Every time I watch X Men or any movie where the characters have some unique powers, I think of what mine would be. It always comes down to the ability to travel through time as my only pick. Hands down. No question about it. There have been many movies and shows about characters that have travelled through time, from The Time Machine, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Back to the Future to Timecop, Looper and Timeline to name a few.
Our fascination with the past is constant and we always come up with many ways to play out how to go about it in our imaginations. But can you still travel through time without actually setting a foot in the world of the past?
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I will argue that in many ways we are able to go back in time, to different periods and experience them firsthand. There are no worries of messing something up or changing the future. It’s all legit and you have probably done it many times. Let’s take a look.
History in books
Books are great at providing travel inspiration and a way for the reader to escape their reality. People have been creating stories, written and unwritten, for as long as they have existed in this world. You can always step back in time to a different world, different era and experience it as if you were there by reading a book. Books even make great travel inspiration. Today or for travel in the past.
I used to read historical romances because I liked that they were set in the past and had interesting storylines. I love that books provide the ability to see the world as it was when the author set the storyline. Although I like books written about the past, nothing beats books written in the past.
My fave book growing up was The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. It transported me to early 17th century France and the court intrigues of the day. The Twelve Caesars written in AD 121 by Suetonius, is a biography of the 12 Roman emperors. It’s like reading a tabloid, full of salacious gossip and racy exploits of ancient Romans. Who said history was boring?
Travel through time in movies
Unlike books, movies can literally bring history alive. There is so much you can do with studio stages, graphics and special effects that books can’t provide. You can actually see what the past looked like and how people dressed. It’s all right there in front of your eyes.
One of my fave movies is The Mummy with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weiss. I love the opening, which is set in ancient Egypt as are the many flashbacks that follow. Egypt has always fascinated me and movies like that provide a glimpse into what the world looked like in the past.
There are so many movies set in the days gone by. From ancient times to the present, there is a movie that can spark your imagination. Thanks to productions like Moulin Rouge, The Tudors, or the Titanic, we can travel through time again and again.
Travel to historical places
Although it might not seem like it, visiting historical places transports us back in time. If you’ve been to the Colosseum, you have walked on paths built by the Romans centuries ago. If you’ve climbed the Great Wall of China, you have gone in the footsteps of those who contributed to building that wall. That goes for all the other magnificent monuments, structures and temples in the world.
Those who created them might be gone, but what they left behind still stands. Sometimes it’s in pieces, crumbling away far from its original greatness. Sometimes it’s meticulously restored and preserved and in some instances, it’s completely gone.
Unless your imagination is out of this world, it’s hard to imagine what those magnificent places looked like in their glory. I always love it when they have images of the place from the past, be that a painting or a sketch. It provides you with a glimpse into the past. Once you’re standing in at that moment. That’s pretty spectacular if you think about it.
Travel through time with technology
I don’t know about you, but I am super excited about virtual and augmented reality. The possibilities for experiential travel are endless. Imagine walking the Roman Forum, seeing the pyramids, or even visiting the lost world of Atlantis in all their glory. There are many places that no longer exist and we have knowledge of what they were like from the writings of others. It’s not far-fetched to imagine that we can bring them to life with technology.
Just as Pokemon Go enabled us to see things on our screens that don’t exist in real life, we can recreate the monuments, temples, castles and churches of the past just as they were. Imagine getting Google glass-type device on your next visit to the Colosseum that allows you to see the place in its glory.
You are walking along with the spectators, gladiators, or anything you decide. You are walking the Acropolis in full splendour or mingling with the locals in Machu Picchu. Imagine visiting temples and pyramids that look like they were just constructed. I mean, it’s the ultimate ability to travel through time experience.
I think my life would never be the same.
Visit museums for a glimpse into the past
Museums are fascinating places that let us travel through time. After all, you are close to actual objects from the past. From clothes, furniture, art and everyday items, you get a glimpse of how people used to live. While you can’t touch these items, you can examine them quite closely. From ordinary and disposable to precious and important, these items teach us about the past.
Even better, are the former residences of wealthy people. Here you can see how they lived in a different time. Walking through the rooms, you see how they decorated, what items were important to them and even how they looked. Family portraits show us the clothes these ancestors wore and what was important to them. Many stately homes, palaces and castles provide us with a glimpse of what life was like for those that lived there. There is no better way to travel through time than visiting these places.
Are you a time traveller?
If it was possible, would you travel through time? Providing that you would be an observer, of course. Without the ability to influence or change the future. It would be like watching a movie happening all around you. With first-hand exposure to the people of any point in time, anywhere in the world.
For me, such an experience would be incredible. I would love to visit so many different times in the past. It would be very difficult to pick just one. Ancient Rome, Athens, Egypt or even North America before the arrival of Europeans. Being in proximity to famous people I have only read about, would probably put me over the edge. Imagine a kid in a candy store that has been told they can have as much candy as they want.
While actual time travel isn’t possible today, I will rely on the other methods to keep me closer to the past. How about you? Would you travel to the past?