A recent train journey had me thinking that rail is probably one of my favourite modes of travel. Travelling by train, you’re protected from the worst of the elements, you can if you choose, walk about, go to the loo or grab a plastic sandwich and take out a mortgage on a cup of coffee from the buffet car and, unlike air travel, or for that matter the bus – where most of what you see from the window is motorway traffic and rain – you do get to appreciate something of the landscape through which you are travelling.
Even so, i often find myself pondering that there’s a whole lot more outside that window that i’m not seeing… towns, stations and countryside pass by, giving just a glimpse of scenery – a fleeting impression of places that are mere stages on an ongoing journey. You can travel a whole country by rail, yet only see a thin ribbon of the world surrounding you – it’s almost like walking through life with tunnel vision.
Sometimes, i feel the same way about sl. There must be hundreds of landmarks in my inventory, to places all over the Grid, as varied as it’s possible to be: shops, malls, attractions, favourite places, clubs and goodness knows what else besides. On the face of it, i’m extraordinarily well-travelled, but the truth of the matter is that – just as is the case with my train journeys – i tend to see sl through a very narrow field of view.
You could probably count the number of Sims that i’m very familiar with – places i’m able to find my way around with no problem – using just your fingers; whereas, the vast majority of locations i’ve visited remain very much a complete mystery outside the immediate environs of their accompanying LM. There are stores at which i regularly shop, whose front doors i have never ventured beyond; there are favourite places where you’ll often find me, but ask me about the area surrounding them and i won’t have a clue. The simple fact is that the majority of places that i frequent are simply co-ordinates on a map – i appear for a flying visit, do what i came to do, then TP back out again; rarely do i hang around to do a spot of exploration when i’m there. If you were to map out my sl travels, you’d find a disconnected mess of small dots, with very occasional patches of decent-sized land interspersed – but these would be very much in the minority.
i can’t help wondering what i might be missing – for all i know, just outside that familiar store may lie a wonderland containing some of the marvels of the sl world, if only i’d go and take a look. There could be fantastical cities, or vast tracts of unexplored and fascinating countryside, intriguing constructions and magnificent buildings, all begging to be investigated and explored.
Unlike rl, such places are not briefly-glimpsed intervals between stations, destined always to be places passed in transit – in sl, there’s nothing at all stopping me from taking the opportunity to check them out.
If i had the travel opportunities in rl that sl affords, i’d truly be kicking myself if i simply flew from one destination to another by the quickest route, never once stopping to look at the view, explore my surroundings or soak up the local culture – and i can’t, for the life of me, understand why i let myself get away with such laziness inworld.
The poem, William Henry Davies, put it pretty succinctly, in his poem ‘Leisure’:
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
A poor life indeed… equally poor when applied to a visually rich and stimulating environment like sl – it’s crazy not to stand, stare and enjoy the sights that are there, and if it means a diversion or a break in our journey to seek out those things worth standing and staring at, then that is exactly what we should be doing!
Now, if you’ll excuse me, i’ve some exploring to do!
Third boxcar, midnight train
Roger Miller – King Of The Road