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In technical and common parlance, the phrase "chronological order" indicates that the items are in order of occurrence or creation, oldest first (being the first in the chronology). So it's [ 1997, 1998, 1999 ] and not [ 1999, 1998, 1997 ]. Ordering most recent first as in the example given in the question is called reverse chronological ordering or ...


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Ago works well here. It retains some of the nuance of time and can only really be replaced by "earlier" - which would refer to earlier in my journey which is neutral as to whether it means "at an earlier point", or "at an earlier time."


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