I came across a fun writing prompt the other day. The question posed was: If you could travel back to any era, would you and which one?
My immediate thought was, “Yes, of course,” but as I thought about it, I realized there were some qualifiers.
- Can I come back?
- How long would I have to stay?
- Would the visit be observation only, or could I interact with the people?
- How well would I be prepared for the era I visited?
- Can I visit more than one era?
- What social position would I hold during my visit?
Would I Go?
Number 1 makes all the difference in the world. If I can’t come back, I’m not going anywhere. My current life is far too good to abandon.
Assuming I can come back, the next question is how long would I stay? Is this an extended journey while I wait for my transporter to recharge? Or can I go for a week or two, treating it like a lovely vacation.
Let’s assume I can return, and it’s a vacation-length trip.
In this theoretical world where I’ve decided to travel through time, when would I travel to? That’s where numbers 3 and 4 come in.
3 is up first. Can I interact with the era I visit, or can I only observe, like I’m in a Pensieve?
I’d be most interested in going back in time to see my mom alive and healthy again. But if I can’t interact with her, I may as well just watch home movies. But if I could interact with her, give her a hug, I would certainly jump at that opportunity.
However, if I could interact with the time I visit, I have to wonder how that interaction would work. Would there be some kind of built-in technology that would make sure I don’t stand out? Or will I have to prepare for my vist? Or perhaps I would simply be living memories, like the animus in Assassin’s Creed.
So let’s assume I can interact with the time I visit, and somehow I’d blend in seamlessly. I’d visit my mom. No question.
But let’s say that I can visit more than one era. Then I have several eras I’d like to visit.
But whether I’d do so would depend on what class of person I would be during the visit. I wouldn’t want to be a peasant in the middle ages, for example. Not a very fun vacation. So, for the sake of continuing this post, let’s assume I can choose my social class for the trip.
Where and Why?
My first choice (after visiting my mom) would be Elizabethan England. I’ve always been fascinated with that era. But I’d also love to visit:
- Pre-Revolutionary French Monarchy – Think of the glitz and glamour
- Regency England – It’s a silly reason, but I like the clothing
- Victorian England – Perhaps I could find out who Jack the Ripper was
- My grandparents and great-grandparents – I’d love to know them. I only knew my father’s mother, and I wish I knew the others.
And what about you? What conditions would determine whether you traveled through time? And when would you visit if your conditions were met? Let me know in the comments.