Understanding the International Date Line
New Zealand is one of the first places on earth to see the sun - the inspiration for the First Light Travel name. When you travel from North America, you travel across the International Date Line which means you journey forward in time to get here. So when you leave San Francisco on Friday night you land in Auckland on Sunday morning. Of course you may feel like you’ve lost a day but you’ll gain that back on your return journey. If you’re travelling from Europe you’ll have to move forward in time when you arrive, but you’ll get that time back when you return home.
“Each time you fly from North America to Australia, and without anyone asking how you feel about it, a day is taken away from you when you cross the international date line. I left Los Angeles on January 3 and arrived in Sydney fourteen hours later on January 5. For me there was no January 4. None at all. Where it went exactly I couldn’t tell you. All I know is that for one twenty-four-hour period in the history of earth, it appears I had no being.
I find it a little uncanny, to say the least. I mean to say, if you were browsing through your ticket folder and you saw a notice that said, “Passengers are advised that on some crossings twenty-four-hour loss of existence may occur” (which is, of course, how they would phrase it, as if it happened from time to time), you would probably get up and make inquiries, grab a sleeve, and say, “Excuse me.” There is, it must be said, a certain metaphysical comfort in knowing that you can cease to have material form and it doesn’t hurt at all, and, to be fair, they do give you back the day on the return journey when you cross the date line in the opposite direction and thereby manage somehow to arrive in Los Angeles before you left Sydney, which in its way, of course, is an even neater trick.”
The experience of travelling across the International Date Line in “In a Sunburned Country”, Bill Bryson
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