In his last book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Stephen Hawking states that:
If one couldn't go faster than light the round trip from us (...) to the centre of the galaxy would take about 50,000 years. If the spaceship went very near the speed of light it might seem to the people on board that the trip to the galactic centre had taken only a few years. But that wouldn't be much consolation if everyone you had known had died and been forgotten thousands of years ago when you got back.
This radically changes my understanding of special theory of relativity. I always thought that you can never reach areas of the universe that are too far away (say, thousands of light years) in your lifetime. But what Hawking wrote seems to imply that you could effectively surpass the speed of light, because time slows down for you (even though it would seem that the trip took you a longer time for an outside observer). Is Hawking right?