Life can be hard sometimes. You don’t need me to tell you that. It’s been blindingly obvious over the last year or so. Sometimes you just want to escape life and be someone else for a while. But how? Well, one option is Second Life.

If you not familiar with Second Life, it is an online virtual world where every user has their own 3D avatar. You can then interact with other users from all over the world and the virtual environment. You can chat with people, play, fight, dance, even have virtual sex. As the world is built mainly by its users, the limits are pretty much only the imagination. SL is not a game. There is no narrative, no overarching story, and no goal to complete. It is what you make of it.

This year second life will be 18 years old and is still going strong. So in this post, I just want to give you a taster of what you can do with it, and hopefully, you might be tempted to try it out for yourself.

What can you do in SL?

You can do lots of things in Second Life, but I have boiled it down to just 10 for you to give you an idea of the possibilities.

1. Dance and listen to music or be a DJ in virtual nightclubs

A CGI of a nightclub dance floor with lots of people standing on it

I used to DJ in second life nightclubs, which was fun. You can make some money from it by people giving you tips. They don’t convert to much money in real life, but you can still spend it on virtual items. Some of which are excellent quality. I want to start DJing again, but I need to get the necessary software sorted first. You can even listen to live music from real-life musicians who stream their performances into SL

2. Role-Play

CGI of a castle courtyard surrounded by stone walls, With a Fountain in the middle, above which is a statue of a lady holding a sword aloft in one hand

For me, meeting people and role-playing are some of the most enjoyable and rewarding parts of Second Life. You can be part of a community where you get to know people over time and become friends with them. Even if you never meet them in real life and don’t even know what they really look like, you still feel connected with them. The great thing about second life is you can be whoever you want to be. It really doesn’t matter what you look like in real life, how old you are, what gender you are, or your sexual orientation. If you want to pretend to live in the old wild West or a cyborg in a cyberpunk dystopia, then you can. You can bet that there will be a community out there to help you live out your fantasy.

3. Go on Quests

CGI of a man standing in a desert landscape facing away from the camera looking towards towering sand sculpted rock formations

You can also do some quests where you have to follow clues and do tasks or collect items. For example, there is one place called Paleo Quest, set on an island filled with dinosaurs, and you have to collect items and win prizes. You can also do scavenger hunts or walk-through mazes.

4. Explore Beautiful Worlds

A man sat on a bench looking out across the sea towards the lighthouse in the background

There are many places to visit in SL, with each location having a particular theme and age rating. Some areas may be virtual representations of the real world like London or Paris. You can wander through surprisingly realistic city streets and visit bars to listen to music or chat with people. Some places can be just really relaxing to walk around, take in the sights and sounds and just chill out for a while. If you can’t do things in real life, then SL is not a bad alternative. It’s obviously not the same, and I would much rather be going out somewhere in the real world and doing real things. But the virtual worlds of SL are enjoyable in their own right. They’re not a substitute for reality, but they are still good for escapism.

5. Become a Virtual Photographer

CGI disused telephone box which has become overgrown with plants and the door was open

Something I’ve been getting into recently on SL is virtual photography. Some places in the virtual world are lovely and worthy of being captured on film. I’ve seen some impressive photos taken by SL photographers who are much better at it than I am. Their work is definitely worth a look. Check out these photos on Flickr taken by someone that I know on SL.

6. Play Games

CGI room full of gaming tables

there are many games you can play on SL, such as board games, arcade games, casino games, and even old videogames. Some games have even been developed specifically for SL, and there are tables in different places where you can play them.

7. Go Shopping

CGI storefront with the words freebie Megastore above the door

visit some of the many shopping centres in SL or browse the marketplace online for cool new outfits for your avatar. Or buy items for your virtual home (yes, you can also get your very own virtual house to decorate how you see fit). There is seemingly no end to the number and variety of items available in SL, so you are sure to find something weird and wonderful. About 10 years ago, avatars used to look kind of cartoonish and crude. You can now get much more realistic and detailed ones with smooth movements and dress them up in stylish clothes. I think it’s a great way to try out a new look before committing to buying stuff in real life.

8. Create a Business

CGI inside a store with some clothes on the walls and a classy sign above the desk saying altair

You could choose to pursue many different business opportunities in second life, such as being an architect, real estate speculator, tour guide, or a party and wedding planner. You can even decide to create your own items and sell them in a shop to other users, bringing in some extra Linden dollars (the SL currency). Some people have even become millionaires through having a second life business.

9. Get a job

A dark CGI statue standing in a glade hoarding to lanterns with trees in the background

rather than owning a business, you could just try to earn money by having a job. Some jobs in SL include being a dancer at a club, DJ, escort, event host, fashion designer, or a scripter.

10. Sexy times!

The inside of a CGI strip club with 2 ladies in Lingerie dancing on tables
A Second Life strip club

it would be remiss of me not to mention some of the less safe for work past times you can try in second life. No matter what your kink, you can probably find a place that caters to it, from regular vanilla sex to BDSM and much darker fantasies. There are tons of kinky clubs to visit and themed adult locations where sex and nudity is permitted.

Conclusion

CGI man sat cross-legged on a bench holding a cup with a fallen down lighthouse in the background lying on its side

That is just a taste of some of the things you can do in Second Life, and hopefully, it has tempted you to try it out for yourself. It can be a fun way to pass the time and a great way to meet new people from around the world. It’s free to create an account on SL and get a basic avatar, but some items such as clothes or accessories you need To pay for. Although there is lots of free stuff you can get too.

If you are a second life user, let me know if you have any other recommendations of things to do in SL.

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