The World’s Cheapest and Strangest Form of Travel
Travel: the greatest adventure
Travel is often seen as a glorious expression of one’s life, and is definitely an experience unlike any other in life. This is often so, given the wide variety of scenery and experience one has while traveling. Yet travel, while much more accessible today than in the past, still connotes great expense from the traveler’s wallet. Yet there is one way by which people can travel which is cheaper than even hitch-hiking and is easier on the feet than say, walking. This article will explain this, the cheapest form of travel.
The least expensive means of travel, if one can truly call it travel, is by doing so vicariously. This means, quite simply, not actually taking a single step out one’s door but rather, of traveling in the mind. This is how the majority of the world’s populace “traveled” in the past as they sat about campfires, listening to the tales of Homer, about the Golden Horde, Marco Polo, or other such feats of heroes and adventurers as they traipsed across the globe. Yet even today, such travel is still practiced and accomplished in even more ways than in the past.
One of the most visceral and stimulating means of traveling vicariously is by meeting people from other countries. In doing so, the vicarious traveler can interact with a representative of another culture and can ask whatever questions come to mind. This can lead to a sharing of cultural values, ideas, and experiences that may be emotionally rewarding, entertaining, and even educational. As with all relationships, often stories are exhorted to illustrate cultural and national mores, differing forms of body language and other points of great interest for those who dream of far-off lands.
A more common means of vicarious travel is through books and magazines. The stories in the written word –whether of fiction (as that of Homer’s Odyssey), or non-fiction (such as the travel writing of Marco Polo or Richard Halliburton), are sure to thrill the traveler in all who read such faits accomplis). The person who is able to ‘read herself into travel’ gains frissons equal to the actual traveler in manifold ways, though at a much lesser expense and at a reduced level of danger, discomfort, and complication. (Of course, there are those who would rightly say that such discomfort, when behind a person, makes for all-the-sweeter memories of travel.)
Perhaps the most common form of virtual or vicarious travel is via movies. Movies offer both the excitement of far-away trips (often even to other time periods), while simultaneously offering a feast of other cultures to the eyes. Of course, movies are much shorter-lived than their written counter-parts, so the journeys they offer are more fleeting.
Finally, there is the newest form of this artificial means of travel. That is, via the internet. With the internet we can chat with people from Inner Mongolia, email someone in Uttar Pradesh, India, and post photos to the entire planet faster than you can say “upload my flash drive.” The same is true with online “travel.” Websites from around the globe offer insights, travel packages, travel tips, and gobs of information for anyone interested. Youtube and similar video websites also offer viewers the chance to see the happenings of everything from very cosmopolitan cities like Paris, to nearly unknown towns and villages, like Ptolemaida, Greece, and La Bufadora, Mexico.
Of course, the title and beginning of this article may have been a bit misleading. The travel indicated here is virtual or mental journeying. Yet it can be argued by many that this is as good as many types of travel –particularly for those impecunious folks who so greatly desire to travel. The mental journey can be every bit as exciting. Plus, it offers one added benefit: it can be revisited again and again –and without needing a passport!
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