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Bling For Your Soul

March 4, 2016

tourists - no zazzleHave you ever wanted to tour Paris with a fine arts painter? Moscow with an acclaimed journalist? Chicago with the former leader of a counter-cultural movement?

Or how about The Bone Church of Kutna Hora with an author of historical spy fiction?

Cold readers, I know I don’t shower you with diamonds and champagne cocktails. Nor do I buy you designer dresses or expensive watches. And it’s true – I don’t think I’ve ever once treated you to dinner at the fancy new restaurant in town.

But after today, you can’t say I’ve never taken you anywhere.

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by a company called Voice Map. Voice Map is an app for iPhones and Android devices that provides immersive audio tours written and performed by bestselling authors, artists, photographers, seasoned travelers, educators and journalists. You might hear about murder on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, nostalgia for the vanishing hutongs of old Beijing, or about a Gothic church in the Czech Republic that’s been adorned with the bones of some 30,000 dead Christians.

Voice Map asked me if I would be interested in writing and voicing some tours of my own and I gave them a resounding yes! Not only do I love to travel, but I love to share my adventures, tell my stories, and incite in my friends a passion for the places that have clawed their way into my heart and set up camp.

tourists - egypt

My first tour – one of many, I hope – centers around (you guessed it) The Bone Church of Kutna Hora, also known as the Ossuary at Sedlec. My thirty-six minute audio tour packs in a lot. I take you to The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and John the Baptist – one of the great Gothic cathedrals in the region; we walk past a large Philip Morris outpost and I tell you all about the Czech Republic’s change from a communist country to a free market parliamentary republic, and then meander down the suburban streets of Sedlec, where I wax nostalgic about drinking too much Czech beer, sleeping under the stars at my father’s farm and translating a tragically comic communist propaganda play. We finish up at the Playboy Centerfold of my tour, savoring the eerie wonder of a sacred Gothic chapel decorated entirely in human bone.

cherub bone church

I hope to provide you with the sort of travel experience that I would have killed for had it been available to me when I was still a world traveler. Before love and kids and soccer games and slumber parties took me on a whole different journey.

And don’t worry – you don’t have to pick my tour! I understand that a trip to the Czech Republic may not be on your immediate horizon. Voice Map has tours all over the world and are adding new ones at an astonishing rate.

All you have to do is leave a comment here on this blog post, briefly telling me about your favorite travel story – maybe it’s strolling under a full moon by the river Seine, floating in the Dead Sea or just hiking a trail on the outskirts of your home town. At the end of your story, you must provide me with your email address. THIS IS CRUCIAL, as I can only send you the link to your free tour if you give me a place to send it.

Trust me, this is better than a pair of earrings, or a new electronic gizmo.

This is bling for your soul!

tourist - germany




  1. This a very interesting concept and great experience! We are travel writers and I’d like to dig more into this, as this may be a great way to really take our readers with us. Thanks!

  2. I went to Kutna Hora with a certain Catalina Egan and her friend Brigitte from Denmark. It is one of the most memorable trips I did, not only because I had read your fantastic book with links to the Church, but because it was so great to meet you and Catalina.
    The Church really is impressive and I can only recommend it to anyone who has a chance of travelling that way. And if you do, make sure to get that audio tour. I had a wonderful warm feeling while admiring the church because Victoria’s voice was always with me 🙂

  3. Aw schucks – you’re the best Christoph. I loved meeting the two of you there. It meant so much to me.

  4. Reblogged this on writerchristophfischer and commented:
    The Bone Church features in Victoria Dougherty’s novel of the same name. Now she created an audio tour on voicemap. Highly recommended

  5. Sadly, we haven’t done near as much traveling as I would like, but a simple and captivating memory does come to mind. My wife and I drove up from Southern California to Oregon for the mid-October wedding of a cousin. On the way back we started home following my brother who lived in Northern California. At his suggestion we took a bit of a detour off the main highway as we headed south. We drove through beautiful woodland countryside with amazing Fall colors. As we drove up to a higher elevation we entered an enchanting Winter Wonderland. Snow covered much of the ground and trees. An hour or so later we descended back to into forests of delightful Fall colors. In the space of a few hours we were treated to a fabulous Fall-Winter-Fall afternoon drive. – –

  6. That’s a fantastic story! Look for your coupon 🙂

  7. I would love to see “The Church of the Assumption of Our Lady and John the Baptist” Great concept will look forward to more. Thank you

  8. Thanks, Masha. It’s a beautiful cathedral.

  9. Very, very cool, Victoria! Dang, it is so hard to choose but I’ll go with my last trip.

    We stayed at the Oregon coast for a week, and we had a place that was only a few steps from the sand. It was October, the off-season, and the beaches were deserted. So me and my husband had every beautiful sunset to ourselves.

  10. Britt. That’s an amazing trip. Sounds like our honeymoon 🙂

  11. I love the beach any beach. There’s nothing better than just looking at where the ocean meets the sky

  12. A few years ago, my wife Sheila and I returned back to my home state of Texas (all the kids & grandkids are here) from her home state of Vermont and we made a 5 1/2 week detour through Paris – just the thought made me take a deep deep breath again 🙂

    • That’s fabulous, Felipe, but you don’t mean Paris, Texas, do you? 😉

      • Uh, no ahhhahah 🙂 Youngest girl was having her 1st child & I knew we’d probably not get to return or go to Paris anytime soon, so a “detour” to France seemed a good compromise. We were gonna travel to Spain for a few days, but un-sureness with the language plus just loving being in Paris Thanksgiving to near Christmas was just wonderful 🙂

  13. Brilliant idea, Victoria!

    Probably my best recent travel was when my husband and I went to Canary Islands. We decided to go only 2 days before the departure. We’d been 18 months without having a proper holiday, you can imagine our joy and relief the moment we stepped our feet on the Spanish islands!

  14. I bet. I love Europe around the holidays, too. Winter is an unsung hero for the Christmas traveler – cozy fires, mulled wine, walks in the crisp air, decorations…

  15. emarxbooks permalink

    Best recent travel experience, let me think. I’ve visited a lot of wonderful places, I’ve been at a cocktail party at Versailles and strolled the Hall of Mirrors with a glass of champagne in hand. I’ve stood on the little bridge in Giverny that appears in Monet’s Water Lily Pond painting, that was kind of otherworldly, standing on the very spot where such an incredible work of art was created. I think my best travel experience was having dinner in Castel Sant’Angelo in Vatican City, walking up the stone ramparts and imagining all Swiss guards who’d protected the pope and palace and then the unique and wonderful view from the top!

    • Great stories, Elizabeth. I remember an audience with the Pope at the Vatican when I was twenty-one. It was amazing, although I felt like I was on The Price is Right 😉

  16. I love to travel and I found your blog post fascinating.

  17. What a great idea! Do we only get one? (You know how I am) 🙂 I loved Iceland, then there was the time the Pope showed up at the Vatican–unannounced, and what about the time I was shopping in the Souk in Carthage, Tunisia and my husband forgot about me….

  18. Did you get kidnapped by an Arab sheik? And I have always wanted to go to Iceland.

  19. blakelybennett permalink

    That sounds like an incredible opportunity! Good luck.

  20. Very interesting. Thank you for taking me on a trip.

  21. That is so awesome! I’d love to tour a Gothic Bone Church with your commentary running all the while.


  22. It won’t be as spicy as yours, Travis 😉

  23. Very interesting!

  24. Apologize for being tardy recently on your posts… I’ll forget excuses. Still in love with your writing and want to be a version of you in my next life! ♥
    Best trips Julie and I’ve made: London, Barcelona, Costa Rica, and Maui – we went to Mexico and lived for three years on the Sea of cortez…
    I’ll be reading your posts – either, in current time, or, in a bundle, as, now! 🙂

  25. Great trips, BR. Thank you. Jack and I are going to Costa Rica to see his sister in November! Send me your email and I’ll send you your promo code for your tour!

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