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Article Words : Elizabeth Atkin | 20 June 2019

The Norwegian island campaigning to become a 'time-free zone'

An island in Arctic Norway has rallied its residents, in order to become completely time-free. Surely, victory would make it one of the most unique travel experiences in the world?

The remote island of Sommarøy, in the western edge of Tromsø, Norway, is already a unique place to visit in the Arctic Circle.

During summer, the sun doesn’t set for around 69 days in total, from 18 May to 26 July.

Living life in constant daylight means things work a little differently in Sommarøy (or 'Summer Island'). It’s not unheard of to see children playing in the street or friends meeting for a casual cup of tea or coffee at 2am, in the sunshine.

Sommarøy, Norway (Shutterstock)

Sommarøy, Norway (Shutterstock)

Now, the reported 300 to 350 villagers who call the island home – and live their daily lives in this already time-less lifestyle  are campaigning to officially declare Sommarøy a time-free zone.

Their reasoning is simple. It’s not easy to treat broad daylight like it’s the dead of night, or even to keep track of what time it actually is.

There’s also the fact that shop and school hours are inconvenient, and they’d like to make their own arrangements for when things open. For them, it's much easier to throw away the rule book, and to eat, sleep or work whenever it feels right - especially when you have no setting sun or darkening sky to guide you.

From a visitor's perspective the appeal is obvious, too. Who wouldn’t want to escape the grips of time, and live perpetually in the moment? 

All that said, there’s no word yet on if this will – or even could – officially happen. For now, it seems residents have succeeded in sharing their petition with their local MP, campaigning at Sommarøy’s Town Hall, and in drawing attention to the cause via the Time-Free Zone Facebook page.

They’ve also inspired many to abandon their watches, locked like padlocks, on local bridges. Certainly, a campaign to watch…

Would you like to visit a time-free zone? Let us know on Twitter @wanderlustmag or Instagram @wanderlustmag

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