Where and when would you go in a time machine?
It’s a question I’m pretty sure a majority of people have asked themselves. Most people I’ve talked to about time travel just answer with their favorite time period in mind like traveling to Renaissance Italy or to speak with the Greek philosophers. Maybe they want to go to the future and look up some winning lottery numbers? I’m old enough now and have watched enough time travel movies and TV that I’ve got a few answers depending on a different set of variables.
Number One, what type of time machine are we talking about? The DeLorean is severely limiting especially if it’s the older non-flying model (or after the flying feature broke). H.G. Wells Time Machine doesn’t travel through space either. The phone booth (Bill & Ted) can at least travel through space as seen when they traveled from the USA to everywhere in Europe (practically) to pick up the famous dead people. Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five where I can only travel back and forth on my own timeline? Lame. The most versatile time machine I’ve ever seen conceived is the Tardis.
This brings me to Number Two, who am I traveling with? My limited scope of watching Doctor Who has led me to surmise that as long as you travel with the Doctor, the companions race and gender are not as big a deal as they would otherwise be. It’s not a variable completely dismissed on the show, but it’s a variable that could cause a big freaking problem otherwise. In the movie Timeline this is illustrated when a group of people including those from the US, Great Britain, and France, travel back in time right to the smack middle of a European war. I am a hispanic woman who only speaks two languages. I have to take that into consideration when time traveling.
And number three, where do I think I’m going and for how long? Unless I’m traveling with the Doctor, my time traveling option are going to be small. The Tardis allows for language translation on top of the seeming protection of being accompanied by the Doctor. It would be pointless for me to take the Bill & Ted phone booth to see what Cleopatra looked like because chances are I would wind up dead. I’m a girl, I don’t speak or read the languages of the land in that time period, I’d have no currency. I’d be dead after a short while. Taking that kind of leap in time travel needs a guiding hand.