Scenario: you’ve always wanted to stand at the top of the Grand Canyon; it’s been a steady number one of your bucket list for years. You finally decide to scratch this expensive itch and right when you’re about to book your flight seat, someone tells you that you actually can see the phenomena for a lot cheaper — and better yet — in the comfort of your own living room. All by the simplicity of virtual reality.
You surely haven’t missed the VR glasses — one of the most hyped tech trends lately. Level this up a little and you’ve got the next big thing: a 5-D travel experience engaging sight, hearing, touch, flavor and smell, offering a range of destinations just as smoothly as browsing your Netflix movie. How: by collecting impressions from former travelers to create a tailored simulation based on your own moves and reactions, feelings and moods. If you could walk through a Bangkok street food market and even have a taste of it while feeling the tropical sun on your shoulders, all during an 120 minute micro travel session on a particularly grey Stockholm Tuesday — would you enhance your reality if you could?
We know we would — but we understand if you’re frowning. It’s undeniable that this way of enhancing reality comes with a downside: offering the choice to escape at the slightest setback. Like all good things in life, this treat would be best consumed with moderation; just like any great pad thai. Still, the idea of it will probably give most of us some real food for thought: would you be bothered by the fact that in your mind, you’d know that it would be all illusionary, even if the experience was just as real and authentic as ever? Just because it would be happening inside your mind, if technology made you feel and experience the same thing, would that make it any less real?
This technology is giving us access to a new dimension of reality. In fact, we might even need to redefine the concept of reality. If someone has actually been at the top of the Eiffel Tower and you’re experiencing it through their eyes and senses in a similar way they did, except you’re the one making the decisions; it’s happening right now so it’s actually real, right? Does reality only have to be what’s around you? We agree, this kind of thoughts make you lose your mind a little, but to lead you out of this mind maze: the vision is simple. We’ve always been told to be realists. That a lifetime is probably not enough to visit all the capitals of the world, that we’ll sometimes need to choose between this and that. Well, micro traveling could be a way to have the cake and eat it, too. That being a Parisian macaron, of course.