I have dedicated the back end of the week to getting out my head. My goal was achieved, but without alcohol, thanks to a first dip in virtual reality.
I have been lucky so far this pandemic, but like many I have found the pleasures of homelife have begun to wear thin. It is not bad, far from it. I quite like the routine.
The problem is that the routine has barely changed for almost a year. There is really not much to distinguish one day from the next.
This is not fertile ground for fresh thoughts. The very same thoughts, positive and negative, tend to come round in and endless unchanging carousell.
I don’t actually need to find new thoughts. As a journalist I can rely on other people having these, but some variety is welcome, like a fresh coat of paint.
This is where experiences normally come in. If social life was a goer it might be a big night out or weekend away. And, if travel were possible, I might go somewhere.
But the immersion of travel or, indeed, social events is missing. There is no way around it, or so I thought until I had a brainwave while taking in the majesty of a potato peeler.
I will take a trip into virtual reality instead. It combines adventure, an office upgrade, research and a holiday, exactly the unhealthy mix of work and play I thrive on.
The chosen headset—a refurbed Oculus Rift S—duly arrived. It was easy enough to set up, though with cold sweats as I checked if my machine is up to the job.
It is. And I have already been stunned by its fidelity and believability. I am as bewildered and awed as any of those Victorians who took fright at an early attempt at cinema. This alone is a good thing.
I have not ventured very far into it and, quite typically, my first instinct was to look into exciting things like virtual ways in which to access my work desktop and to access a word processor.
But I have flown over Manhattan on Google Earth and, due to a mistake, Sofia and had many more other-worldly experiences. It has opened a mental door even when a my real door has to remain closed. ■