Related to the Charles Murray interview, but it's not that crucial why.
My wife and I were thinking of visiting Anchorage and Houston immediately after Easter, as our vaccinations would be under full effect, and we are anxious to meet the granddaughter born in January 2020 and the prospective daughter-in-law in Texas. Both sons discouraged this. They are coming up this summer anyway, and both said there really was not much to do where they are in April these days.
Yet I was worked up at the idea of travel and thought Well, why not go to Europe, then, late in the summer? It should still be inexpensive, and we can see those sights that the granddaughters, and even the sons might not be that fascinated by. The Orkneys, the Alps, the Netherlands, the Danube. (There is a longer list.) We hate long flights, but maybe even Australia and NZ. But I read that many European countries are very worried about variant Covid strains coming in, and even vaccinated people with a recent negative test will not be allowed in.
I predicted a few years ago that Virtual Reality that can be purchased at what we would think now is a high price could be popular, simply because it is much cheaper in comparison to actually going there. It is also more versatile. You could go to Paris 1927 or 1972; London 1910 or 1965. Perhaps a little more chillingly but more marketably, we could go to Vienna 1880 as we imagine it was, with accurate details even though it isn't quite honest. We have enough photos to mock up the buildings. We have enough info to know what the food and the music would be like. Delivered food to support particular VR's would spring up in larger cities and eventually be available everywhere.
I have been told repeatedly that this is not as brilliant an idea as I think. People will want to really go to Prague, even though it is inconvenient. But when a VR weekend in Prague is one-tenth the price of an actual week there, and no one is letting you into Prague for the next six months anyway, won't there be additional advantage to the fake? Not to mention that if you go on an arranged tour and go to tourist spots it's already rather fake anyway. If you think they can't program in serendipitous finds of charming little bistros or local artists, you haven't looked at online gaming in the last two decades. Piece o' cake.
Also, traveling with other people is annoying, even the ones we love, because they want to shop while you want to seek out scenery, and they have a tendency to feel sick or hold yesterday against you, or even not go to that restaurant that you think might be one of the key events of the entire trip. VR fixable. Is that bad for our overall character, our ability to endure inconvenience in the service of a broadening experience, our understanding of actual people from other cultures rather than curated examples that governments will eventually weasel their way in to influence*? Sure, but when has that ever stopped us before? We grew up on Westerns, for Pete's sake. We think Moses looked like Charlton Heston. We think "Saturday Night Live" is talking about current events and colleges teach history.
We will take only the occasional VR trip at first, then it will be 50% of our travel, and eventually we will make a once-in-a-lifetime Hajj to a real place. I'm telling you, it's coming.
*If the official French tourism board is going to "help out with" an expensive VR of Marseilles in the 1890's, won't they have design influence over what you see and what people you meet? And won't that be even more intense for Marseilles 2021?