Travel – my absolute favourite pursuit. Even the every day variety has its charms, if you only know where to look for them: Views from the window, people-watching, exploring and getting lost in unfamiliar places; the most routine and mundane journey needn’t be entirely without its charm – it’s just a matter of appreciating it.
Further afield – although I’ve not had the opportunity for some years now – going to another country, experiencing diverse cultures and immersing yourself in an unfamiliar and very different environment to that which we’re used to is – for me – one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences there is. As far as I’m concerned, a holiday is something far removed from the soaking up the sun on a coral beach as part of an all-inclusive package tour experience that so many look forward to. A holiday, for me, is about the sights and sounds, the smells and the people; it’s about the history and the architecture, the art and the language. It’s about gorging on street food and joining in at local festivals; trying the regional beer and getting hopelessly lost in the back streets of towns where you can’t understand the signs.
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I know, but there are some out there who feel the same as me, and it’s always a joy to have a really good travel discussion with inworld friends, particularly as some of them live in places I’d really love to see myself. It was during one such discussion recently that it occurred to me that, even though I’ve been to some pretty exotic locations in far-flung reaches of the world, when it comes to my own little island I’ve only seen and explored a tiny part of it, maybe no more than 25% at best. There are whole swathes of the UK that are completely unknown to me – Scotland, Northern Ireland, the whole of the East coast, much of the South East beyond London, and anywhere North of Northampton – plenty to keep me going for a good few years yet, without ever having to fish out my passport! You could probably capture all the places I’ve seen in my own backyard within the circumference of a 300 mile circle.
I don’t think that’s particularly unique to me – I’m sure there are many of us who may have travelled the world, yet what lies just a few miles down the road is a complete mystery to us, and even when we do get about it’s often along well-worn routes and into familiar territory. Some of us may cover hundreds of miles routinely, but our knowledge of the journey is limited to a thin strip, the width of a road or railway track, and a few well-trodden streets at our destination.
This is very true of SL too. Despite our virtual world being more than capacious enough to keep us entertained for as long as we could wish, a great many of us seem to cover a tiny geographical range. If you were to fit us with the virtual equivalent of radio tracking collars, the tracks we’d leave on the world map would invariably fall into a distinct pattern, with our SLives revolving around maybe three or four favourite locations and little variation from week to week. I remember an inworld conversation some years ago, when another resident told me that in four years they’d never attempted to explore anywhere outside their regular haunts – I was astonished, but now I realise just how few people do spend time actively exploring, once they have settled into a comfortable inworld routine.
Over time, my own forays around SL have tended to become less frequent too – mainly as a result of time constraints and other commitments, but it’s not something I’d ever want to neglect altogether. There are numerous amazing places I’ve discovered over the years that have now, sadly, vanished forever and I’m extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to see them before they disappeared. Then there’s the fascination of exploring locations from SL’s past, reminders and an insight into the way SL once was… And, of course, there are always new and unique places to discover, if only you take the time to hunt them out!
Perhaps, as the year unfolds, I’ll rediscover that spirit of wanderlust and spend a little more time getting out and about, and a little less time staying put?
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more.
Hit the road Jack and don’t you come back no more.
What you say?
Ray Charles – Hit The Road Jack