In the real world, I’ve moved house 13 times, that works out about once every 4-5 years, and – I have to say that I’ve always found the process of moving horribly stressful and messy. Given the choice, I’d much rather stay put, and I certainly have no plans to move again if I can help it. In contrast, I’ve only had 2 homes in SL in over 12 years, but – as with RL – I really wouldn’t want to be put in a position where I’d have to relocate.
Right from my early days inworld, securing a place to call home was a priority, and my first real virtual home was a shared rental property with a partner. That didn’t really work out, and eventually I struck out on my own and found myself renting a tiny motel room, with a 25 prim allowance, on the Penny Lane sim. Some 11 years later, I still live on the same sim, although the motel room has now expanded to a parcel of over 13000m2 – although, even that’s still not enough, and I’d happily expand my holdings if only land availability and my bank balance would allow!
To some, that may seem entirely reasonable, whilst others may find it incomprehensible. Why, they would argue, do you need all that land? After all, a virtual home is simply a convenient place to log into SL – somewhere to grab a bit of privacy, unpack shopping and try on outfits, perhaps have a couple of friends around for some quality time, or a secluded place to get up to a spot of naughtiness with a partner or hook-up. Land, they might argue, is for business-people… for stores and clubs, events and get-togethers, not for individuals to settle down and make their own.
Which camp you happen to fall into will colour your perception of land and property ownership in SL, and that seems – based on what I’ve observed over the years – to fall into two simple groups. There are those for whom an inworld home is simply a utility, even to the point of just being an unfurnished box in the sky – for this group of people, decorating and adding personal touches are not a priority, and may even seem to be an inconvenience. The second group is somewhat different: These are the people who take delight in designing and building a home location that reflects their tastes and personality; they want to invest time and effort into personalising their inworld space and take pride in using every means at their disposal to build a unique and personal space.
Coincidentally, I’d also suggest that those who view an SL home as a mere convenience are also less likely to be inclined to explore and investigate the Grid: For them, the virtual world is just a collection of landmarks, enabling them to flit between stores and entertainment venues, without the inconvenience of sight-seeing. Many may even be unaware of what lies immediately beyond the four walls of their skybox. On the other hand, those for whom an SL home is a personal extension of their own persona are also, I’d venture to suggest, more likely to be explorers, curious to see and experience every nook and cranny of the Grid.
There are other differences too – people who treat their virtual home as a simple crash pad, and nothing more, often strike me as extroverts: The life and soul of the party, always out clubbing with a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. To these, the SL community revolves around ‘families’, cliques and group activities. Conversely, those who cherish their home space and use it to ground themselves within the virtual world, tend towards the more introvert – although they’re happy to share their space with others, they are equally content to spend time on their own, pursuing solo activities and exploring the creative spaces made by like-minded avatars. Those, of course, are sweeping generalisations, but in my experience, they are often correct.
So, what is home to you? Is it a place of stability and security, somewhere to set down roots and establish your own unique inworld space? Or, is it simply a convenience; location and community largely irrelevant, and somewhere you’d have little problem with swapping for an alternative, should the need arise? Either approach is fine, but for someone like myself, for whom my inworld home is far more than just a point on a map, it’s difficult to appreciate the minimalist lifestyle, with just enough prims spare to rez a couple of boxes and a sofa… And that’s just the way I am. Each to their own, though!
So, now we come to a shameless plug!
In all the years I’ve lived at Penny Lane, the sim has been managed and nurtured by the capable hands of my great friend (and landlady) Moon, who has just started up a new rental venture, perfectly suited to those whose needs are simple. She has a range of furnished room rentals, tastefully designed, in different styles, and all at extremely competitive rates, including a small prim allowance, with options to upgrade.
If you’re looking for a place to set up home, I’d recommend checking out her Brite Rentals site, before they’re all snapped up!
And, even if you are the type for whom exploring is anathema, you really should check out the sim too – there’s a huge amount to see and do there, and what’s more… I’d be your neighbour!
Don’t let that put you off though!
Ill be surely comin home
And im comin home in the mornin
Im coming home in the morning
Right on right on
Ill be right there baby
Lou Pride – I’m Com’un Home In The Mornin’