Samoa: The country that travelled to the future
For centuries, people have written stories about time travel. What if you could skip forward and see what the future’s like? What if you could meet your great-great-great-grandchildren and tell them what an awesome guy their great-great-great-grandfather was? Well what if I told you time travel is real, and that the people of Samoa are the ones who finally managed it?
Samoa is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, just south of the equator and halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. It’s made up of two large islands called Upolu and Savai’i, and eight small islets. Samao’s home to only 192,000 people, which is only slightly more than Southend-on-Sea. Looks a lot nicer, though.
The secret to Samoa’s amazing time travelling feat is in its location – it’s right next to the International Date Line. That’s the imaginary line which separates one calendar day from another. One on side of the line, it’s Wednesday and on the other, it’s Thursday.
Samoa used to be to the east of the date line, which put it 21 hours behind Sydney. But in 2011, they decided to jump to the west of the date line, putting them three hours ahead of Sydney.
This means no one on Samoa lived through the 30th December 2011, because they skipped it entirely!
The reason for the change was that Samoa wanted to boost their economy by trading with nearby Australia and New Zealand, and being 21 hours behind them would’ve made that somewhat tricky. Clever!
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About Dom Stapleton
As well as being the world’s northernmost capital city, Reykjavik in Iceland is also an incredible place to visit.
We stayed in a hotel right in the middle of the city and spent most days walking around from there. The main thing we noticed (apart from the cold, of course) was that the people are so friendly. At home, trying to cross the road is a nightmare, but in Reykjavik, the cars are literally queuing up to let you across.
When my partner and I went, in January 2013, the sun only started rising at about 10 am, which was a strange experience. And it got dark at about 4 pm each day!
Dom works in our marketing team