by Joel Burgess

Have you ever considered time travel as an influential tool to promote the economic well-being and livelihood of your community? Before you boo me off the stage, let’s take a moment to entertain the thought.

While some may argue time travel to the past is theoretically allowed by 1.) traveling faster than the speed of light, 2.) using cosmic strings and black holes, or 3.) employing wormholes and Albubierre warp drives, my contention is that however interesting the fascination of visiting your favorite personality, event, or time period in the past might be, it will never happen in physical form.

However, the fact is, we are all travelers passing through moments in time and space with the ability to engage our minds with memories, thoughts, and perceptions of our past, and we project dreams and ideals into the future-we undergo virtual time travel .

Moreover, our associations with the past relate a place to a precise moment in time. Therefore, all communities have a way to connect their locations with moments in time, engaging residents and visitors alike in virtual time travel .

So the question becomes what stories do the public connect to your community? More importantly, how are these stories being told, and most importantly, how do they influence people’s awareness, perceptions, decisions, and ultimately, their own stories? How do people get connected to your place?

While there are other tactics, my argument is that the most effective virtual time travel begins by focusing on social interaction and linking it to place (via events, festivals, frolics, clubs, youth leagues, mentorship programs, etc.) In life, no story is more compelling than the story of meaningful relationships and the memories created in those relationships, and that story can be tied to your location.

Time travel is possible when individuals connect the past, present, and future. The more opportunities your community creates to engage and connect individuals through social events, the greater the positive associations to your community. Help people experience great times that will become happy memories of your place. Those positive associations will ultimately do more for your community than any time machine can.