What moment in world history would you like to see first-hand? As a time traveler you are just a spectator, you can’t get involved, you cannot get injured, but you have VIP access to anyone; where do you go?
I'd love to travel back to Elizabethan England, provided that long conversations could be arranged with such people as William Shakespeare and John Donne.
Yeah, yeah, I've been a literature teacher all of my life. Would love to walk the streets of the plague, see Fitzgerald court Zelda, see the Mississippi of Twain, be a groundling at the Globe, see the real-life Uncle Tom's Cabin, watch the Fire of London, stand on that grassy knoll, watch Shakespeare write, sit in Ford's Theater on that fateful day, ... blah, blah, blah.
But, oh my gosh, no contest, I would want to see Christ! What a blessing that would be! I don't think I would even want/need to specify the time in which I saw Him. In the stable at His birth?!? His later childhood and adolescence that no one seems to know much about?!? Any event of His public ministry?!? His entrance into Jerusalem?!? The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper?!? His death?!? His Resurrection!?! The mind reels!
Okay, but if I have to pin down one event, ... something that shows His great love for us, ... a true miracle, ... a time I could get close and see compassion, ... hmmm, ... I think I would choose to observe the miracle of the loaves and fish, as it is an event in all four gospels (Matthew 14, Mark 6, Luke 9, and John 6): Jesus on the mountainside with his disciples, the little boy with a heart for the people, Jesus' blessing of the loaves and fish (echoing the Last Supper), the miracle of multiplication (and the miracle of compassion), thousands fed, thousands of hearts changed!
I think it would kill me not to be able to interact (could I at least eat a piece of the bread!?!) but I'd want to attend regardless. Then comes the nagging fear that the reality would differ from my cherished images, ... but I'll save that for another discussion.
I want to be on the train as Abraham Lincoln is traveling to Gettysburg after the most horrific battle of the Civil War. I want to overhear his mumbling to himself as he drafts the Gettysburg Address and perhaps overhear what his conscious intentions were with the amazing, short speach.
I would love to be able to observe Jesus' time on Earth. He did so many things that were so completely against the expected standards of his culture - interacting with women, with foreigners, with tax collectors and all kinds of other unsavory characters. Watching how he did so and observing the reactions of all around him would provide great opportunities to analyze humanity in all its manifestations!
The time of Egypt while Joseph and the famine; Rome during the time of Michaelangelo; Elizabethan England; Revolutionary America; World War II Europe; with the explorers when they first set eyes on Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.
1920s America. I have always wanted to see a jazz club in its origins, drive a 1925 Ford, visit a speakeasy and watch Babe Ruth swat it out of the park, and date a flapper. Even though the sense of endless party the 20s have become associated with was a mirage, the decade just seemed full of possibilities, and I would have liked to experience those firsthand.
I've always been fascinated by the European High Middle Ages. I am not so much fascinated by knights jousting with each other and all that other Walter Scott stuff; but I would love to observe the life of a serf, the life of the lord of the manor; and perhaps sympathetically witness the spread of the Black Death. Most of all, I would love to accompany the Crusaders on the First Crusade and witness first hand the conquest of the Holy Land. I do not mean to imply that I agree with their motives or methods; but I would love to be an innocent and invisible bystander.
I am fascinated by Native American culture and history, so I would absolutely love to visit my native Great Lakes region sometime in the early 1400's, when Native American culture was thriving and developing without any interference whatsoever from European settlers. Seeing how the first Americans coexisted in harmony with the earth, practiced their religion, and interacted within and among their various communities would be so amazing.
I also think it was just be beyond thrilling to observe the virgin landscape of North America. Every time I visit a National Park, I just feel so moved and mystified at the beauty that that natural world possesses. I usually end up thinking, "Just imagine.. once, this is how things looked everywhere... A whole country of unspoiled wilderness... I want to GO THERE!" So, that pretty much sums it up!
That being said, I'm sure I'd be grateful for the ability to come back and enjoy things like heated water, bookstores, and the internet.
(I also wouldn't mind tagging along with bullgatortail to chill with The Beatles!)
I want to live in the court of Versailles during the reign of the Sun King, Louis XIV. I do not care whether the court was not hygienic nor if the wigs were filled with lice. I just know that this particular time in history represented the debauchery of an absolutist monarch who thought of himself as the center of the universe. I like this time in history because it was just extreme, snobby, exaggerated, and wild. I just read about it so much that it is hard not to feel curious about how it really went down. Imagine a life of complete splendour, luxury, and absolutely no worries. I sure would like to feel how it is like!
If I had a second choice, I want to be in the roaring 20's and I want to be a flapper of the first kind.
Being a Civil War buff, I would love to be present at the meeting of Generals Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson when they discussed their plan to divide the Confederate army and attack the exposed Union flank at the battle of Chancellorsville. Since I can't be injured or involved, the results would not change. It would still be one of the most audacious attacks in military history, and I would get to see two of my favorite military heroes.
My second choice? Spending an evening with The Beatles during one of their marathon recording sessions.
I'd go into prehistory. I'd like to see the first people migrating into the Americas so I could find out if they really came down by land or if they went along the shoreline in small boats. I'd like to have been present when the first human langauge was developing just so I could see what the contexts in which speech developed -- was it for hunting or for social purposes? There are all sorts of things like that where we have very little (or nothing) to tell us what things were like. I'd like to be able to go around and see how they happened.
Oh, the possibilities! I must admit that one of my favourite fantasies would be to attend a Shakespeare play in the actual Globe in Elizabethan England. It would be incredible to see how plays were staged and how they created special effects and so on. It would also be fascinating and no doubt rather smelly to walk through Elizabethan London and see everything that there is to see.