This is always an interesting idea for me to ponder. As a writer, the ramifications of being able to visit an historical setting or event are mind-boggling. You could really find out what Jane Austen ate and Charles Dickens knew. So just for fun, let’s say time travel becomes possible, somehow. (I’m not going to get into the physics of whether or not it’s possible, that would spoil the game.) Where and when would you go? And why? Would you go to the court of Napoleon and Josephine, find out what the heck Marie Antionette meant by “Let them eat cake”? How about ancient Egypt? Find out how the pyramids were built? Walk with the dinosaurs? Would you go for the sake of scholarly research, or a pet passion? Yeah, sure, Woodstock might be fun, but there are too many other things I have real questions about. As difficult as it was to narrow down, here are my current top five picks for when and where I’d go, if I could:
- Continental Congress, Philadelphia, 1776. I have always had a fascination with the incredible, and to my mind, nearly improbable confluence of the intellect that took place here, those who brought about the American Revolution: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, John Hancock and all the other delegates of the original colonies. I don’t think their like has been seen since.
- Stonehenge (2400 BC, give or take). I would love to know how and why this megalithic monument came to be, moreso than nearly any other. I nearly said Newgrange in Ireland (3000 BC) but there’s something more baffling about Stonehenge. It’s purpose is still unknown, whereas Newgrange is pretty surely a burial mound.
- 30 CE Palestine. As an avowed agnostic, part-time atheist, I feel it’s almost a duty to find out (if it were possible) the real truth behind the myths of Jesus. I’m open to finding out I’m dead wrong, too. I just would want to know definitely, one way or the other.
- 10,000 CE, anywhere. The scientist in me wants to know what the future will be like: Will we colonize space? Will we cure cancer? Will there be another Mozartian genius? If there is, I want ALL his records.
- 100,000 CE. Will the human race even still exist? What will they look like? Will they look on us the way we regard Cro-Magnon Man, or Neanderthal? Will we have abandoned earth?
Of course, all these choices are subject to change without notice. Tomorrow I might decide tea with Jane Austen is vastly more important.