virtual tours, historical videos, and a huge variety of travel related content that can be enjoyed as an armchair traveler vicariously.
There is inspiration is adopting a mindset of possibilities with your imagination and creative choice of content that will be your next armchair travel adventure.
Here’s some examples of free downloads with a subscription from the Audible Plus Catalog:
1) Travel Paris
“This collection includes the story of 6 of Paris’ most famous and beautiful destinations – The Eiffel Tower, Sacre Coeur, The Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, The Champs Elysees and The Louvre.
An innovative travel series, transporting the armchair traveller or getting you in the mood for discover on route to your destination.”
My Southern Journey – True Stories from the Heart of the South
“From celebrated New York Times best-selling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Rick Bragg comes a poignant and wryly funny collection of essays on life in the South. Keenly observed and written with his insightful and deadpan sense of humor, Bragg explores enduring Southern truths about home, place, spirit, table, and the regions’ varied geographies, including his native Alabama, Cajun country, and the Gulf Coast. Everything is explored, from regional obsessions with college football and fishing to mayonnaise and spoonbread to the simple beauty of a fish on the hook. Collected from over a decade of his writing, with many never-before-published essays written specifically for this edition, My Southern Journey is an entertaining and engaging listen, especially for Southerners (or Southerners at heart) and anyone who appreciates great writing”
3) The Count of Monte Cristo
My favorite novel of all time and what a journey. Travel back in time to France with this celebrated 52 hr classic audiobook. Adventure, romance, suspense, historical fiction, and amazing storytelling.
The Inspiration of $15 for a Unique Travel Experience might not cost a dime. There is inspiration for free armchair travel and here’s one of many options below $15.
(Note: Audible has a “Plus Catalog” which has thousands of free audiobook downloads. There is a free 7 day trial with a free credit for an audiobook. Check it out: