The Time Traveler

“Don’t you ever wish you could go back?”- Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite.

I think everyone lives part of their lives in the past. I think we all have curiosities about what a different time would have looked and felt like, and it’s easy to imagine that things could have been better in a time different from our own.

But as I look back on the experiences I’ve had, as I often do, I realize that I have traveled through time.

It’s a humid summer evening in Budapest and I’m sitting outside a cafe drinking lemonade. The clouds sigh and a light rain begins to fall. It becomes harder and I quickly grab my drink and run inside. I order a bowl of soup and a shot of palinka, Hungarian brandy. The cafe has old photos of different landmarks around the city and a man is playing the piano. I don’t know the song, but it makes me feel good. The more I listen, the more I begin to think about Budapest in the early 1900s. I’m time traveling.

Budapest buildings

It’s the first sunny day I’ve seen in over a week, and I decide to spend it driving around St.John’s, Newfoundland.  I visit a small fishing village that I’ve heard in a famous song before. Petty Harbour is its name, and the clapboard houses and colorful fishing boats are nearly the same as they’ve always been. I’m time traveling.

Newfoundland time travel

I’m in North Carolina, driving through the Appalachian mountains. I watch as the oldest mountain range in North America wakes up with the sun and a soft mist gathers around it. These ancient mountains speak to me of limitless possibilities, and perseverance. I’m time traveling.

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It’s a bitterly cold winter morning and I’m in a small town in northern Serbia. My feet crunch in the snow as I walk with my grandmother to visit the home she lived in when she got married. It looks just as it did in 1960′s Yugoslavia, she tells me. I imagine her peeking through the venetian curtains, watching my mother play in the snow.  I’m time traveling.

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In Istanbul, I pass a woman weaving in the streets. She does everything by hand, the way her ancestors did, the way humans have done for thousands of years. She has no fancy equipment, just a wooden loom and colorful thread. As she lifts the warp, letting the weft pass, I think of a time when everything was made by hand. I’m time traveling.

Eastern Europe2012 1620

It is possible to travel through time, you just have to use your imagination. Although I try to live in the present moment as much as possible, it’s hard to ignore the past that is all around us.

What do you think? Have you time traveled too?


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