A Guide to First-Time Traveling
For the sake of posterity, I present to you a reprint of the original instructional guide given out by the Central Time Zone to first-time travelers. While we all know time travel has evolved to a point where such trivial instructions are unnecessary, those like me who enjoy reading documents of the past (an original copy of the 1939 New York World’s Fair guide book is among my prized possessions), information like this may cultivate a desire to research the past and perhaps inspire the more intelligent of you to learn from these travelers and the culture that grew from the CTZ. While the language presented below may seem rudimentary to our more cultured readers, representing this document as it were, instead of how it should be, is of my utmost importance. Now, without further delay:
A Guide to First-Time Traveling
Presented by the Central Time Zone
If you are reading this, congratulations! You are one step closer to an experience like no other! For centuries, humanity has thought of this sort of travel as purely science fiction, a means to tell stories of regret or change. Now you have the chance to experience first hand the excitement, the romance, the mystery, and the fun of traveling through time! The Central Time Zone offers many exciting packages that will take you on the time of your life. But first, we must discuss the many advantages and disadvantages of this type of travel as well as a few ground rules before we send you on your way.
Why Should You Travel?
Time travel is an excellent way to explore relics of the past and broaden your understanding of the world around us. As Edmund Burke once said: “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it”. Time travel is NOT for those looking to fix the mistakes of the past, in order to change the future. This type of activity will not be tolerated. Our CTZ officers are trained to fix any changes made to our current time stream by any means necessary. While there are levels of severity when it comes to time discrepancies, any change can lead to at least ten years of imprisonment without possibility of bail. Of course, there are a few exceptions. For example: if you accidentally get in a fight with a homeless man on his way to an interview, if it doesn’t affect anything on a global or historical level, a temporary ban will be enacted. However, if by missing the interview, homeless man’s career path to the presidency is destroyed, a more severe punishment will be put into affect. We here at the Central Time Zone take the time stream seriously. Time travel should be used for observational purposes only. The packet we provide you will further detail what you can and cannot do based on location and date.
What Should I Expect?
As it is your first time traveling with the CTZ, you will experience things you have never experienced before. Unlike other forms of travel, fourth dimensional travel has been known to have several side effects, some even lethal. A common symptom found in those who travel unprepared is Syphtcis, a form of brain damage caused by excessive traveling. As described by Dr. Darren Carver, inventor of Carvenol:
“When time travel was invented, they never accounted for neurological damage; people would travel here and there without any problems. It wasn’t until years later that reoccurring symptoms became the norm. Apparently our brains are, in a sense, programmed to recognize one flow of time. Even though our travels are instantaneous, our brain has trouble adjusting to what’s going on. Do it enough times and your entire brain shuts down. Thus: Syphtcis.”
To combat this, we only recommend two travel excursions a year. We also ask that you be prescribed to Carvenol, a pill to help adjust your mind to sudden time conversions. Proof of prescription must be shown during your first meeting with the CTZ. Failure to do so will inhibit your ability to travel. If your brain cannot adjust to the sudden time shift, you won’t survive your trip through time.
How Does It Work?
Once you’ve gone over the necessary precautions, our travel agent will guide you to our time station. Each station can only fit one person per pod as per the Time Travel Regulations and Guidelines created by our government. We’d hate for your molecules and DNA to get fused with someone else’s! Once inside the pod, our agent will coordinate the specific time, date, location, gravitational pull, and rotational direction of the earth so not to drop you off in the middle of outer space. Once the procedure begins, you will see a rapid flashing of lights before experiencing a total blackout. Soon, light will return to your pod, and another travel agent, one assigned to the time period you have arrived to will greet you. After exiting the pod in our secret CTZ location, our recovery room will be available to you in case nausea or headache becomes apparent. Once ready to leave, our travel agent will assign you period accurate clothing based on your height and weight given to us on your form. That way, the humans of the past aren’t intimidated by the clothing of the future. Now that you’re dressed and ready to go, the past is now your present. You can explore the world around you as long as you return by the agreed upon date at the time of registration. Failure to return by the agreed upon date may cause a rift in the time stream. Our agents are ready to track you down if need be.
Now You Are Ready To Travel!
As daunting as all of this may seem, once you get the hang of recreational time travel, you’ll wonder how civilization went on with out it. All of these warnings, rules, and regulations are here for your safety. We want you to be an informed time traveler, so that you can rest easy, knowing that you and everything around you is taken care of. Soon you will be traveling across the 4th dimension. Soon you will be known as a time traveler.
About The CTZ
Founded by Richard Taylor in [REDACTED] soon after President Reynolds’ controversial decision to allow recreational time travel the Central Time Zone (or CTZ for short) was a way for government sanctioned time travel to be readily available to the American people. Entering its 30th year, the CTZ is proud to offer over 500 destinations waiting for you to explore. While traveling to our distant future is still an impossibility, we pride ourselves in the work that we do to ensure your visit to the past enriches your life and provides an experience you’ll never forget. When will you go when the past becomes your present?
As we all know, the CTZ would last another twenty years before closing its doors in [REDACTED]. Many attribute this decision to the misadventures of Dr. Darren Carver, when the revelation of his involvement with the creation of Carvenol sixty years before his birth caused stirs within the time travel community. The secret war for time travel, covered up by the American government, didn’t help the cause much either. Now we see time travel as a frivolous exercise in indulgence. We live in an age where everything is available to us at once; the need to experience things of the past in person has no use to us. However, I do understand the fascination with and desire for time travel. Having only experienced it once, seeing the pylon and sphere, the icon of the 1939 World’s Fair, was something I’ll never forget. But as I stared at the towering monument to human achievement in front of me, I realized that this achievement was not meant for my eyes, but for those walking around me. Seeing the tower through the eyes of someone who knew the past could never compare to those seeing it for the first time. The cynicism of the future is no match for the optimism of the past.
 More on this can be read in Dr. Darren Carver’s excellent memoir The Traveler: The Story Of Darren Carver, as well as Dr. Kenneth Lemming’s bestseller Oh The Places You’ll Go, You’ve Been, and Currently Are: The Truth Behind America’s Fascination with Time Travel in [REDACTED].
Samuel Parker Smith is a writer of Science Fiction stories, stories like the one you’ve just read or will read depending on the order you do such things. He’s also an award-winning filmmaker having studied filmmaking at the Orange County School of the Arts’ Conservatory of Film and Television as well as Biola University’s Department of Cinema and Media Arts. Most days, Samuel can be found drinking coffee while reading books about time travel or the World’s Fair. “A Guide to First-Time Traveling” will be Samuel’s first published work of this nature. Twitter: @samuelpsmith_