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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.


I may never be much of a horse guy, but I was born to do this,” expressed the Avatar Jake Sully as he brimmed with glee on the back of a gigantic, aerial creature that flew him through Pandora’s kaleidoscopic forest. 

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Many people dream of having a more interesting life, whether that is acquiring superpowers, flying with reptiles, living fantastic adventures, and the list goes on. A few have identified outlets to travel to an alternate reality, where the impossible exists as an idea, and our problems remain on hold. For some, this means reading and for others it’s gaming or watching films. Some even rely on the media as a form of escape. The incognita of living a different life—or the need to ignore aspects of this life, sparks the desire of escaping. But, how do we, as average humans, exactly escape reality? 

This is great,” a wide smile exposed his feline-like fangs at the thought of running out of the scientific enclosure. 

The release of the action-filled movie Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) encouraged me to rewatch the first film Avatar (2009). The theme of colonization and the portrayal of Pandora, a nature-filled fictional world, intrigued me. In this story, the main character “ends up on a mission to the lush moon of a distant planet where current technology gives his mind access to a cloned body of one of the local humanoid aliens, the Na’vi”. This means, our physically disabled protagonist takes a break from reality and adopts a new body with strong, running legs. Here’s where the term escapism comes into play. 

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Who wouldn’t wish to fly in a magical world?  It doesn’t matter how; Flying to Neverland like Peter Pan or sailing through the universe like Jim Jawkins, these are limited by our reality. 

We tend to focus on fantasy and other distraction sources to break from reality. This term is considered escapism or “a way of avoiding an unpleasant or boring life, especially by thinking, reading, etc. about more exciting but impossible activities.” In Sully’s case, he was attached to a wheelchair after an accident. Hence, being an Avatar allowed him to perform impossible activities like running. 

This movie depicts a literal and physical way of escapism. However, we have fantastic ways to escape reality similar to what Jake Sully did. Video games, for instance, are, in some cases, “ideal because it’s an exciting, fun, and stress relieving experience. Many games also include fun themes, cute characters, and bright colors to lift the player’s mood”. Gaming also serves as an exploring outlet where players are able to visit or engage with varied environments and unique creatures. Some of the many adventure games are: Ark: Survival Evolved, Elden Ring, and Genshin Impact

Escapism doesn’t rely necessarily on technology as it can be achieved by other mediums like reading or listening to music. Overall, just whatever triggers your imagination and relaxation.

“Each book was a world unto itself, and in it I took refuge.”

― Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading

Do we need escapism? The responsibilities of everyday life tend to consume our battery. For these means, “at one time or another, just about everyone has had a profound desire to escape reality for a certain amount of time. It might be that we crave either a physical or an emotional escape.” Think about it as taking a mental break from the work you hate, as a moment of peace after you’ve studied hard for an important exam, or as a fun experience to compete with the negatives of the day. “When things get too much, a little escapism gives you the equivalent of a mental vacation…” 

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“Since life is innately stressful, coping strategies are essential to making it through each day.”

While escapism isn’t inherently bad, the word escapism has a negative connotation, implying we are ignoring our responsibilities and avoiding reality. It can similarly lead to addiction and be used as a form of procrastination. Oftentimes, it can be misinterpreted that taking a break from our problems is equal to solving them. It isn’t. For this reason, it’s imperative to balance both aspects of our life; the real one and the fantastic one. 

Escapism is an interesting way to meet the feeling of needing excitement by means of exploring planes foreign to us or submerging in a pleasing book to achieve peace of mind. The urge to break the routine is normal. It may even be essential for some to assimilate the difficulties of life and push forward to endure challenges, all by keeping in mind the life that was granted to us. 


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“Escapism is not just about getting away from the stresses of life or leaving behind where you currently live for a bit. It is also about being able to do things you couldn’t in everyday life.”

Kiara Roman is a writer and Social Media Co-Director of the Her Campus at UPR chapter. Through her articles she discusses a diverse spectrum of topics ranging from research analysis on animal abuse to listicles about cozy room decor. Her writing inclinations vary according to her momentary interests, which makes her one of the most diverse writers in the chapter. She has been part of several organizations including Pulso Estudiantil, Puntos de Fuga and Awkwardly Vain magazine. Her academic aspirations diverge as she studies Human Resources Management and Interdisciplinary Studies while engaging in multidisciplinary extracurriculars. Internship-focused experiences are at the top of her resume alongside communitary participation in her institution, Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. A kaleidoscope of interests drive her curiosity into exploring new hobbies in art, literature, gastronomy, and sciences. Her free time is filled by imagined universes or video game-raging. Explore her next hyperfixation in her upcoming articles.