Or more accurately, when would I go? This is the last post of my Time Travel Week and is the culmination of all my research and thoughts about time travel lately. If I actually did have some kind of time machine then where, or when, would I actually go to?

There are lots of scenarios to explore but let’s start with a simple but big question. If I had to have a one way trip, with no chance of returning, would I go to the past or the future?

One way trip: Past or Future?

If you had asked me this question years ago I would have said the future with no hesitation. I’ve always been intrigued as to what technological marvels will be around in the future. Hoverboards, self-lacing shoes, you name it. But as I increasingly get older I’m concerned about what the future may hold. Another world war, chemical warfare, nuclear threats, increased terrorism, global warming, increased population, food shortages, depletion of fossil fuels. If you’re a pessimist then the list goes on. And more and more films are painting this bleak painting of the future instead of the shiny silver jumpsuit future that we used to think about. But I’m normally an eternal optimist so I will assume that humanity prevails and everything is fine and we do become a cool, sci-fi tech playground. If that is the case though, if you go to the future you are going to be a complete novice at everything that the whole populace does in their everyday lives. Just think about if you had come from 1980 to today and had to navigate round things like the internet, social media and DVRs. Probably quite tricky. But imagine that times 100 and that’s what it could be like if you jump to the future. You would be a fish out of water, a man out of time and could feel very helpless and alone in a future world. It could be very exciting too though!

On the other hand, as a retro head these days, going to the past certainly does hold an allure. I’d love to go for a quick visit, but to stay in the past is a whole other kettle of fish. I’m not sure how long the rose tinted glasses would stay on if I had to live there with no way back. First of all if you went back to somewhere like the Middle Ages etc then I just think you probably wouldn’t survive. Death through either violence or disease would probably come fairly quickly. But, for the purposes of this website at least, let’s consider going back to the 70s and 80s. There are plenty things that would be cool to go back to see, some of which I will discuss later in this post, but I think if you had to stay there permanently then little things would become very frustrating for someone used to living in 2014. Small things like only having one TV in the house, possibly no remote control, less comfortable cars, no mobile phones, no internet, no Google maps, no DVRs. It would be refreshing for a short time but I think it could be hard work. Also, what on earth would you do when a big disaster was on the horizon, for example when you come round to 2001 would you try somehow to prevent 9/11? Even if you felt that you should tamper with changing history (and you might come to the conclusion that you shouldn’t, even if it saves many lives) then how would you stop it? You wouldn’t have the skills to interfere with the terrorists and if you told any authorities you would probably just flag to them that you are a lunatic or somehow linked to the terrorists. And then you would have to sit and watch it all happen again. Maybe sometimes not knowing the future is a good thing.

I think if I had to choose to live permanently in either the Past or the Future I would optimistically choose the Future.

Voyeur travelling

One method of time travelling I discussed in my article on 11 Different Ways to Time Travel is voyuer travelling. Either just to events in your own life or to events anywhere in history in the world. And these would be viewed in a third-person perspective, purely as an observer, like Ebeneezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol.

Personal Voyeur – I think this form of time travel is a great way to relive happy memories and just get a refresher to make sure you are remembering things in the right way. In my own lifetime I would love to view certain retro events such as…

  • Christmas morning when I got my Optimus Prime from Santa. It would be great to watch again how that day happened and how excited I was.
  • Other situations include some of the great family holidays we had, particularly one in Portugal. There are several funny things from it that we still refer back to and it would be great to relive some of those memories.
  • One childhood memory in particular I’d love to go back and relive is going to a toy shop in Glasgow called The Jolly Giant. This place was incredible. The stuff of dreams. I think it shut down in the early 90s but it will always be open if I have a time machine. Going back would be amazing.
  • I’d really like to go back and relive the time that I first met my wife. It was a pretty special night and it would very cool to relive it again knowing what the future holds!
  • There are so many other happy family memories that it would be great to revisit, which I won’t list here.
General Voyeur – But it would be a very different proposition if we could view any event at all in history. There are so many things in history that would be just incredible to watch, without having the danger of actually interacting with the people of that time. Very hard to pick one or two.

  • I do have to say that I would love to solve the mysteries of things like how the Pyramids were made, or how the stones at Stonehenge or Easter Island came to be. Would be great just to nip back and see what actually happened.
  • Pyramids

  • Romans – Part of me has always fancied seeing what the Romans were actually like, with their cool armour, big feasts and indulgent ways.
  • Leonardo da Vinci – Of all the individuals in human history, Da Vinci is probably the main person that I would really like to see what he was like and how he worked.
  • Wild west – Hey, who wouldn’t want to take a quick peak to see just what it was like in the time of the gunslingers.
Extended trips

My last category is where I can physically travel in time and stay for a few days, months or years but always have the option of coming back to my present at any point I want. This is probably the ultimate. You can go anywhere but you can also interact and actually enjoy first hand the things that you go back to see. I was trying to think of some main geek landmarks as well as some things I would just personally like to see. And I kept it to all things that were post World War II. It turned out to be quite a long list. I’m sure this would just be the tip of the iceberg too…

  • Star Wars in the cinema – of all the cinema experiences in the 70s and 80s I think the one I would most like to see would be Star Wars. Perhaps in its first week at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, but even just in any normal cinema in the UK or the US just to be there when people first see the Star Destroyer come over the top of the camera and witness everyone’s reactions. Other films that I did see as a child in the cinema but would love to appreciate again first time round and see people’s reactions are Ghostbusters and Back to the Future. I remember the whole cinema singing the Ray Parker Jr song and clapping along while we waited for Ghostbusters to start. And I swear I remember that Back to the Future finished with the words ‘To Be Continued’ which made the audience all groan in frustration. I’ve since heard that the theatrical release didn’t have those words and they were only added to the VHS release but I’m wondering if perhaps the UK theatrical version did have the words added because we normally got movies about 6 months later than the US. So I want to go back and see if those words were there or not!
  • Star Wars

  • Star Wars ILM employee – I think it would be incredible to stay for a while and actually apply for a job on the Star Wars original trilogy production. Personally I would apply for a role within the early team that became Industrial Light & Magic. The special effects and visual effects team who developed the cutting edge blue screen effects and stop motion motion blur techniques which revolutionised cinema in many ways. Working with the likes of Denis Muren and Phil Tippett would just be absolutely awesome.
  • Industrial Light & Magic

  • Marvel employee – Another work situation that would be incredible to be a part of is back when Stan Lee was in the prime of his life (isn’t he always though?) in the early 60s when all the main Marvel characters were being created. Working in the Marvel Bullpen back when Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko were working must have been an incredibly creative time. Excelsior!
  • Stan Lee

  • 1969 music scene – The late 60s music scene must have been incredible. Obviously Woodstock was in ’69 and that must have been a hell of an experience, but I would love to have gone to some of the early Doors gigs in the Whisky A Go Go bar in LA, many huge bands in the Marquee Club in London (including The Rolling Stones), Jimi Hendrix’s early gigs in both London and the US. There are obviously so many other bands and venues around that time that must have just been amazing to see in their prime.
  • Whisky A Go Go

  • He-Man origin – As a big Masters of the Universe fan I’d love to settle for once and all the argument about who created He-Man. The debate between Roger Sweet and Mark Taylor is already being made into a movie – Toy Masters. Being there first hand would be quite interesting, perhaps as an intern at Mattell.
  • He-Man

  • 80s hip hop and break dancing – I’ve always loved the breakdancing and hip hop scene so I think it would be awesome to be able to at least witness some of it during it’s peak in the 80s in New York. Watching breakdancing and b-boying in places like the Bronx, and also going to see groups like Rock Steady Crew, Run-D.M.C. and Beastie Boys live, whilst rocking my Adidas.
  • Breakdancing

  • Arcade – One thing I would definitely want to do is go to an arcade back in the heyday of arcades around the early 80s. One I’ve heard a lot about is the famous Chinatown Fair in New York, so I’d probably check that one out back in its prime.
  • Arcade

  • Filming of the A Team – The TV scene in the 80s fascinates me. It would be great to be on the set of one of the main shows and see people like Glen A. Larson work their magic. But the one show I would probably pick to somehow get on set, maybe as a key grip or something, would be The A-Team. It epitomises 80s TV and it would be fascinating to see just how George Peppard and Mr. T actually got on back in the day.
  • The A-Team

  • Space shuttle launch – I always wished I could attend a Space Shuttle launch in Cape Canaveral. I know people who have been and it sounds amazing. Sadly that particular event won’t happen again. There may be similar launches in the future but I’d still love to go to one of the shuttle launches in the past.
  • Space Shuttle Launch

  • WWF – There are several sporting events I would like to have attended such as seeing Michael Jordan in his prime but in the sports entertainment world of WWF wrestling there are several moments I would love to have witnessed first hand. The biggest of these surely must be to see Hulk Hogan slam Andre the Giant at Wrestlemania 3.
  • WWF

  • Disneyland opening – My wife and I are big Disney fans and this one was her suggestion which I whole-heartedly agree with. Attending the opening of Disneyland in 1955.
  • Disneyland

  • San Diego’s first Comic Con – I’m eager to attend SDCC one year but I know it’s a bit of a mission and pretty exhausting these days. It would have been great to go it in the first year or one of the early years where you literally got to speak and hang out with some of the big comic book artists of the day and people like George R.R. Martin were attending as members of the public themselves.
  • San Diego Comic Con

  • Moon landing – In terms of witness historic moments of recent years, this one has to be right up there. To be there, glued to a TV set when they landed on the moon, would have been incredible.
  • Moon Landing

  • Bruce Lee – Another film job I would have tried to get would have been to be on the set on some of the Bruce Lee movies and witnessed what the legend was like in real life. Hopefully I could have witnessed one of his famous kick demonstrations like this one below that he’s performing on James Garner.
  • Bruce Lee

  • Las Vegas in the 60s – I love Vegas and it’s obviously pretty commercial now (but still awesome) but I’d love to have been there in the early 60s when the Rat Pack were all there.
  • Las Vegas

  • Street Fighter – I’m a big Street Fighter fan so it would have been pretty cool to have been in the room when this happened (skip to 2m 40s)…

There are probably so many amazing things that I’ve not even considered. If you had a time machine where would you go? Hit me up in the comments below with any suggestions you may have.

And thus ends the Time Travel Week. I hope you’ve enjoyed all the posts this week. Please do let me know in the comments or on Twitter so that I know people are reading it. I’ve had a blast writing it all. It’s really reignited my love for the time travel genre and I hope to do a similar week next year in October or November. Jump in your time machine and I’ll see you then soon!


* Normally I try to add the source of any images I use on my blog but unfortunately I was so rushed in writing this article that I didn’t manage to make a note of where I got all of them. Apologies to anyone whose image I have used and not credited.