I woke up feeling disoriented, my head spinning as I tried to make sense of my surroundings. I looked around, and to my surprise, I found myself in a completely virtual destination. My heart raced as I took in my settings, wondering how I ended up here. As soon as the chip was inserted, I felt a strange sensation at the back of my ear. The technician that morning assured me that it was perfectly ok and that it would take a few hours for the device to fully integrate with my body. And so it did. “Wow, I’ll be able to upload my mind to cyberspace using this Nano device” I said.
Holographic eye contact lenses were inserted into my eyes, my vision was taken over by a series of flashing lights and vibrant colors. As soon as I opened my eyes 24 hours later, I was surrounded by a landscape completely covered in desert snow. Suddenly, I found myself in a setup unlike anything I had seen before. It was June 21, 2025, and it was a sunny freezing summer day. I could feel the cold air tingling my nose. I looked down and realized that I had distorted my body. I was now wearing thick boots, Bedouin clothes, and heavy gloves. It was as if I had been transported into a whole new world “A Brave New World” where everything was brighter, much bigger, and more beautiful than “Ever-never”.
My flying armchair had originally boarded from a collapsing city that twinkled in the night like that of an Elie Saab gown. Neon signs reflected off of the polished skyscrapers, signaling me to come in closer. People hustled about, lost in their own translation of senses, but I felt a logic of awe and curiosity. As I walked down the street, I could hear music flowing from the windows of the various clubs and dark alleys that filled the neighborhood. The techno beats hit me like a wave, and I fell into the rhythm, my body moving with the pulse of each and every base note.
It was then that I noticed that I was in fact in a hotel lobby filled with colorful 3D textile drapes and exotic fruits at reception that seemed sweet-toxic. I couldn’t resist visiting the hotel’s rooftop garden (especially that the elevator to the rooftop was a series of floating cotton candy clouds, like TokToks maneuvering in the air. I found myself in a lush forest filled with illustrated Japanese bamboo trees. “You have now reached the Owakudani rooftop please mind your steps”, said cotton candy TokTok.
The leaves whispered secrets as I made my way through the brushwood. And there…at the heart of the forest lay a crystal clear limestone river that sparkled at sunset; perfect timing for my first rosé.
It was sitting on the shore of what seemed to be a Mesopotamian in retro, that I finally understood what this whole Willy Wonker world was all about. It wasn’t just a virtual vacation; it was a journey of many me. The places I had explored and at times revisited, the people I had met, and the things I had tasted had all been tailored to me based on the data collected by the chip in my ear.
The chip connected to an app combined the power of AI and generative fashion to create stunningly unique travel experiences for its users. Dubbed the “NFT Tracker” and “TikTok Trend Tracker,” the app was said to be the ultimate tool for adventure-seekers. As soon as the app synced with my chip, I remember I felt a rush of energy coursing through my body. Looking down at my attire, I was amazed to see that the NFT Tracker and TikTok Trend Tracker app had generated a stunning, one-of-a-kind outfit that was perfectly suited for all locations.
Yes it was “The Ultimate Bespoke Vacation”, something that allowed me to dig deep into my psyche and explore who I really was, or who I could have been tailored to think I was. Another Instagram filter! Another virtual experience that allows me to be in a state of vagueness so real yet so untouchable. As I took off my eye contact lenses and returned to reality, I knew that the journey had forever changed me in ways I could never fully comprehend, because today my notion of reality seems to have adopted new dimensions.
We will be seeing more baffling virtual worlds in the years to come – but to me, the real world will always have the upper hand for as long as I am human. Virtual reality extends only as far as it’s engineered. If the technology becomes sophisticated enough, the environmentally conscious among us might prefer this form of escape.
VR travel does bring parts of the world to people who are physically unable to visit certain landmarks. Most of all, it could help bring people to places that are otherwise unapproachable. But when in a world where a Palestinian’s return to his/her own homeland is forbidden and taken by brutal force, I have a bigger obligation to make it come true; I shall never allow my land to become a virtual delusion. While some wish to escape, I wish to return.