Who says you need fancy equipment like a flux capacitor to time travel! Time travel is possible and all it takes is your imagination. Nostalgia is a funny thing it can take you places you have been to long ago, or places you experienced recently, and even in some cases to places, you’ve never been. For me nostalgia is quite the experience. It virtually serves as a mental time traveling device with its ability to at a moment’s notice ship me to a time long ago, in some cases to a time I may have never experienced.
The definition of nostalgia is as follows, “a yearning for the past, often an idealized version from one’s good old days”. Now by that definition one would find it hard to say they experience a fondness for a time that they never lived. Well if that’s the case then sign me up for the new type of it. I think it is this gift, if I can call it that, which has truly formed what, has eventually turned into a love of history. The ability to develop a fondness for a bygone era that no one else around me experienced is a trifling one but one that makes for an interesting outlook on the world. Even in the simplest of settings for instance taking a walk through a forest, my mind under the effect of nostalgia will constantly conjure up a historical image of time long ago. I have experienced similar phenomena in many other places especially when those places are flooded with historical significance all around like Boston.
I recently had the opportunity to visit Boston for a 4-day whirlwind tour of the city over the Fourth of July weekend in 2011. I virtually found myself continually taking trips back to 18th century colonial America and even at one point looking over the balcony where the Declaration of Independence was read out picturing the congregation of people gathering to hear that controversial document. While in Salem, I developed an image of the small Puritan seaside colony and being able to walk on the same ground as the colonial men and women did hundreds of years before at least for me created some kind of bond that materialized in my head. This very similar phenomenon happens to me about everywhere I’ve been with a rich historical past Savannah, Portland, Washington DC, Roanoke, and St. Augustine.
Nevertheless, I don’t just experience this for places of great historical significance it happens just as often with flashes back to times of my own life. The last few weeks of my undergraduate career, walking around campus was just like watching old videos of myself as every step I took I saw in front of me an image of myself from the past. Another example where I experienced a blast from the past was this past summer when I endeavored to read all seven of the Harry Potter books in preparation for the final film’s debut. While reading these books over again for the first time in years my mind took trips back to when I first read the exact same pages I was poring over in the present. And I tell you what it can get to be quite the headache having your mind experience nostalgia from your own life and that of a fictional world all at the same time!
Even apart from these special experiences of nostalgia I experience this phenomena just on a regular day’s routine whether it’s going for a bike ride, visiting a friend or family member, or just sitting outside at my house. It really is a wonderful feeling so I advise you next time you feel a trip down memory lane approaching buckle up and enjoy the ride!