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Second Life Spotlight - Dirk Vanlager


Linden Lab

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This week we are shining a spotlight on Dirk Vanlager, an extensive traveler of both the physical and virtual worlds. He's reviewed over 50 hotels in Second Life and is known as the SL Hotel Inspector!

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How long have you been in Second Life and how did you first hear about it?

I originally came to Second Life around 14 years ago for my RL job. At the time, I worked in an advertising agency, and we were handling an inworld project for a client. When my RL work in SL finished, I stayed. 

I heard about Second Life via the media.

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When and how did you get started writing about hotels and resorts in Second Life?

Travel has been a big part of my life. It's something I love doing personally, and over the past few years I’ve also worked in the travel industry.

The pandemic, of course, put a stop to that. 

Then, in September 2020, a friend took me to a Balinese themed resort (which has now closed) called Timor Isles. I was amazed to find out that there are vacation resorts and hotels in Second Life that mimic the RL experience. That’s what led me to create my website, which focused on visiting and reviewing as many Second Life hotels as I could. It began as a bit of personal pandemic therapy, but the reaction to it far exceeded my expectations so I carried on. Fifteen months later, and I’ve now stayed in over 50 SL hotels.

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Do you have a submission process for Residents who want to have their hotel or resort promoted on your blog?

I would love to hear from hotel or resort owners. The simplest way to reach me is just to send me a notecard inworld (IW name - Dirk Vanlager).

I do have some criteria, of course. It needs to be a hotel, motel, resort, campsite or bed and breakfast that roughly resembles an RL equivalent.

Ideally it should allow you to book rooms by the night. Occasionally I’ll consider places that have weekly rentals (as many resorts in RL do offer weekly packages). However, I generally don’t cover long term rental places.

Finally, I don’t accept free stays when I do a review. I insist on paying my way. That’s a policy I introduced all the way at the beginning and I have stuck to it. That way the reader knows that what I am saying is what I actually think.

 

Tell us about some of the other Residents in SL that inspire you and whose work you admire.

I’ve had the chance to meet and experience the work of some truly creative designers and {region} builders. Three, I think, deserve a special mention.

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Jasmine Kiyori is behind one of my favourite {regions}, Kiyori City, which is loosely based on Tokyo and Seoul. In addition to Kiyori City and the neighbouring Kiyroi {region}, Jasmine runs a Greek island vacation experience called ‘Little Santorini’ and the seasonal ‘Cheri Noel’ Christmas {region}. Jasmine is incredibly talented, and runs all of these destinations on her own - I truly don’t know how she does it.

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Victoire Goudenoff-Sire Clitton designed Le Chateau Motel and Resort, a French themed 1980s Motel which is a riot of colour and fun. Vic is like some non-stop fountain of creativity. Over the past few months, everything from a French Guianese village to a jungle airport has been added to Le Chateau. The other day she even sent me the first output of her newly created “Le Chateau Records.”

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AshaRhia is both a {region} designer who always seems to have projects on the go, as well as the owner of an SL travel agency. As part of her travel agency, Asha creates pop up destinations, which exist for several weeks before she tears them down and starts all over again. For example, in November she built a five {region} Africa experience covering Egypt, Angola, Congo and Kenya. And now in December she’s removed it and is opening ‘Finland,’ spanning four {regions}. What Asha is doing is pretty unique. She loves travel, and loves to show people a constantly rotating list of destinations recreated here in Second Life.

Where can people follow your work? Please share links to your sites and social media accounts.

My website - https://virtualhotels.online 
Flickr - https://www.flickr.com/photos/kirkusmaximus


We hope you enjoyed learning more about Dirk’s traveling adventures across the grid, as well as the virtual hotel industry of the metaverse. Each of these weekly Spotlight posts will feature 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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