At the end of winter this year I was reminded that you need to escape reality now and then. I went on a mini vacation to Fort Lauderdale Florida with my mother and brother. This was one of the first traveling vacations I’d taken in nearly ten years. All of my previous post high school vacations were time spent at home. I’d been to Florida a handful of times before. Disneyland as a kid, twice just to relax on the gulf coast, and a Disney cruise as well. I knew what to expect going on a quick trip there. Although I’m perfectly fine staying home my entire vacation, leaving for somewhere I’d never
been was a good idea.
Breaking away from reality is fun. It’s something I’d forgotten about during the transition through college to become an adult. Work and bills seem to always place themselves ahead of anything else, especially for those in my generation. What snapped me out of my non-vacation funk? My mom decided we should take a trip together, just the three of us. A short, cheap trip right at the end of a Wisconsin winter.
While we were flying to Florida, I found another escape. My brother Mason and his fiance Jenna had bought me Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Ready Player One is a science fiction and dystopian novel about the future, virtual reality, gaming, and computer science. I’m not much of a reader, unless you count blogs and other non-fiction books. I didn’t want to purchase internet on the plane for $14, and the sun glaring on my screen made me put my laptop away. I decided to give Ready Player One a shot, and by the end of the flight I was hooked. Fifty pages in and I didn’t want to stop, but I had another escape to escape to.
We landed and the Florida weather was beautiful. Any thoughts about grabbing my laptop quickly dissipated. We found a place nearby with good food and craft beer. After eating we went for a nice walk to see what else was around. After a long day of travel we turned in for some sleep. The next day we ventured through the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park next door. We saw several Gopher Tortoises, went for a canoe ride and spotted an iguana six feet away, and checked out some Mangrove trees. It was fun but after a few hours I wanted a break. My mind wandered off to Ready Player One. Why not enjoy my mental escape with my physical escape? I decided to make it so and bring my book poolside.
While thoroughly enjoying myself reading, the book created some of the same feelings I’d had about escaping. The main character spent most of his time escaping real life through virtual reality. Often times he would escape things in the VR world as well. We were both doing nested escaping, how fitting.
Escaping all the time can be bad. It might be a sign that you’re avoiding something in real life. Escaping mentally a couple times a month can make your life much more enjoyable. Escaping physically once a year would be nice, but finances might not allow that one as often. If you get really lucky, you can do the escape within the escape.