It might be time to take a break from reality…

I’ve bought the normal amount of toilet paper because my bathroom has a bidet.

Bidets are really common in both Puerto Rico and Europe, and late last year I joked about starting a bidet business to bring them to the mainland USA.

After the Hong Kong protests and advancing government use of facial recognition, I thought it would be interesting to start a mask company.

You could have them for every occasion– privacy, smoke grenades… and even pandemics.

Joe’s Bidets and Face-Masks INC (Free face mask with every bidet) never materialized.

Talk about missed opportunities.

But it’s okay because I’m not sure I’d do so hot running a business like that. And let’s be honest, I’d probably have sourced my masks from China.

No, instead I like to daydream. Escape this world for something a little further advanced, a little bit more futuristic.

Maybe someplace with better government, more innovation, where you can live on an artificial floating island that moves to different ports throughout the year.

The problem is my daydreams have a life of their own.

I start imagining it, and the next thing you know there are three different legal systems and a sexual-predator business mogul accused of murder.

See I’m quarantined here in my apartment in Puerto Rico, and as I start drifting off in my hammock while staring out over the ocean from my roof-deck, I start thinking about the what-ifs.

What if you could detach your little island from your city, state, or country and just float away?

“Nope. Not dealing with these people. I’m out.”

I’d imagine that’s an option a lot of people are wishing they had right now.

And then you could link up with whoever you want, and rule your own society.

A boy can dream.

But anyway I ended up writing it all down (I mean after you sink so many hours into inventing a new universe, you might as well).

There’s prison islands, floating cities, and corporate-cult governments… okay so I guess the future isn’t utopia either.

I also recorded each episode if you’d rather listen to it on Spotify or right here on my website at the top of each episode.

So take a break from reality. And if you’re feeling really social, comment with your own daydreams of a better world.

How I accidentally stumbled into the real-life setting of my story

I had an extra few days in Italy without much planned. So I decided to take the fast train from Rome to Venice.

For some reason, I hadn’t made the connection before… Venice is possibly the best place in the world to climb into my fiction.

I even described the “seastead” in my latest story, The Gulf, as somewhat reminiscent of Venice. Although I had never been before, pictures of the canals and arched bridges were an old-timey version of how I pictured Gulf Sails in 2099.

The man-made floating island allows hexagonal platforms to dock to it. They fit into the next like a honeycomb but don’t quite touch. This leaves canals of ocean between.

When I got to Venice, I realized what should have been obvious– the options for transportation in the city are walking, or boating. So I took a water taxi through the canals until I was just a few blocks from my Airbnb.

And to explore the rest of the city, I walked.

I walked through narrow alleyways of inconsistent width. I stumbled across squares lined with shops and restaurants. I stepped over staircase-bridges that take pedestrians high enough so gondolas and water taxis can pass beneath.

I dead-ended more than a few times at a canal. And the whole time, there was not a car in sight.

Boats glided through the busiest five-way intersections without slowing down, without an obvious–to me at least–traffic pattern… no yellow painted center lines.

This was as close as I could come to stepping into the seastead in my mind.

I have always naturally tended to set my fiction in places I am familiar with. My first book was set in New England, and the second in the woods of Vermont.

But now I think I’ll make it habit to find places that can serve as surrogates for my futuristic settings.

Strangely enough, I just heard there is a club in Atlanta, Georgia that used to be a church.

A cathedral turned club just so happens to be the setting of a Halloween party in the first episode of The Gulf.

I’m in the city now, so I know where my next stop will be…

Click here to check out my Instagram story from Venice.