Sophia Spudson, junior sports management major, had what some might call a unique Spring Break experience. Rather than hitting the beach and getting irresponsibly intoxicated in real time with many of her peers, Spudson had a virtual reality check. She spent her week of fun in the sun indoors pretending she was in Puerto Rico, Cancun and South Beach.
“I wanted a story to tell, and I’m glad I got to have an experience that no one shares with me,” she said.
Armed with her Samsung Gear VR headset and smartphone, Spudson sat on her couch travelling the world without actually ever moving or interacting with other people.
“There’s just so many people, ya know? And honestly l live like thirty minutes from South Beach. I didn’t think it was really worth driving through all the traffic,” said Spudson.
She added that the VR experience was so immersive that she felt like she truly travelled to those locations. While her favorite spot was Cancun, Spudson also loved the shimmering blue waters of Puerto Rico, which she imagined would be very refreshing. She also appreciated the amount of money she saved on sunscreen and the fact that she wasn’t physically tired from any travel. She said her only struggle was interpreting so much visual information.
“It’s kind of like watching a really engrossing film, except worse for your eyes,” said Spudson, who had to take a break from some of the imaginary excitement because she felt so dizzy.
Thomas Headson, social psychologist, said that it’s likely more students will begin to follow the trend of virtual staycations. He said that the only real concern is for pesky socialites who might want to spend time with other living human beings.
“The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to go out and experience the world anymore,” he said. “As long as you can deal with the social isolation, you can do anything you want at home.”
Spudson said she plans to organize her summer vacation in a similar manner to her Spring Break, feeling sorry for others who don’t plan to follow suit.
“It was totally the best Spring Break I’ve ever had. Plus it’s so much cheaper, once you invest in the initial equipment,” she said. “Why drop $500 on memories you can bootleg in front of your face for almost nothing?”