The bleak splendors of these remote and lonely forests rather overwhelmed him with the sense of his own littleness. That stern quality of the tangled backwoods which can only be described as merciless and terrible, rose out of these far blue woods swimming upon the horizon, and revealed itself.
Algernon Blackwood, The Wendigo
In the middle years of the 1800's, Europe was revolting. Tired of the old autocratic regimes, sick of an expensive, drama-filled existence where new technology threatened their way of life, many dreamed of a life with more freedom, autonomy, and the chance to make a place of their own. As the Old World lurched from one paroxysm of uncertainty to the next, many wondered: is there a better way?
But many stayed, and pushed beyond the cities by the sea and went further West, out into the big wild empty places, not quite empty, inhabited but sparsely, where what you had was mostly what you made yourself, or shared with neighbors. The path less traveled can be rough going; self determination has its price, but also levels of satisfaction with which no amount of soft living or online shopping can compare.
And if you were wondering, all these pictures were taken in open sim.
Most don't use money except perhaps to pay rent, at a fraction of the cost of Second Life. Most people are there because they like to build, and they 'sell' their creations without charge. The idea is that you will find something you're good at, and donate that to the common good too.
Virtual Christine, Minethere, and the Hyperzette. And every grid has several teleport 'stations' which will take you to the goodies in a single leap.
The natives are friendly but cautious - many have been burned by SL and the wannabe crowd. The snob factor won't cut it here; don't look for committees or vendettas. The lack of commercial imperative means there is less drive to outdo other fashion houses, so if you're life's goal is to be runner-up in next year's Miss Uruguay competition, this is not the place for you, but for your average freak or geek, there's more than enough choice.
Each has its own flavor, credo, level of reliability and respectability. Some are Dodge City, some are New Harmony. Depending on your smarts and people skills you can be as lonely or as busy as you want. Just like Second Life.
Scifi maven Lani Global describes it as a sort of 'Second lifeboat' - a place to keep your precious OARs and objects, should LL pull the plug, a summer home to escape drama, a workshop in which to perfect for free your mesh and textures (yes, there is NO CHARGE for uploading in open sim!). Having a foot in both SL and an independent grid - or many grids - is very common, and probably one in three of the SL people you know already have at least one open sim account.