Outlander-style time travel – Yay or nay?

With the TV series Outlander – based on Diana Gabaldon’s series – starting this month, I thought it was prime time to talk about time travel (as inspired by Steph on Twitter)!

The foundation of the story is that protagonist Claire accidentally falls back through time and finds herself in 1700s Jacobite Scotland. Not the most peaceful of times to be alive – but on the upside, there’s a strapping Scottish lad by her side.

(Minor spoilers follow)
It later turns out that Claire is one of a small group of people who can travel back and forth between their own time and certain periods in the past. They have to be at specific locations in order to do so, and the process is both painful and dangerous; there’s no guarantee it will go well. Yet after managing to return to her own, safer time period, she later decides to risk travelling back to the 1700s to look for Jamie.
(End spoilers)

So, specifically within the Outlander context – would I do the same if I faced the same choice today?

I’m kind of leaning towards no. Love is hunky dory, but I am a realist. I’d be unspeakably miserable in a more primitive time.

I love food. I’m also a rather picky eater. Potatoes may be my favourite single food item, but variety is the spice of life. No offence, Scotland of the past, but I would never willingly choose to subsist on your cuisine.

I do not like to rough it. I like indoor plumbing. Motorised vehicles. Modern communications technology.

I enjoy the miracles of modern medicine. Birth control. Painkillers. Healthcare.

I like gender equality – we’re not there yet but things have certainly been a lot worse in the past. I like voting and wearing what I want and cursing and working.

While modern society has its fair share of problems, the one thing I do appreciate is the rise of professional work. I was not made to do physical labour. I am great at sitting at a desk and doing things on the internet, and very little else. No way would I have done well even 100 years ago.

That aside, I’m looking forward to seeing how the TV series unfolds. I suspect the voiceover is going to drive me up the wall, but we’ll see…

8 thoughts on “Outlander-style time travel – Yay or nay?

  • Reply Jess August 12, 2014 at 07:36

    Haha, I won special VIP tickets on twitter from Time Warner (my local cable provider) for the NYC book signing for book 8 and was interviewed by them for some kind of promotional something after I got my book signed. One of the questions was which character would you trade places with and I was like….none! I’d never want to go back in time, I like modern conveniences too much. 🙂 I definitely wouldn’t want to go back in time permanently–if it was some kind Dr. Who type pop in and pop out pretty painlessly and easily–sure! It would be interesting to see. But no way am I living without hot running water for any kind of extended period of time.

  • Reply Cat@BudgetBlonde August 12, 2014 at 12:29

    Haha I love it when people misread tests and/or twitter messages lol!

  • Reply Lucinda August 12, 2014 at 14:26

    I’m with you. I like modern life. Imagine going back say 100 years – depending on the country, I may not be able to vote, own property, go to high school or university. My worth would probably be based on whether I had a husband. I would run the risk of dying in childbirth, or from a cut on my hand, or from the flu, asthma, or TB. Hearing news from other parts of the world, friends or family could take months. Travel would be difficult or out of the question. If I was rich, I may have a few more choices, but then I may have slaves, and I couldn’t stomach that. If I wasn’t rich, I would probably be working myself to the bone, even just for “home duties”. I may not able to read! Nope, I think I’ll stay in the present.

  • Reply Linda August 12, 2014 at 15:02

    I’d like to know how you are watching the show. In NZ is there a way to pay to get just the series? I can’t do that here in the US. It’s not available through the usual streaming services for purchase yet (iTunes, Amazon, etc.), so the only way to get it is to buy a bundle of pay TV channels that will cost me about $100 a month. I’m just too cheap to do that. I’m a big fan of the books and am hoping that the streaming subscriptions kick in soon.

    As for time travel, I do like my modern luxuries, but also think it would be useful to know how to do some things manually. You know, just in case the world really does fall apart. :-/

    • Reply eemusings August 12, 2014 at 16:13

      The first ep was available online, on the Starz site.

      Going forward…no comment. 🙂

  • Reply Michelle August 13, 2014 at 14:04

    I want to watch this…but I don’t have cable 🙁 Will wait for the library to get the DVDs.

  • Reply No More Waffles August 14, 2014 at 17:30

    Oh, man… Now I have to watch this series, just to see how they deal with the whole time travel aspect!

    And I would totally make use of a gift like that. Must be exciting to see how people were actually living back then. You could become the best historian that has ever lived!

    But if I had to choose one or the other, I’d pick our time in a heartbeat, no doubt! Can’t beat modern society and technology!

    Best wishes,

  • Reply Peter Ashworth April 5, 2016 at 17:04

    I’m a kiwi living in So. California. Outlander & Ray Donovan are the two best shows on TV. Outlander new season starts again this month. I would time travel, knowing what I know now, could set my family up for great success for generations.

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