Question of the Week: If you could pick a different time period to live in, what would it be?

+15 votes

Image may contain: one or more people, text and outdoorWe talked before about having a time machine to travel back and visit with your ancestors, but what if you went back and couldn't return? When and where would you want to land?

in The Tree House by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (404k points)
edited by Eowyn Walker
I would love to be able to "time hop" to visit various relatives but I think the Paleolithic to the Neolithic would have been a fabulous time to live. A very abundant time with so few people around. And why did our ancestors build monuments such as Stonehenge, the Ring of Brodgar, etc.
I would not want to live in a different time period as I would not have the same parents and experiences. In another time period my dad would have died from appendicitis when a small child, as would one of my young grandchildren,

Like a few others, I would like to be able to time travel by choosing a time to go, but incognito where we could observe without actually interacting or changing history. How fun to be able to go back and see my grandparents and my dad when he was a kid! To see my grandparents as young people, dating or newly wed, and with children.

I'd love to be able to take my grandkids back to those times, and also to my times as a child and relive some of those wonderful days, if even for a couple of hours at a time.

IF I had to go back to a time period, I think being born in the 1920's, 30's or even 40's would have been okay as the 40's, 50's, and 60's would have been fun times to experience.(I was born in 1959 and did experience the 60's, but most as a small child). But, my dad was born in 1936 and would not have been my dad- so I am glad this cannot happen. I have an awesome dad who is now 81 and I am so grateful for him.
If I went back in time and could not return to the present day I would pick the May 8th, 1945. V.E. Day. World War 11 ends in Europe. A day of jubilation and celebration. I wasn't born until 1957, but I loved hearing stories and seeing family photographs about the 1940s while I was growing up. I loved the music, the movies, the tv shows, the cars and the styles of that era.
I believe it has been established that these places were built for astronomy and worship purposes. There were many false religions back in ancient days, just as there are now, and most of them worshiped the heavens (sun, moon, star patterns as even back in ancient times Orion and other constellations were well known). We know this from ancient writings in the bible and other writings by the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Greeks.

Any people group who did not know Almighty God, the Creator of this world and all that is in it, worshiped false gods such as Baal, Astarte, Isis and Anu. Many worshiped and deified ancestors such as Woden. And many cultures worshiped nature and had a pantheon of gods to depict various items in nature (river, mountain, sun, etc).

Many of these false religions are still alive today under the guise of new names, or are a continued worship from ancient times (such as Taoism).

It is fascinating to know that our ancestors were not just dumb cavemen or hut dwellers, but highly intelligent people who created and built such amazing structures all over the world that defy the knowledge of today, Places such as those you mentioned, the Great Pyramids, Chichen Itza, and Moai (statues on Easter Island), to name just a few.
I would go back to a time when I would have most of my ancestors to ask all the questions I never got to ask.
I don't think I want to live in any other time frame. BUT!!! I would like to time hop and talk to my ancestors, especially the brick walls and controversial ancestors and collect their children and siblings. So there could be no argument!!
I would like to go back to the late 1700's to talk to my gggggrandfather to find out more about him and my family.  I can't find any records for him now.  His name was Abraham Franklin.
It was pretty cool that you used my great grandmother's picture with her husband and daughter in their buggy as your picture for the question!

I'd like to pop in and out of various time periods - but honestly, I have lived in one of the most amazing periods imaginable.  As a kid at our ranch house we had an old oak wall phone that was on a 13-party line.  Our number was 2 shorts and a long....  Now I have a cell phone that does everything but housework.  Phone, email, texting, surfing the net, calculator, timer, alarm clock, stopwatch, camera, and a great flashlight!  When I was in high school I visited the computer room at the University and it took a building to do less than this phone does.  I like now!
Lola, There is probably more computing power in that cell phone then in nearly the whole world when we were in the space race. Can you imagine sending a man to the moon on something similar to a Commodore 64? 64 kb data at 1 or 2 khz.  And now we talk in terms of gigs and teras.
I would live in th 1880s and be a pioneer settling Nebraska as my ancestors did.
Despite my utter addiction to modern comforts and technology, I think the one era and place I would love to be live in (if forced to relocate) would be Athens of the 5th century BC. To be a witness to much of the science, literature and philosophy that would influence the world for millennia would be utterly fascinating. Not to mention that democracy was just coming into its own there as well.
Like Sharen, I reckon it would be cool to see Ancient Mesopotamia - the cradle of civilisation where so many of our technologies began and so many of our cultural myths and stories can be traced to, who would have thought those stories could still be present in so many cultures 5000 years later
I believe many of those "cultural myths and stories" are still with us today because they were not myths, but truth. For most of the 20th century historians and archealogists believed Abraham was just a myth and did not exist because the city of Ur was considered to be a mythological city. Then the city of Ur was found and Abraham was no longer considered just a myth. I know many stories could be myth, but I think as we find more ancient sites that those myths will be proven to be true.
I didn't mean to imply if they were real or not - it's not my place to do so or the right space. I used the word myth in its definition of culturally important story/narrative/explanation, not to mean true or false

32 Answers

+12 votes

I'm sure all of us love to know more about past times: Habits, people, events, etc.

If I had the chance to pick "When" to land the time machine I'd choose the end of XIX century to be a witness to Tesla and Edison great inventions and their "War of Currents" (Alternating current vs. direct current).

Edison even filmed the electrocution of an elephant using alternating current and then released the film to be viewed in their coin-operated Kinetoscopes to make people afraid of having AC at home.

Tesla said:

The present is theirs; the future, for which I really worked, is mine.

The time gave the reason to Tesla.

by Rubén Hernández G2G6 Pilot (713k points)
What a cruel thing to do, to electrocute a living thing for science. I'm sorry, just my opinion.
You are so right. All we do is in the name of science and yet only at the end of your life do you realize how stupid and ignorant we are to the ways of the total creation. I am sure that of all the species that have ever existed we are the most dangerous not only to ourselves but to the entire creation ( big bang theory and all other theories of creation religious and otherwise)
+11 votes
I would actually like to go back to the West Country of England (Cornwall. Devon and Somerset) during the Napoleonic wars and watch Plymouth when it was a huge Naval base defeating Napoleon. I would also hope I can find my brick wall. An ag lab by the name of John Burrow and ask him where and when he was born and who his parents were!!
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (957k points)
+14 votes

I would like to go back to 1777 and help "Molly Pitcher" in the American Revolutionary War. 

WikiTree profile:

Her husband William Hays enlisted and became a gunner in the Pennsylvania Artillery. Mary eventually joined her husband as a campfollower during the Philadelphia Campaign (1777-1778) in New Jersey, eventually wintering with the Army at Valley Forge.

Legend says that Mary was carrying water for the troops at the Battle of Monmouth in June, 1778, but when her husband the artilleryman was wounded, she abandoned her water jugs and took up loading the artillary in his place. Source:

by Dorothy Barry G2G Astronaut (2.6m points)
+14 votes
Even though it gets hotter every year, I wouldn't want to live in any other time.  I've read too much about all the ways you could die not that long ago.  In my hometown cemetery, dozens of people died from typhoid; dozens more died in childbirth; children died from whooping cough; 62 people died in the 1918 flu epidemic in a tiny town (although that one could still happen now).  People lived hard lives, and death was ever-present.  My great-great-grandmother Mary was born in 1859.  She was both lucky and a good nurse, because she only lost two of her children while ten survived to adulthood.  By the time she died in 1950, it wasn't so critical to have good genes and luck; medicine had improved so much from the time of her birth that you could expect all of your children to survive infancy (thus, you didn't have to have twelve kids).  Now we live in a time where those of us in the first world have multiple devices which connect us to anyone in the world.  We have libraries on our desktops.  Extremely unlikely science fiction concepts such as self-driving cars are just around the corner.  Surgeries can keep people in their 90s alive for a few more years.  Social ills still abound, and economic inequality may never be fixed, and hey, I'll really miss Tuvalu when it drowns in ocean waves, but still, how could any time be better than this one?
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (205k points)
If I had a time machine, I'd wabt to pop in to different times to bust my brick walls, but to live, I'd jump 100 years into the future.
The ultimate adventure, will it be better or worse? I think I'd like to jump 100 years ahead too.
I've been re-enacting the War of 1812 (a red-coated Canadian unit) for 35 years. When people ask me that question at events I often reply, "The past would be a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to die there." Too many advantages today - starting with toilet paper. However, every "what decade" quiz come up 1920s for me. Love the clothing, music, and swing dancing. (I'm more used to a later 6-count/"East Coast" style with some 8-count steps thrown in, than Charleston or Lindy Hop.) But there's still a lot from that decade I wouldn't care for.
I'm with you - no jaunting to the past without a large bag of antibiotics and other modern meds.
+6 votes

I've always felt that I was born in the wrong era.  I would really prefer to live in the Regency period in England. I would be a bit of a rebel and a definite bluestocking though because I couldn't conform to all of the societal expectations.  

I could never make up my mind which part of England  I would live in, but because I would be a bluestocking--who would of course study and record family lines--I could simply travel often (including to Scotland).  

And if I go back in time, I would love to maintain some of the knowledge I have now such as the benefits of hand washing, clean water, the evils of corsets, and why bleeding is so incredibly stupid.


by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (825k points)
+6 votes
I would love very much to be back to late 1800 so I could meet m grandparents that live in Hong Kong unfortunately my mother was not very open about her family and really have so many question, special about my great grandmother who was Chinese

Would it not be nice if we could travel in time just for some hour I certainly would wish that
by Susan Laursen G2G Astronaut (2.8m points)
I think it would be fun to time travel back to various times to see what it was like and people were like.
I hope you are able to find out more information about your grandparents, and especially your grandmother. I bet it would be very interesting. I have some several x's great grandmothers whom I'd like to know more about, especially a 3 x's g grandmother who lived through some very painful and odd circumstances. I'd like to know more about those circumstances and how did it change her? How did she deal with the heartache? How did it affect her relationships with family? The best of luck on your journey!
+5 votes
I'll start by saying how much I love Wikitree.  I would love to go back to the time of Christ.  Just to see know what he actually looked like.  Eoropean paintings of him make him look very European.  Wouldn't he have looked more Arabic.  My second choice would to go back to the time of the American Revolution.....but to go back with today's medical skills and alieviate some of the needless suffering,


Thank you Wikitree for posing this question.  Love Wikitree.

by Irene Pantalone G2G6 (7.1k points)
Jesus was a Jew from a long line of Jews whose ancestry trees are all recorded in the bible, I would assume he would have been very Jewish and not Arabic. He most likely had brown skin, darker hair, and dark eyes. The bible says he was not much to look at (was not good looking) and did not have looks to attract people to him. (Isaiah 53:2).

Whenever Jesus slipped away in the crowds to avoid people he was easily blended in with the crowd, which means nothing set him apart from the rest of the people.

The majority of the people spurned him as they were looking for a King (in a regal sense) who was going to destroy their enemies and set up his throne. Instead, Jesus set up His Spiritual Kingdom once he rose from the dead. Over 500 people saw him after his resurrection,

No, Jesus would not have looked European as he was a Middle Eastern Jew. Because He is God Incarnate we should not have depictions of Him anyway- and especially to venerate as it would be akin to idol worship.
Well nothing visible to the natural eyes; for sure: But, OH when He Spoke !!!
+3 votes
For sure not in the past.  I look to the future.  I have hopes that mankind will solve all its problems.

by James Luper G2G6 (7.2k points)
+2 votes
I would time hop.  I have  no favorite
by Mary Gi G2G6 Mach 2 (27.8k points)
+2 votes
I would go back to 31 ad.  I want to see Jesus.
by Harvey Wardle G2G5 (5.9k points)
+3 votes
I was born in 1957. I am a child of the space era and the computing era. I was too young for the Mercury program and most of the Gemini program but I watched Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the moon on live TV and stayed focused on the incredible developments in space ever since. I have lived through the birth, development and explosion of the computer era. I have had access to commercial air travel and lived through the Concorde era (never flew on one, sigh).

My entire career was in the computing industry with most of it actually getting paid to do what I love which is to develop computer software. I also spent about a decade providing reasonably high end computer training as a contractor for IBM who flew me all over the world (literally around the world once).

The most notable downside of my era would certainly be the ever expanding environmental crises (this is a reference to much more than climate change). Terrorism is a side show compared to WWI, WWII, and many many earlier wars and times of strife. Living before the era of public health systems or the era of antibiotics - no thanks!

If I were to change anything, I would be born about 10 years earlier so that I could experience the early space age.

I get that being born at a different time means different family and friends and what not but worrying about that seems to miss the point of this exercise. I have focused on what era I would best like to have experienced and assumed that either my family and friends would be 'magically' the same people or that they would be 'equivalently' great people.
by Daniel Boulet G2G2 (2.0k points)
+4 votes
The 1600-1800s

On the North American Continent. Specifically the Appalachians & Smokey Mountains & live in a log cabin (or T-pee) whatever the case may be.

I am not big on crowded cities, I like forests & wilderness & small towns/villages where everyone knows ALL their neighbors. A time when property was 100+ acres, not small lots where you can spit and hit your neighbors house from your own front porch.

A time when morals & respect where a virtue.
by Cynthia LeTullier G2G Crew (790 points)
+4 votes
I would liked to have lived between 1900-1915, a very interesting time period in the world with Women's voting issues and the new inventions.  I would have liked to see the Worlds Fair in St. Louis and Chicago.
by Connie Machacek G2G Crew (320 points)
+3 votes
I'd love to be dropped into London in the late 18th century, hanging with Johnson and Boswell at their favorite haunts.
+3 votes
I would love to go back 120 years, in my present location, and find out where the great Sousa Band would be performing next. Then, I would travel by steam train to that location, stay at a comfy Victorian hotel and await one of the greatest musical experiences of anyone's lifetime. Having to remain in 1897 on, I would, in addition to being a 'Sousa groupie', become active in a wholesome church group and support myself with teaching and handyman skills. That's quite a dream!
by Unknown Ewing G2G Rookie (290 points)
+4 votes
I would not mind being born again in the same time period and like the old saying "know then what I know now" so that I could correct all of my mistakes and learn as much as possible.  I think I am even more curious about things today than I was growing up.  My favorite question has always been, why.
+4 votes
Personally I would prefer to go forward in time, to when space travel and visiting other planets becomes possible, also with the ability to talk to other beings and compare similarities and differences to the past.

But if I had to choose it would be from 1900 to 1960 so I could visit the times of my grandparents, parents and also the time when I grew up in the forties and fifties as I had the most wonderful childhood ever, something every child deserves to make them resilient in life and be able to survive the curve balls life throws at them.

Because of war and shortages, the people I knew, were very clever and enterprising, families lived together, worked as groups, to better the lives of others and improve the future, people shared, there was not much money but a lot of, love, hope, togetherness, anticipation, opportunity, and although there was sadness also there was a lot of fun and good times to remember.
by Heather Douglas G2G6 Mach 1 (12.1k points)
+4 votes
It would be very hard for me to choose, but probably, I would choose the 1800's. I would love to be able to see my ancestors that I don't have pictures of and ask so many questions.

It would be so interesting to talk to even ancestors further back, to see what their lives were like, hear what their voices sounded like, just everything! Who knows, I might not want to come back anyway! Oh, but I would also not want to leave my current family behind.
by Marsha Baker G2G4 (4.0k points)
+3 votes
2117, a century on should produce interesting  developments.
by Bob Warner G2G1 (1.5k points)
+3 votes
November 7 1966 - February 6 1969 - 18 October 1972

Birth dates of our 3 children - in those days most blokes took our spouses to hospital & then went back home or to work - would have been nice to be present.
by Roger Davey G2G6 Mach 2 (29.2k points)

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