There are two types of people in this world: those who feel compelled to label others, and those who don’t.
That said, if you had no choice but to travel in time to the future or to the past, which would you choose? I would explore the past. In a way I’ve already had little choice, having a historian father whose greatest joy was to spend vacations at presidential museums and other historic sites. Because of his mini-lectures I impressed docents and dates alike with my grasp of life in past eras.
Granted, living in an era without texting or elliptical machines could be a hardship, but more subtle advantages would abound. Imagine what you could learn about your own resilience and creativity when you fell in love with a confederate soldier who could not accept, nor even comprehend, your ambition to be a contestant on “Ninja Warrior.”
Historical fiction could, in fact, be defined as time travel sans Wayback machine or TARDIS. I gravitate toward the genre because I prefer to focus less on the physics and mechanics of trip than the conundrums my character will have to resolve in his time and place.
My current book-in-progress, The Reluctant Archivist, takes place primarily in the 1970’s–the age in which I grew up filing mental images of life at school, home, and our small town. My access to these facts far exceeds anything I learned in physics class.
My main character, Mill Fairbairn, grows to adulthood in the mid- 70’s and pursues his political ambition unaided by the Internet or Starbucks coffee. Because I want my readers to enter his world and find it fascinating, I take up this challenge: for one week I will avoid using any technology, eating any food, or doing any activity not available to Mill in the 1970’s.* And I will definitely fall short. You will hear about my lapses and mistakes, the book will improve, and you reap those rewards.
*to avoid losing my part-time job, I will use my computer and cell phone for work-related tasks only. Paying bills is not an optional activity.