Reimagining Travel


I recently read We need a new philosophy of Progress by Jason Crawford and stirred up some thoughts for me regarding his statement:

“We need a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century. One that teaches people not to take the modern world for granted. One that acknowledges the problems of progress, confronts them directly, and offers solutions. And one that holds up a positive vision of the future.”

Extensive travel seems to be harmful for the planet. Now we have such accelerated technology, perhaps the next big growth should be in making our digital world more experiential. Rather than siting in front of a monitor and having an audiovisual experience, we could sit in our own rooms and relocate ourselves in a more sensual manner.

Imagine relaxing and feeling the sea breeze and smelling the salty air. Or hearing the birds while smelling the freshly cut grass we are sitting on. If technologists could literally capture the essence of being somewhere else, imagine the reality of what a staycation could be. Also, the elderly and chronically ill who may not physically be able to travel would bring the world to them.

Years ago, I remember the topic of smelivision. I may be imagining it, but was there actually a program where you scratched off a card and smelt at the time they told you to… I was a child, I may remember this incorrectly.

Furthermore, I know there are “rides” at theme parks that have a cinema screen and the seats move, and they throw out water and blow winds.

Given all that technology has delivered, is it really so far off to imaging a world where home technology can deliver a realistic travel experience where the devices deliver the smells alongside the audio and video. We already have fans easily available, so I’m sure very little development would be needed to synchronize these with other devises.

Perhaps this is fanciful, but having gone through the worst of the pandemic, where the wider public had the chance to experience what being housebound was like. A state that is common for many people with chronic illnesses. Perhaps while considering the needs of the planet, they may remember those of us that struggle to go anywhere and reimagine ways to travel that actually save on the need for fuel and allow travel for all. Except of course, as with all things, there would be a financial barrier no doubt that would again prohibit the sick and elderly. The ones ironically who would benefit the most.      

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