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Samoa: The country that travelled to the future

For centuries, people have written stories about time travel (But not one story about time travel insurance). 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 Credit: Francesco (CC BY 2.0)

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.

Samoa Credit: Andrew Moore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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.

International Date Line

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.

Samoa Credit: Andrew Moore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This means no one on Samoa lived through the 30th December 2011, because they skipped it entirely!

Samoa Credit: Jorge Price (CC BY 2.0)

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!