Time travel as tourism…where would you go?

This is another long post that ran in conjunction with the release of Bannockburn Binding (the individual book, not the series boxed set that was released a few weeks ago!).

The blog where it appeared has long gone. (Yet I’m still here.  There’s a sobering thought.)

I’m preserving the post here, instead.  — t.

I’ve been been running my website since 1999, and in that time it’s been a site, a blog, back to being a site, and then back to a blog again.  It’s a long story I won’t go into now because I wouldn’t be able to use polite words, and I already don’t know how to write short.  But one of things that were lost as a result of the blog/site/blog switch was a series of posts called “Historical Vacation Spots”.  Yeah, I’m that geeky.  I love history, and went into mourning when the bottom fell out of the historical romance market ten years ago.

But I was sneaky, and started writing time travel romances, so I got around it that way, but suddenly I was researching and discovering cool new locations in history again.  So I started a series talking about some of these really wondering places back in history and how great would it be to fire up the TARDUS and head back for a weekend trip, or a mini-vacation…?

Most of the series was lost in the switch back and forth, but there’s still traces of it left, one lingering post:  Really Cool Historical Vacation Spots: Constantinople .  That post is consistently in my top five ranking highest traffic posts every month.  So I’m not the only one who likes dipping into history, or the idea of a getaway cruise back into time.  One of these days I’ll pick up the series again, but the posts are pretty research heavy, so it’s not like I can crank one out every couple of days!

But all this reading of history and thinking about playing around in the annals of time, and all the books I was writing about time travel (I just finished another 400 pager) eventually led me to setting up a story world where people really did take vacations back in history.  That story world is the Beloved Bloody Time series.

It would be, well, seriously cool to be able to pick your vacation spot from anywhere in history and head back to check the place or the event out, wouldn’t it?

Or would it?

We read about some of the dramatic events in the history books and think it would be great to see those events really happen — like, say, the fall of Constantinople (just because I’ve been researching this one lately and the facts are at the front of my brain).  It sounds wonderfully dramatic and interesting.

But you tend to forget that people died by the thousands during the three days the Turks were permitted to pillage the city.  They were given a free hand to plunder as they wished and Constantinople, which had stood unmolested for six hundred years, and was the richest and most populated city in Asia and Europe, was methodically sacked and the Byzantines slaughtered.

If you took a jaunt back to check out the fall of Constantinople, there would be a real chance you could get caught up in that chaos.  The chances are very good you don’t speak medieval Greek, or Turkish, or Arabic or any of the languages that were common then.  Your clothes, unless you’re dressed by someone who knows the period intimately, will mark you as a stranger, and draw attention to you.  And you will certainly not know the customs and etiquette of the period, so I guarantee that by the end of your first day there, you’ll have insulted at least one person just because of your innocent ignorance of polite behaviour for that time.  They didn’t just whisper behind your back for such ignorance back then, either.  If you pissed someone off badly enough, you could end up with a dagger in your gut.

Plus, Constantinople at that time was a city that was falling.  Lawlessness, thieves, desperate citizens fleeing the city and looters looking for opportunities were rife.  The people of those times were far more used to physically defending themselves than you or I have ever have to even think about.  I know I wouldn’t want to get into a physical altercation with anyone from back then.  I have too many in-built ethical concerns and a brain that is almost hard-wired to worry about legal ramifications that would make me hesitate and pull my blows.  They wouldn’t think about that stuff at all, and I would loose, right there.

All this concern and worry from one simple little jump back in time, to one event.

Name any event, any place in history, and you’d have similar or even a completely different set of local concerns and dangers to deal with.

And that’s not all.

As soon as you commercialize historical vacation tours, you have to start worrying about the tourists themselves, too.

Think about the average crowd that pours into Disneyland every day, and the headaches that the staff there have to deal with:  Lost children, lost possessions, adults demanding their money back because the tour didn’t meet their expectations, or because they overpaid.  Lost passes, found passes, re-issued passes.   Rides that aren’t working.  Entertainment talent (read: famous historical figures) that call in sick, or just don’t show up when expected.  The list is potentially endless.

A time travel agency would have to deal with all this, too.

Then there’s administrative and legal ramifications:  Licensing is a biggie.  How does a time travel agency regulate their activities and who do they answer to?  What standards to they have to meet?  Safety standards?  Health standards?  The lack of health measure is pretty scary back in history…and smallpox is still around, too, just for starters.

Then, as with any new industry, there’ll be the crooks and crime syndicates that will try to muscle in and capitalize on the cash flowing through the system as it’s setting up.  Time Dons, anyone?

Still, being able to pay for a trip back into time just to check out a favourite historical event or place…well, I think it would be a hit.

In Beloved Bloody Time, a lot of these problems are eliminated simply because historical vacations are a luxury item.  The price tag attached to a time trip is equivalent to the sort of figures used when talking about Rolls Royce cars and luxury condos on Fifth Avenue.  They’re a once-in-a-lifetime event, and part of the package includes training in customs and behaviour when back in the past.  Even if the tourist is heading back for a weekend jaunt, preparation can take weeks, if they’re going far enough back in time.

But the vampires who facilitate the journeys are able to flip back into time whenever they want…with some limitations — there’s always a price.  Of course there is a price, or else it would be no fun to read at all!

Where would you go for your historical vacation?  Who would you want to meet?

[I could tell you where I would go on vacation, if I had a time machine…in fact, I already have.  All my time travel novels deal with places and times I would love to see for myself.  😉]



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Tracy Cooper-Posey
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