Today we are shining a spotlight on Soull Starlight, an inclusive Experience Creator in Second Life who has a passion for traveling and creating interactive destinations across mainland.
Photography by Caroline Danger
How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?
I've been in Second Life since 2007 and first learned about it from a professor in college, who introduced SL as a community history project. I spent my first few months in SL engaged in research, learning about various communities present at that time, and have been around off and on ever since!
You are an Experience Creator in Second Life. Can you tell us more about what that is and how you got into that?
When I began curating land in 2019, I was impassioned to first create spaces that were uniquely me and exuded the warmth and coziness that I like my homes to have, as a respite from my travels across the continents. My first home was in Heterocera - after traveling along the mountain road leading to the Great Wall, I discovered a parcel that faced a resident-created Stonehenge and had a beautiful vantage point, purchased it, and settled in. As I continued my travels, I started to find even more parcels with beautiful views, accessible travel points (like roads, waterways, and mountain paths), and interesting Linden landmarks around and created more homes that I soon realized I couldn't inhabit myself as frequently as I'd like. AscendBnB, my travel-based rental company, was born from this. I had too many homes at that point to live in and wanted to share my travel-friendly, fully furnished homes with others.
After creating a bunch of homes all around mainland that I felt good about, I started to hone in my ability to create public spaces that evoke a feeling, sentiment, or pure joy. I realized that my passion was in creating and finding spaces that shared an experience of some kind - in my travels, these were the spaces that really stuck with me and kept me coming back, and I wanted to extend that love at interesting places around mainland to further encourage travel. I've created the term 'Experience Creator' as my role because it encapsulates the energy that is felt when you visit one of my spaces. I create and curate to evoke a memory, or thought, or to encourage joy, fun, and freedom.
You seem to have an affinity towards mainland as most of your destinations are there. Why is that?
I'm an avid SL traveler and spend a lot of my time finding and enjoying engaging spaces in my travels that share a sentiment, a memory, an interest, or just a sense of joy. I deeply appreciate the creativity I find as I traverse the continents, and mainland to me is the best place to discover and explore for as long as I'd like, via publicly accessible spaces. Much like real life, taking a ride, sail, or flight along mainland routes is an adventure, and one that I feel expresses the deepest intent of SL- to allow humans from all parts of the world to live, work, and play in a space they've co-created. The ability to hop in a vehicle and explore the wonderfully varied experiences that you could have on mainland is what keeps me both exploring and creating on the continents, and it's my hope that more people discover and contribute to mainland in a way that keeps exploration and creativity accessible and alive.
Can you tell us about some of your current destinations/experiences and what Residents can expect when visiting them?
I've now curated a number of experiences that are open to enjoy and find on mainland right now and am excited to share more about them!
In Corsica I've created Wonderpark Theme Park with Autumn Yap (and Janessa Westwood Neil with Lifestyle Inc destinations who created a Wonderpark Resort in 2020), featuring over 20 interactive rides and experiences, a water park, a food court, and more.
Eatonville Living History Museum, an interactive exhibit featuring culturally-affirming literature that shares the Black experience during the US Reconstruction era, is also located in Corsica, along with a relaxing spa, brewery, fine dining restaurant, and community garden in Corsica South Coast.
In Heterocera, you can find Ascension Park, off High Mountain Road with picturesque views from the mountain and a public train that takes you sightseeing across regions, and an adjoining glamping resort with finely appointed tents, hot springs, and an outdoor bar.
In Bay City, my Bay City Activity Center allows residents to work out, learn new skills like cooking or painting, take a yoga class, and more! I encourage folks to travel the mainland, check the destination guide to find more of my spaces, or visit https://ascendbnb.live/fun-experiences.
Are there any upcoming projects, destinations, or events you are working on that you can tell us about? What can we expect from you in the future?
My latest experience is the Dulla Centre Community, located off the Circuit la Corse in Corsica, a live-work-play space where visitors and residents can find creative, restorative, social, and professional spaces to meet, interact, collaborate, and play. The community features a rooftop mini golf area, coworking space, a flower market, breweries, a yoga studio, an eco-conscious coffee shop, and more! it is a project I'm working on with other community builders, artists, and creative contributors.
I'm also working with Yukiko Yeshto to plan and build this year's NatureCon 2023, a large-scale nature conference featuring nature creators, organizations, and groups to collectively encourage more exploration and discovery on mainland and in Bellisseria, and am working with Ayame (stable.mum), creator of the Moorcroft Community in Sansara and the Show Society to create a mountain retreat in Heterocera. I'm always open to collaborating with other creatives to add experiences to mainland to inspire, engage, and delight residents!
Tell us about some of the other Residents in SL that inspire you and whose work you admire.
I am deeply inspired by so many creative residents in SL, and the unique experiences, products, and ideas that they bring to the grid.
Ayame, Marianne McCann, and Georgina Rowley of the Moorcroft, Bay City, and Seogyeoshire communities have contributed amazingly beautiful builds and experiences for residents of Sansara and Jeogeot, and are always open to sharing what they've learned with others.
Latte Bixley of Junk Food brings SO many fun, engaging items that evoke a sense of nostalgia and joy, and inspires me to add that element of interactivity and fun to my builds.
Emmalee Evergarden, creator of The Nature Collective and co-creator of the Mainland Community Alliance creates the most inspired landscapes.
The content created by Aurora Mercury, TheAriellXO, Ashiko Mi, Jaira Che, and Vrutega is always entertaining and shows how varied SL experiences can be and what sort of things you can find to engage in, visit, chat about, and/or share.
There are so many more residents, mentors, and friends who have helped in or inspired my builds and the things I share. I wish I could name them all but I share a deep appreciation for all who add to my SL experience.
Watch this video submitted by Soull for her Spotlight feature
Video Production by Lozza Weymann
Where can people see your work? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.
To learn more about me, my travels, and the things I contribute to the grid, you can follow me:
on my website: https://soulstarlight.life
on my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/soullstarlight.sl
on the AscendBnB site: https://ascendbnb.live
Thank you, Soul, for adding your creativity to mainland.
Each of our Spotlight posts features a different Resident to showcase the spectrum of experiences and personalities found in our virtual world. If you have created something inworld that you’re proud of, or have had a deeply meaningful experience that could brighten someone else’s day, please sign up! More info here: https://second.life/spotlight-signup
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