Exactly 5 years ago, on the 20th of February 2009, I logged into Second Life , my avatar was ‘rezzed’ for the first time.
Well to be honest, it was my second time.
I had first joined SL in 2007, but after looking around for a bit, being freaked out by how weird the avatars looked and were behaving and what they were doing and after thinking that there was nothing in SL for me, I left, not planning to ever return.
But in 2007 I bought a new computer and wanted to test it to the limit.
I remembered SL being VERY demanding and having forgotten my first avatars name and password, I created a new one, Jo Yardley was born.
And this time, only seconds before I decided to leave SL again, I decided to try the search option one more time.
As some of you may know already, I am obsessed with history.
I have a 1930s lifestyle in RL, yes everything is old in my home and besides this computer I have nothing modern, not even a tv, mobile phone or washing machine.
I listen to old music, watch old movies, etc.
So I searched for a 1930s themed place and was lucky enough to find Flashmans, a truly wonderful looking French sort of impressionist early 20th century cafe.
There was old music on the stream and there were avatars in vintage clothing there.
And to my enormous joy, they loved chatting about history with me.
There and then I decided not to uninstall SL and perhaps return another day.
I did and at Flashmans’s bad the idea for 1920s Berlin was born.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
After 5 years I now write a blog, record a podcast, have build a huge 1920s city, manage a very successful and busy roleplaying sim and have done something so many people claimed was impossible; my sims not only pay for themselves, they even allow me to turn some of those Lindens into RL money.
No where near enough to be an excuse for all the work I put in and all the hours I spend on this virtual world, but it has shown me that perhaps one day I can turn this virtual time traveling business into something that will pay for my stroopwafel addiction.
In short, it has been a great 5 years.
I still love SL, but also still see that it is only a tiny percentage of what it could be, it has not yet fulfilled its full potential, not by a long shot.
Maybe I am naive or a bit blind when it comes to virtual reality, but I still see SL becoming the next ‘OASIS’, especially now that VR technology is moving so fast.
But well, you know that, I bore people with my excited rants about VR enough.
Above all, SL has put me in contact with some amazing people and put me right in the heart of a wonderful community.
1920s Berlin has become more successful than I could ever thought it would be but it has also come alive in a way I couldn’t even imagine.
I just stuck some prims together but real life people from all over the globe have populated it and turned it into a real city.
The sim will be celebrating its 5th anniversary in about 3 months (yes I was a noob when I started it) and has had a lot of visitors over the years.
But it is still evolving and I hope to get started on my next project, 1940s London, this year, but don’t hold me to that.
Berlin comes first.
SL has turned out to be a great bit of entertainment for me.
In RL I run my own company and sometimes have to deal with the media and keep friends, family and fans happy.
It is great to relax after a long day of work by logging into the past and immersing myself into that wonderful historical place that vanished decades ago.
Escapism, sure, but a lot more social, interactive and educational than watching tv or staring at Facebook all evening.
So, onwards with my virtual life.
Thanks to all of you who have been part of it and thank you time travel companions for making it awesome.
I hope you stick with me on this adventure that has only just begun.
As the song goes; “You ain’t seen nothing yet”!