I have a love/hate relationship with video games. On the one hand, I love the immersion and the visual grandeur of games like Skyrim and the exploration and problem-solving in games like Tombraider. On the other hand, at some point I always feel a little let down by the experience.

It’s like Vegas. The first time I cruised the Las Vegas Strip, I almost wrecked my car. I was consumed by the spectacle of it all. Pirates battling it out on the sidewalk! Roman sentries! Every block promised excitement and color and surprise!

I climbed out of my car eager to be enticed, but the spectacle was all show. On the other side, there were just rows upon rows of slot machines and flu-inducing AC. It didn’t look all that different from a cubicle farm in a corporate office.

Likewise, I’ll become engrossed in the alternate world of a game, but at some point, I think: wouldn’t it be nice if I knew how to make a restorative mushroom stew IRL? wouldn’t it be cool if these hundreds of hours of jumping from one building to another translated into actual parkour skills?

Then I get a little irritated with myself because – despite all of its problems – I enjoy the real world. I’d like to be better at navigating it – IRL. And while I definitely gain some applicable insights playing games, I’d gain a lot more if I got out and learned how to make IRL mushroom stew or how to survive an IRL wilderness.

Maybe that’s why I decided that the sailor’s life was for me. It’s not an easy life. There’s a lot to learn in order to survive and thrive. That makes it an ideal way to earn Real World XP, which is bound to improve my IRL Game.