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Virtual Travel is so easy, why haven't we made it a bigger part of our lives?
Select the box to the right for some thoughts on this issue:
I can already travel virtually by simply doing a search on either YouTube, Google, Edge, or any other search engine. So, why can't I just do this?
You certainly can.
However, if you think about people who are unable to physically travel (those in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, in hospice, 55+ communities, etc.), they typically would look at you cross-eyed if you suggested they go check out Paris on YouTube. I live with some of these lovely people and regularly receive this reaction.
More importantly, this website is curated. This means that there will always be only the most interesting videos, podcasts, and articles listed. (As voted by the masses.) There are plans to regularly add top-notch material and weed the lower-rated material. This feature is critical to having an outstanding experience. Most people tell me that trying to find something interesting on YouTube, even for the most advanced user, is an incredibly difficult task.
As well, there are plans to continually add features to give a visitor an outstanding experience, one which will make them want to return regularly. (See, 'Our Goals,' under the top menu bar item, 'More,' to see a list of these planned features.)
What all is required for virtual travel?
Starting from the viewer's point of view:
1) a viewing device (TV, PC, tablet, smartphone, etc.),
2) an intelligent component to feed the video from the Internet to the viewing device (likely already a part of the viewing device; if not, one will need to be added),
3) an Internet connection, and
4) content that is available on the Internet.
The great part about this idea of traveling virtually is that it is likely everyone already has what is necessary to do so. As well, there is a great deal of content that is already available to everyone. Even if someone doesn't have what is necessary, it should be fairly easy to either acquire what is necessary, or to get access to what is necessary.
Does this mean virtual travel is going to replace traditional travel?
I am in no way suggesting that virtual travel will replace traditional travel for most people. Instead, it simply can be used as a way to augment traditional travel. For instance, people can now visit places that they wouldn't have thought they could visit. Or, they can re-visit somewhere that they have already visited. Or, they can preview different locations to see where they might want to travel. Or,...
How did you choose the sites listed?
It was not an easy process.
There are literally thousands of virtual tours listed when doing a search on the Internet. However, many of these tours listed have a disqualifying characteristic: they are either no longer available, they are just not very interesting (too short, don't tell a good story, etc.), or they are merely meant to tempt the viewer to spend money.
So, the ones listed have all been 100% fully viewed and certified otherwise. We intend to add many more sites as time goes by. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions/requests.
How do I search for a travel site??
You can only do this now by selecting a category first. Once on a category's page, there is a search bar at the top left of the screen. This will allow you to search within that category. We are working on getting a search utility that will go on the Travel page and search through all categories at once. Stay tuned!
You mention on your 'Our Goals' page that this website will be a cooperative effort. How can I help?
Firstly, thank you all for asking this question. Also, thank you for the wonderful compliments about the website. Building this website has been fun and rewarding. Admittedly, however, I am an amateur at building a website - a passionate amateur but an amateur nonetheless. Imagine what the website will look like when developed by professionals! With your help, we can get this produced by professionals. If you have any information on this thought, please press the 'Contact' button.
The best way that you can help right now is to offer any insights as to how I can make the site better, especially identifying good videos to be listed. You can do this by sending an email to email@example.com.
As well, most importantly, you can best help by becoming a member (of course, this is free) and visiting the website often. Additionally, please share the website widely and encourage everyone to become a member. For this site to be successful and meet its primary goal, being the go-to Virtual Travel site for those who are unable to travel freely, it is going to need a lot of members/visitors.
So, just think about how doing a such small thing as becoming a member can help improve the quality of life for so many others!
Also, we will always be looking for people to make regular suggestions of new content. As well, we are counting on visitors to regularly view and rate the existing content. (note: I will likely be updating this answer as things progress. So, please check back regularly.)
What is a FREETOGO Helper?
(This position is mentioned on 'Our Goals' page. "If needed, we plan to build a team of FREETOGO Helpers just in case anyone needs assistance.")
A FREETOGO Helper is a volunteer made available to ensure that each user has a 100% successful experience traveling virtually through this website. Viewer satisfaction is our #1 goal and we will do everything we can to meet this goal. If necessary, we plan to build a team of FREETOGO Helpers in the near future. At that point, the button below will be added at the appropriate locations on the website.
How do I become a FREETOGO Helper?
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. FYI, you will need to provide us credentials and plan to go through a number of staged real-life scenarios so that we can be sure you can help all Virtual Travelers have a 100% successful experience.
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