During the holidays I was fortunate enough to visit the beautifully verdant island of Mauritius.  Located off the eastern coast of Madagascar, this impressive island is two-thirds the size of my home county, Wiltshire.

With its breath-taking imposing volcanic towers, deep luscious ravines, and unspoilt coastlines of white sands and turquoise waters, it is the embodiment of paradise!  Walking to the viewpoint to watch the Chamarel waterfall was the highlight for me.

Next my travels took me to Pompeii, to what is possibly one of the most notable of archaeological sites in the world. Once a thriving and sophisticated Roman city; now a ghost town encased in time.  Gliding through the streets like a shadow I received a personal guided tour of the main bath house, the bakery and a wealthy Roman’s house.

Confused?  What if I told you I visited both places within the space of a day, in my father’s study, wearing my heated slippers to stand on a tropical beach.   

In fact, the reality is that due to my complex health needs, physically venturing to all of these wonderful destinations is very medically challenging. That is where the wonders of technology have come to my aid in the form of a Virtual Reality (VR) headset.

If I should so choose, I could be meandering down the cobbled streets of Venice one minute and cascading down a white water river in Alaska the next.  With the ability to share what I see with a screen my family and I can experience places together.

Of course I’m not suggesting the headset is as good as visiting somewhere in person. This Easter I really went to the Lake District, where amongst other places I visited Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s house.  It was wonderful.  During lockdown I did a really interesting course on Wordsworth based at Dove Cottage over four weeks, so I wondered if it would be a let down going there in person.  It was not.  Sitting in his upstairs study and looking through a reference book from his bookshelf which my sister was allowed to hold, there was an atmosphere of simple creativity.  By the end of the day two members of our party had created writing of their own. 

VR is good, but if you can do go to different places yourself.  Send me an email of where you’ve been and I’ll go too in my VR headset.

Visiting Mauritius with VR in my father’s study and sitting in Wordsworth’s study at Dove Cottage