Out of Time
August 30, 2020
Places to go to travel through time
Time is kept similarly in big cities around the world — the same technology and similarly large mega-structures are built, bright lights, and congestion of traffic are similar. From New York to Sydney, Paris to Auckland, and Cape Town to Shanghai, big cities are similar around the world. Those big cities are the bearers of the current “modern” era.
But, there are some places that are just out of that era. Some are living time capsules and others just ooze the charm and history of a certain time and space.
Kyoto After Dark
Kyoto is a beautiful city that used to be the capital of Japan. It is famous for numerous Buddhist temples and impeccable gardens, but it is also where you can find some of the last real geishas (trained geishas are called geicko in Kyoto, and those is training are called meicko). Just after dusk in Gion, a section of Kyoto, you can walk down the street filled with classic cars, men in suits, and beauitful geicko and meicko gliding to their evening appointments entertaining at high-end dinners, private parties, and special events. The ambiance of poorly lit streets, the old styling of the cars, and the well-dressed high-end clientele give you the feeling of having stepped back in time.
Spanish Castles and Roman Cities
Not only in Spain, but in many parts of Europe, centuries-old castles and cities have been re-purposed to house new life. Spain’s architecture is incredible because within the walls of mighty Spanish castles — where children play, shopkeepers sell their goods, arts flourish, and restaurants abound — you find ruins of ancient Roman architecture. Sometimes, the ancient architecture is still functioning as the central water system or is the foundation of the Spanish castles’ walls. The people living in and around these incredible structures are certainly not stuck in time, but the melding of ancient, centuries-old, and modern architecture gives a surreal and very present look into Spain’s incredible history.
Tea Ceremony in the Atlas Mountains
The experience of driving through the winding dirt roads of the Atlas Mountains is, in and of itself, other-worldly. When you arrive at your Berber host’s house, they will greet you and invite you into their sparsely decorated and furnished place who’s floors are covered with richly colored rugs with beautiful patters and designs. Your host will bring out silver tea pots, cones of packed sugar, and too many mint leaves. They heat the water over the open flame and proceed with the ceremony, finally offering you a steaming hot cup. As you listen to your host explain the ceremony and share stories, you are transported to another world and feel connected to the centuries of travelers who were taken in by these Sahara nomads and greeted with a tea ceremony just like you were.
Perpetual Twilight in Denali
It is easy to lose your sense of time near the earth’s poles where the sun never rises in winter and never sets in the summer. But, Denali National Park with its seemingly endless wilderness and abundant wildlife has a particularly unique way of stopping time altogether.
In the wee hours of the morning when there should be no more light, you can step outside to see a dark blue sky dotted with only the brightest of stars, you hear the wolves howl in the distance, and you can practically see the sky slowing spinning above you. Venturing into the wilderness of Denali the next day and coming across giant moose antlers broken off by the rivers’ edge and a young grizzly bear playing in the fields of flowers, you are taken to an ancient time when native humans and native animals co-existed peacefully. Denali’s untamed wilderness can take you to a moment of connection with mother nature and your ancestral roots.
Futuristic Singapore (all photos by author)
Into the Future in Singapore
Where some places feel like time capsules and others transport you through history, Singapore gives you a glimpse into the future. From a tiny city-state known only for its brothels and port as late as 1965, Singapore transformed into a thriving, futuristic, economic powerhouse. By dredging up the ocean floor, Singapore built new land to develop and their modern architecture is now some of the most distinct and unique in the world. One hotel sports a giant ship balanced in the sky while another massive structure resembles a natural but strikingly modern take on a hive. The centerpiece of Singapore’s Gardens By the Bay is the collection of Super Trees that are giant metal structures that look and function like something out of a sci-fi movie. Those trees can even seed the clouds and cause man-made weather systems over Singapore.
Museums and texts can tell you a lot about the history of a place or a bygone era, but when you travel, you can find remnants and living artifacts of those past times. Past, present, or future, travel can take you wherever — or whenever — you want to go.
Leana’s an avid world traveler who has been to over 40 countries and will be venturing to her 7th continent in 2022. She believes in ubuntu and that adventures make life worth living. To follow her journey as a plus-sized woman with unquenchable wanderlust as she continues to seek out all that the world has to offer, you can check out The Overweight Adventurer.