Elder Scrolls-Style Fast Travel In Real Life: Sounds Good, But It May Ruin Your Life

Fast traveling through life could rob you of discovering the meaning of life.
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I just got home from a weekend getaway with my family, and I’m completely exhausted. It was only about 200 miles round trip, but the excursion featured a day out on a boat with some friends, pickle ball, chasing an 11-month-old and a four-year-old around non-stop, barely sleeping, and listening to a whole lot of Disney songs on the car ride home. Eventually everyone else fell asleep on the way home, which gave me time to turn down the theme music to Tangled and think about life.

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And I think I figured out what’s wrong with it.

Life is not a video game.

Maybe I’m the last one to realize that, but this hit me pretty hard, and I think it may have opened up a lot of doors for me. I mean think about it, all this time I’ve been blazing through life, building a family and a career, never stopping to take a break, and I wonder why I’m so tired all the time.

I mean, the Dovahkiin can simply fast travel from one side of Skyrim to the other. Why haven’t I invented that ability yet?

The true definition of “fast travel” for me at this point is making it to our destination without the baby screaming too much and stinking up the car. And even though zipping through those times in life might seem desirable in the moment, it’s actually good to know that I CAN’T fast travel, because if I did, I would surely miss out on some great family memories.

Like the time my four-year-old daughter was asking me about the Elder Scrolls (because she had seen me playing it earlier in the day), and told me she loved mudcrabs. We had a ten minute discussion on why mudcrabs were cool, and how she wondered if she could find one at the pet store. (The funny thing is, when we were at the beach later in the summer, a teeny tiny little crab approached her and I said, “Hey Reese look! It’s a mudcrab!” She didn’t stick around long enough to even give it a name.)

Another time fast travel would have ruined a great memory for me was when my wife and I were driving our two girls home from a friend’s house, who lived quite a ways out of town. I just wanted to fast travel and get home as quickly as possible, because we were all exhausted. Our baby was crying and we couldn’t find a way to calm her down. All of a sudden, our four-year-old shouted:

“Family sing along!”

She began to sing, “Down By the Bay,” and we all joined in, singing this song and enjoying a great family moment.

Unfortunately, the baby did not stop crying. (But the singing did drown her out a bit.)

This one may be the most obvious, but fast travel would utterly kill the ever-popular family road trip. We have taken a few in our years as a family, and if we’d skipped our last trip to Portland, we would have missed my daughter’s wide eyes upon seeing the huge Columbia River for the first time, or her gigantic smile when she saw Multnomah Falls.

But most of all we’d have missed out on the 20-30 times my daughter told my wife and I how much she loved us. And it’s times like those when you have no desire to fast travel to save time, but rather want to stop time altogether to savor the moment.

I know this article only briefly touched on the subject of video games, but as you’ll learn if you read more editorials by me, I love to try to relate video games to life, and vice versa. If you sit back and think about it, there are so many moments in games that are not only symbolic of real life, but opportunities for us to explore ourselves and learn more about who we are, why we’re here, and what we’re supposed to be doing.

And those are not things you can discover while fast traveling.

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Brian Armstrong
Proud gamer parent and freelance journalist (and fundraiser). I cover anything and everything that's interesting about the gaming industry, and even some stuff that isn't so interesting.