Revolutionising Travel – The VR Travel Platform

Could VR Travel Revolutionise Planning?
Could VR Travel Revolutionise Planning?
Credit: Travel Pulse

When last did you book travel? Especially for pleasure. How did you find that experience.

Depending on the holiday, I find it both invigorating and frustrating.

Invigorating

Invigorating because I make a point to research activities, accommodation, and transport for everywhere we’re planning to go. I once created a ‘Guide Book’ that was 33% a ‘Lonely Planet’ type guide, 33% a Tripit style wallet of important information, confirmation numbers, phone numbers and addresses, emergency numbers and the like; and 33% empty space so everyone could journal their holiday.

Whenever someone asked a question on the 5 week South African Tour the family would shout out “It’s in the Guide Book!”

Frustrating

But creating the book was also frustrating. It seemed impossible simply trying to decide on Accommodation and whether to fly or drive to locations. Or even decide between locations.

How revolutionising would it be to literally travel to the location virtually? If you could don a VR headset and try something out  before even committing to comparing prices.

Revolutionising

If you own a holiday destination, this must surely be a nascent opportunity you can use to differentiate your business right now. If you’re a traveller, a back-packer, this must surely be an opportunity you can capitilise on right now (with the right camera.)

Don’t let the big corporates take this away from you. Figure out how to get VR experiences into the hands of holiday planners.

5 Reasons Not To Plan Your “Once In a Lifetime” Trip

Regularly when people learn I'm a traveller they'll tell me about the 'Once in a Life Time' trip they're planning. Many haven't progressed much beyond a:

“one day I'd like to travel through [locale]”

Whereas others wax lyrical in detail about their life dream.

Almost to a one my response is “Don't plan a 'once in a life time trip'

No I'm not against travel. Far from it. Just against planning a 'once in a life time' anything.

Just One

You have just one infinitessimal life, and live it on just one awesome planet suspended in infinity. 197 countries, thousands of peoples, foods, and experiences.

When you meet your maker, She is not going to ask you whether you stuck to the speed limit (you didn't), or avoided lying (again…).

He's going to exclaim: “I gave you so much! So much you didn't bother to enjoy! Why did you neglect nearly everything I gave you?”

Why Not?

Surely then if I should encourage your desire to travel why am I so against the 'once in a lifetime trip?.'

1. Planet Misalignment

I used to instruct scuba at Aliwal Shoal in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Now Aliwal is a great reef! When conditions are good, they're spectacular! My best dive ever (yet) was here. Unfortunately spectacular is less than 10% of the time. Mostly conditions are ok, and very occasionally they're abysmal.

As you'd expect there are regular local divers, annual visitors, and 'once in a lifetime' tourists that visit the shoal. When even the 'annual' divers' trips coincided with 'ok' conditions they were disappointed. And if there for just 3 short days, with the wind pumping and swell running, they were devastated. In short to experience the 60m viz, dolphins, turtles, rays, morays, shark, butterflies, angels, clams & corals in a single dive, you have to dive regularly, or be very, very lucky.

The chances of your trip coinciding with bad weather, poor health, or socio-economic challenges is, well pretty darn high. It's rare for the planets to align, and you simply cannot pick it.

You become the person who's invested their life savings to catch a total eclipse at the Pyramids, on a cloudy day.

2. Changing Maturity

You aren't the person you used to be. At any age in your life, 10 years perviously you were a totally different person. Your tastes, relationships, income, health, strength, intelligence all change. What you dream for the 'bucket list' today is simply different to what you'll enjoy in a decade.

That's if you can even prosecute your plans. Chances are you're not going to make it to Everest Base Camp in your 60's or 70's.

3. Done Myth

You hear it all the time. “I've done the Caribbean,” as if the cruise ship docking in Antigua for a day is 'doing' a country. Let me say it here and now, you cannot 'do' a country, or a city.

For one thing, space is immutably tied to time. You may have been there, visited, lived for a while even. But even your boring suburban street will be different this winter, let alone next year. Seasons change; buildings are built, repurposed and destroyed; businesses come and go; entire people groups change.

To really experience a place, you need to live it. Through time. Not once as a spectator.

4. Pretty Common

What's sold as 'once in a lifetime' is usually nothing of the sort really. A bus tour through Europe is a commodity. Trip to Disneyland? Locals get an annual pass. There are very few experiences that you can't repeat.

In my experience, those that are, are mostly tied to relationships, such as taking off from a strawberry field in a Cessna 140 with my late father; or experiences you can't buy, like presenting on the stage of the Ministry of Science at in Warsaw at a worldwide competition. You can almost never plan them.

5. Practical Priorities

Mostly I'm against planning the 'once in a lifetime' trip because it's cowardice. It let's you off the hook from the tough choices.

The deferred action allows you to prioritise everything else first, because your travel will be 'once in a lifetime.' Your job, house move, children's education, next car, promotion, everything becomes another “priority” that stops you from getting out of your 'safe' harbour.

We Have Just The One

Soon the nations of Kiribati and the Maldives will sink into the sea. China will look more like the US than the US. The rain forests of the Amazon, and glaciers of the Antarctic will have lost their majestic vastness.

One day you'll wake up too old, too infirm, or simply too disinterested to actually live that dream. Even if you did save the money to fund the trip.

Your children won't have experienced the wonder of our planet except through a screen.

You'll miss all of those opportunities to eat exotic foods, love new friends, and expand your spirit.

Which will be a shame.

 

Lifehacking – Pre-empting Life’s ‘Compelling Events’ to Live Without Regrets

Have you ever heard this narrative?

  • Person lives 'normal' life
  • Is struck by tragedy (divorce, redundancy, terminal illness, etc.)
  • Suddenly decides 'what's really important'
  • Changes their life disruptively to maximise the rest of their days
  • Tells you (and everyone) that this is the best thing that ever happened to them

Yeah, me too.

If you read Eric Ries' “The Lean Startup” (by the way you should) he talks about 'Pivot or Persist' meetings. In short, rather than waiting for a compelling event, like running out of runway, or a sudden revenue spike, you hold regular 'Pivot or Persist' meetings. So rather than making decisions when you're under pressure, with volatile emotions, you pre-empt a given event and make (somewhat more) rational decisions. You choose the path of the organisation rather than having it chosen for you.

My philosophy is to do this with (my) life.

Why wait until you're made redundant before starting a new venture? Why wait for terminal illness before spending time with friends and family, travelling and knocking off the 'bucket list?'

In fact, all of the disruptive compelling events, the bad ones actually constrain your ability to fully live life. Despite Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, jaunting around the world in “The Bucket List” it's pretty unlikely you're going to be up to getting on a longhaul flight when on chemo. Even if you were allowed, you'll probably not have the energy or motivation.

At the end of the day you haven't been given tomorrow, and your 'wealth' is a mental construct. In the scheme of the universe your 70 years and material wealth are infinitessimal.

At the end of your life you regret the things you didn't do, the chances you didn't take, the people you didn't love, the places you didn't see. Not the things you did.

You have so much to give, so much to experience, so much to see, and do, so many to help, and such a short time to Love and be Loved.

So don't wait for the universe to throw something in your path, rather sit down on a regular basis, figure out what you want to do, and…

…just do it.

My First Ice Hockey Game

I managed to get to my first ever Ice Hockey Game this evening. The San Jose Sharks were playing a home game against fierce rivals, the LA Kings. As I’m here for the week in Palo Alto, literally down the road, it seemed churlish not to grab the opportunity with both hands find cheap tickets and head on down.

So with a couple of tickets in the “nosebleed” section right at the top of San Jose’s SAP Centre, we caught the train and joined another 17,000 people to watch the match. And what an experience.

The Experience

The Americans certainly put on a show. From High School football to National Leagues, everything is branded, commercialised, loud, and energetic. It’s a great experience. Kids are wished happy birthday on the big screen, veterans paraded on the ice cleaning machines, you can tweet your favourite song for the soundtrack, and everyone is wearing a jersey. Everyone bar the two n00b Aussies that is.

Probably because of how expensive the merchandise is.

As expected the food too is expensive and crap. I don’t mean crap in taste. I’m addicated to high carb, fat, salt, and processed food as the next person. But almost U$7 for a dry bun, with a processed vienna in it, is well, asking a bit much. I almost missed those meat pies you get at the rugby.

The Game

The sport itself is amazing to watch. So fast, with an incredible subtlety in teamwork. In fact I’d suggest, like the AFL, it’s almost impossible to watch on TV. There are so many plays, and momentum created where the puck isn’t and suddenly the game changes.

Also the players. I couldn’t keep up with the 12 players on the ice at any time. They seamlessly rotate off every 1 – 2 mins. And there was no way for me to figure out whom was offensive, and whom defensive.

Talk about a visceral experience. The next time I watch this I’ll be lower down, closer to the action. The speed, the momentum, the force, the contact, and the occasional fights, all lent to a deep primal response. It’s easy to see why the fans are so dedicated. We were cheering with the rest of the crowd, groaning at misses, and gutted when our team, the Sharks lost in a Sudden Death Extra Time.

We had been winning, possession, plays, shots, pretty much everthing, until the Kings scored an equaliser with 12.3 seconds to go in the last period. Then a goal in the 3 on 3, 5 min extra time, with less than a minute to go.

What a night.