• 18 Dec

Virtual Reality Meets Travel

I’m not 100% sure about how I feel about this, but it’s definitely something which is gaining some traction, that being how travel is going fully virtual with virtual reality. I think my mixed emotions come from the fact that it saddens me a bit to think that a virtual travel experience is being sold as a replacement for the real thing, but at the same time I think those of us who much rather prefer the real experience should perhaps read between the lines and see this virtual reality as a temporary consolation for our impending travel plans.

I mean you can visit Las Vegas by slapping on a pair of VR glasses and get a good preview of the experience you’d be getting if you went there physically, but there will never be a substitute for the real thing, I don’t think. On the other hand, as much as pretty much anyone who would be given the opportunity to travel would likely grab that opportunity with both hands, the truth of the matter is that not all of us are lucky enough to have the option of jumping on a plane and jetting off.

So as sad as it may be, the truth is for some people virtual travel through virtual reality will be the only way through which they actually get so see some of the places they want to see. Even the most seasoned of travellers will probably never really get to see every single inch and corner of the world, so I guess VR has its place in the world of travel.

It’s a little bit of a novelty, I think, that of how something like Google Earth suddenly becomes that much more interesting when things suddenly appear in 3-D. Ordinarily for me it personally makes for a nice trip down memory lane as I can get lost for hours on end just moving around some familiar places which are documented on Google Earth’s interface. So I can definitely see the allure of VR meeting the world of travel.

Things get a lot more interesting when you get to experience some travel routes you otherwise wouldn’t ordinarily be able to make happen, such is the volatile nature of their operation. For example, there was a BBC show produced quite some time ago entitled “Slow Train through Africa” in which the presenter pretty much did what the title suggests – he travelled through the African continent via train.

Even then it was challenging to do the full trip (starting in South Africa, into Namibia and pretty much up the continent along the west coast countries and coming back down to South Africa through the east coast countries). Some of the points at which the railway networks terminate are no longer operational, but all it takes is for one person to do it once, documenting such trips with 3-D video capturing technology and just like that they give the whole world a gift that with the passage of time would have otherwise no longer been available.