I recently read that some guy called Mark Zuckerberg reckons that we will be able to bring the travel game to a whole new level. In April this year, during a Q&A session via Facebook (ah, that Mark Zuckerberg!) that our good friend ‘technological innovation’ will one day let people travel to places all around the world via, you ready for this, virtual reality.
Supposedly the Facebook man noted it would be “It will be pretty wild”, oooh?! He goes on to say “just like we capture photos and videos today and then share them on the Internet to let others experience them too, we’ll be able to capture whole 3D scenes and create new environments, and then share those with people as well”. I can’t wait to experience someone else’s travel experiences where they actually got to experience something. Imagine that? Dumbfounded, I learnt more on the proposed further opportunity to disconnect ourselves from the rest of the world and humanity.
So how would virtual travel work? It will use headset technology from Oculus, a firm that Facebook recently bought. Oculus’s headsets will allow users to teleport to anywhere in the world. Hold on! Teleport?! That is not what we all consider teleporting to be. I would want my money back. When I start teleporting, I expect my body to come with me, and not be sitting at my dining table.
There’s more, not only will people be “teleported” to their location of choice, the future technology will incorporate our body movements, nearby objects, and the user’s overall environment, meaning they will be able to move around and really feel things once they’re there. Really, feel things? OK. First they promise us teleporting, now they are telling us that we will get to feel Copacabana’s warm sand between my feet. Right? I hope virtual reality does as well as it did in the 90s.
This, quite frankly, is a sad potential development in how technology can better help us. There is, in my opinion, no substitute for the real thing. Where is the adventure? Where is the ability to tell a story? Experience the senses and passion of a city, and its people.
We travel not to escape life, but for life to not escape us.
I love that I can tell stories to my kids about the three long and amazing days of trekking the Inca trail with their Mum and friends. I can close my eyes, and still remember the sensation of lying on a cold stone carved hundreds of years ago by dedicated Inca craftsmen, and running my hands through the early morning dew from the grass slopes of Machu Picchu.
The world is our oyster. Explore it, in person.
Thanks for reading.