This has been an interesting year. Quite apart from the bonkers turn that the world has taken in so many ways since February, I’ve had some new and challenging experiences in Second Life too… Which was unexpected, since after all this time, you’d think I’d have explored all the potential virtual avenues available to me.
Not so, however: This year has seen me – after one abortive attempt some time ago to go into virtual retail – finally knuckle down and set up a business from scratch. My inworld store led to my very first outing on Marketplace, something that has always seemed to be more of a pipe-dream than a possibility, yet it’s very much up and running, and expanding rapidly. I’ve even had a commission for a bespoke piece – so there’s at least one person out there who thinks my work is worth the money!
Those things, in turn, have proven to be the prompt to up my game when it comes to the production line and I have, after many, many, many false starts in the past, started to get to grips with Blender – which, like the Rubik’s Cube, I’ve never previously managed to master, but I know that it must be possible because other people seem to do it with ease, (although I’m well aware, that only comes after many hours of practice and hard work).
I’m enjoying it too, which is a definite bonus, but – as with any gainful employment – all work and no play is likely to make Seren a little doleful. However, there’s always plenty to keep me occupied inworld, and of late I’ve been spending a fair bit of time on the Mainland doing what I’ve always done – exploring and adventuring. Why Mainland, you may ask? Mainly because, despite the vast swathes of abandoned and empty land, it’s the only place in SL that truly affords the possibility of roaming free, and it’s big enough to hold lots of new experiences and locations that I still haven’t come across begore. Evene better, it comes with all the infrastructure you need to explore in style.
I’ve always enjoyed driving the roads of SL – it doesn’t bother me that traffic is almost non-existent; where else are you going to find miles of empty roads that you can treat like your own private racetrack, in any vehicle you fancy? It’s also quite exciting when you do run across (sometimes literally) another road user, or pedestrian, as you try your best to show off your killer driving skills, without actual becoming a killer yourself! It’s even better lately, since the Lab accidentally discovered how to (almost) fix the borked sim crossings that have been the curse of travellers since time immemorial. These days, sim crossings are (almost) OK!
If roads aren’t your thing, there’s always rail, and the SLRR is a brilliant way to sight-see, without having to concentrate on not crashing into somebody’s house or ending up in the ocean, or having to coast to a stop every time you want to have a nose at something. Like the roads, possibly even more so, the railways of the Mainland are practically devoid of traffic, and if you do happen to see a freight train coming in the opposite direction, it’s no big deal – you just pass right through each other, in much the same way as real life trains don’t!
You can, of course fly: SL seems to have more airports than should ever be strictly necessary, although with no queues at check-in or baggage reclaim, zero passengers, and clear flight paths, it’s easy peasy. Plus, of course, you get to pilot your own plane, helicopter, balloon or whatever. It’s brilliant!
If you’re into saving the virtual planet, like to keep fit, or are just plain boring, you can always walk, run or fly, and you’ll often find me jogging along the highways of SL, hunting out the next rez zone, so that I can ease up on the pavement pounding and whip my latest monster truck out for a drive.
So, yes, over the years I’ve explored mainland by pretty much every means possible, including all of the above, and monorail and cable-car. There is one mode of transport that has never really appealed – a pursuit that even afer 10 years, is new to me. Water-borne transport.
A life on the virtual ocean wave has never really taken my fancy, but this week, that all changed. I’d been hammering down the road in my Lambo, music up, windows down, not a care in the world, when suddenly I ran out of road! This is a fairly frequent occurrence – for some reason, the Linden Moles seem to think that almost all roads should run to the coast, and then stop. It’s frustrating, but you get used to it after a bit. I figured that the gods of wasted time on the internet were hinting that maybe it was time to log out and do something important instead, so I jumped out of the car… And that’s when I saw the sign ‘Free sailing boat’, and for the first time ever I thought, “Why not?”
It was really good fun! Slow, sedate, peaceful, but I actually found it very enjoyable to potter around the coast, dodging and – more often than not – failing to crash into islands, rocks and other boats. Slow isn’t usually a word you’d normally find in my vocabulary, but being at the mercy of wind and sail meant that, for once, the world had plenty of chance to rez around me, rather than whip by in a sea (what pun?) of grey, and it made a pleasant change to be able to see where I was going before I arrived there! I’m not saying I’m a complete sailing convert, planes, trains and automobiles will always be my first love when it comes to getting from A to B, with a random scattering of other letters in between, but should the ocean ever get in the way again, I don’t think I’ll be treating it with the same disdain I have in the past, besides which, it’s opened up even more parts of SL that I’ve never seen before, and from a whole new perspective too. And, I didn’t even drown!
Just goes to show, even for old stick-in-the-muds, like me, there’s always something new under the SL sun – that is, if you’re prepared to give it a go.
“And every night finds us rocking and rolling on waves wild and wide,
Well we have lost our way, nobody’s gonna say it outright.
Okkervil River – Lost Coastlines