Today’s Dance: If I had a Time Machine I would Time Travel to…

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Echo Park Time Travel Mart (Photo credit: Scott Beale)

Many of us, especially fans of science fiction, fantasy, and historical romance, have fantasized about going back in time to an earlier era and living our lives in that very different world. Some of us imagine ourselves explorers, or great lords and ladies, or soldiers in a just war, or hardy pioneers making a go of it in a new land.

We imagine ourselves armed with our advanced knowledge and our prescience about world events that give us a welcome unfair advantage among those whose time we have invaded. We ignore details such as lack of vaccinations, indoor plumbing, and rapid communication and transportation options, and prefer to think of ourselves as living among those who had servants to mitigate the most crushing of the burdens of the time.

I wish I had one of those brains that could just turn off the critical thinking button and imagine myself, if time traveling, landing in the best possible financial and social situation in any given era, but given my brain, I tend to think in odds, and the odds are that 1) I would be of the working or peasant class, and 2) I would still be a woman. Which means, in almost every culture in almost every time, I would have had very limited opportunities to live a life I would find to my liking.

Dying in childbirth does not appeal to me, nor does being worked to death sewing in a nineteenth century factory or dragging a plow behind a team of oxen. Wearing hot, heavy skirts with a corset on hot summer days sounds like my idea of hell.

All that said, if I were to go back in time armed with a fortune in that time and place’s currency and with the credentials to give myself freedoms unusual for a woman of that time (perhaps evidence that I was a widow in charge of my own fortune, for instance), there are several historical eras I would like to visit. I would like to meet Jane Austen at Bath, for instance, or watch the events in Jerusalem with the three Marys that fateful Passover two eons ago, or march with Sojourner Truth and Susan B. Antony. It might even be fun to watch all of the Bard’s plays during his lifetime. But I would want to come home to my 21st century comforts and the home and family I love.

Enough about me, though. Today’s dance explores your ideas about time travel and what you would do if you had a device that would drop you back in time in a specified location with enough resources to live a ‘life of means’ for a year, and then deliver you home automatically:

  • Where would you go, and why?
  • Who would you want to meet in your time travels? How would you go about getting an introduction?
  • What experiences are you most looking forward to in your chosen time period(s)? Why?
  • What will you miss most from your life today?
  • How will you prepare for your year? What will your back story be? Will you have to learn a new language?
  • Are you looking forward to living in period fashion, or are you dreading it in hopes that your other experiences will make the sacrifice worth it?
  • If you could take three 21st century items with you, what would they be, and how would you explain them if they were discovered?
  • If you could time travel to two more times and places after your first, where would you go and why?
  • What historical periods would you avoid ‘like the plague’? (How’s that for an awful pun? Wait for it…)
  • In your chosen period(s), what hazards are you aware of and prepared for? What do you expect might take you by surprise?

Don’t forget to share your answers and pass this around to family and friends to open up the discussion to more people. Looking forward to dancing with you!

  • Welcome Time Travellers! (or more evidence against time travel) (
  • (Some of) The best time travel movies for children (
  • on: time travel (
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