On Time Travel

They say some senses are more prone to bringing you back to a specific past time, such as the sense of smell: a flagrance of a loved one, the smell of a bakery, a scent from a theatre, an odour from the mountains are very powerful example tools to sense time travel. How about when all five senses and then some bring you back in time? When you see places and people through your younger eyes from almost two decades ago, yet you know it´s your present self that actually sees, when you feel the touch of sunrays on your skin on the same bench in front of where you used to live, when you hear the same music of a language you had so long ago spoken every day, when you smell the same brisk scent of a mountain city on its streets, when you order the same mulled wine and it tastes the same – that is time travel.

Yes, it’s possible.

If we´re to take a look at the already crunched and mulled on data by other smarter people who know their stuff, there are a few given things necessary: a past or future time, access and means to it (wormhole or otherwise) and ability to come back to tell the story. It´s also a given that time is already leaping up to becoming the unassailable fourth dimension, and since this mostly means it´s not linear (even though we tend to perceive it as such, mostly because it´s easier) quantum leaps and the likes of them are not impossible. Time travel would thus not mean a movement back or forth along a direction or its opposite, but rather a perception and the change of its status.

This is where basically all my theoretical knowledge ends to give way to my experience. This is to say I did not time travel seeing it as a displacement from one point to another, but I perceived it. How else would one call going back to a long beloved city and feeling exactly the same as almost two decades ago? How else would one explain away wandering its streets and knowing exactly where one went? How else would one understand seeing a good and close friend again and remembering the feelings, as in feeling exactly the same as so many years before? Time travel: as if being there after so much time was exactly being back there that much time ago.

If you feel the same and see the same things, if you remember where that bench was where you used to drink your coffee in front of that bookshop where you had seen that history atlas of the world you had saved for so long to buy and you now have on a bottom shelf at home, if you have the same mind blowing conversations that provide you with that much food for thought as they used to then, if you maybe don´t really recall the names of streets or places, yet you know exactly how to get there, even to the slightest details, such as which streetcar to get on and where to get off, in which shop you bought that dress you wore for so many years afterwards, or which mall you used to work at on that summer Kodak campaign (yes, when paper photos still meant something) — how can all this not be called time travel?

It´s true, people and places change, circumstances are different and situations vary — hey, I´ll even say recollections may not be completely accurate — but when I visited Freiburg last weekend after so many years, there was a physicality there, and it went beyond whatever feelings or thoughts may as well evoke. They say some senses are more prone to bringing you back to a specific past time, such as the sense of smell: a flagrance of a loved one, the smell of a bakery, a scent from a theatre hall, an odour from the mountains are very powerful example tools to perceive time travel. How about when all five senses and then some bring you back in time? When you see places and people through your younger eyes from almost two decades ago, yet you know it´s your present self that actually sees, when you feel the touch of sunrays on your skin on the same bench in front of where you used to live, when you hear the same music of a language you had so long ago spoken every day, when you smell the same brisk scent of a mountain city on its streets, when you order the same mulled wine and it tastes the same — that is time travel.

Everything is perception. If you accept the premise that time is not linear, yet not necessarily circular, but that it can be bent so as to make it accessible at any given point, then the pathway between stored memories, their recollection and the physicality of the present moment is clear and short without any overlap. Everything we are is what we perceive, what we think, how we feel, what emotions we experience, what we remember, and what we plan on doing or acting upon. Time is all around. Time travel means blurring the limits of this one way direction we´ve been taught to acknowledge.

And I dare anyone to convince me it´s any different.

Author: Ruxandra Constantinescu

My every now and then jottings run on this blog in English, Spanish, and Romanian, as a tribute to all cultures I currently find myself at the crossroads of. I was born and raised in Bucharest, but I had been traveling in my mind every since I could read. Eventually, I started doing it for real as soon as I could, so I got to study, work, live, and travel in Romania, Germany, France, and Spain. Take your pick of posts on books, travels, places, people, current social and emotional issues. International politics or current affairs are no stretch, as neither are movies, series, journalism and communication, nor teaching EFL.

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