Five Ways To Help Your Local Time Traveler

In the course of daily events, we pass by many people, ignorant of their personal challenges, their needs, their struggles. If we could take a little more time out of our day to notice those around us, we might see someone who looks out of place, who looks harried, or worried. We might see someone who keeps looking at people’s smart phones or watches, trying to find the date. We might see someone who is staring like a wide-eyed child at the unfamiliar place around them.

They might be a lost stranger to the city who needs directions, or they could be a Time Traveler who needs a little help to keep the space-time-continuum from collapsing on itself.


In case it is a Time Traveler, here are some recommendations:

1. Always carry the day’s newspaper, even if you typically read on an electronic device.

If you are carrying the day’s newspaper, and see someone try to look over your shoulder. Greet them warmly. They are probably on a time-emergency. If they ask you what the date is, tell them the day, month, and year, just in case. No need to aggravate their already difficult task.

Also, give them your paper. They probably need it to see if they are in the correct time-line. You can always catch up on the news later.

2. Offer them something to eat or drink.

In fact, a Time Traveler may have use of all three things.

Time traveling can be exhausting, with few places to stop and eat along the way. Some people’s bodies are transporting them and need to replenish nutrients. Others may just need a snack.

Three things you might always keep handy: Fish fingers and custard for your local Doctor, milk chocolate for someone caught in an alternate time-line, and Pepsi-Free for your roaming teenager from the 1980’s. With the Pepsi Free, I also recommend providing a skateboard or similar device, just in case the teenager needs a quick escape.

3. Bring along spare clothes of the modern era

The Latest In High-Flying Fashion

If someone is in era-inappropriate clothing such as a space suit or  clothes from the Renaissance, they could have just left a Sci-Fi Convention, a Renaissance fair, or they are a time traveler.

Avast ye, dude! I am but a Time Traveler lost among a thousand paradoxes of time itself.

If they ask about the date, then offer them a spare outfit. Help them blend in and feel comfortable in the modern world. If they happen to be Vulcan, give them a headband to wear. Have a hat or scarf available for other non-human creatures who may be visiting.

Traveling in a time outside one’s own can be disconcerting and upsetting. Having the clothes to blend in with the crowd will not only help them accomplish their trans-dimensional mission, but will also remind them of the goodness of humanity.

Special Note: If the time traveler is either completely without clothing or dressed like a British professor, RUN.

In the first instance, the time traveler is probably a killer robot sent back to assassinate a historically significant person.

In the second instance, the time traveler is probably the Doctor. That means trouble is about, and soon people will either die or disappear. While you might hang about to see if you can hitch a ride on the TARDIS, it could also be wise to run before you are turned into a Cyberman or attacked by a Dalek.

4. Do not ask them about the future

While knowing your future, or where to invest money, seems desirable, the consequences could be catastrophic. One small shift of knowledge could change your actions, which could have a warping effect on the entire fate of humanity. Whether for better or for ill, it is safest to leave the initial timeline as intact as possible.

5. Protect all butterflies from the Time Traveler

Similar to four, you want to prevent catastrophic, time-bending events. There is not enough chocolate milk in the entire universe to help civilization cope with the possible transmutations of the future.

How would you help a visiting or local Time Traveler? Would you join them on their adventure or not? What kind of ice cream would you offer?

Other Thoughts on Time Travel

To The Future From The Cutter Rambles

Time Travel from A Very Fine Library

Proof That Time Travel Will Never Be Invented

Always A Time Traveler’s Girlfriend, Never A Time Traveler

40 thoughts on “Five Ways To Help Your Local Time Traveler

  1. Pingback: Five Ways To Help Your Local Time Traveler | nsukhu

    • Possibly… it depends. If you read the Ray Bradbury story linked to on #5, you’ll see the potential far-reaching effects of changing the past. It could be nothing, and it could be anything.

  2. I’d let them know that slice-bread is not the best invention ever to sprout from the human mind. Peanut butter is.

    I’d probably give them a peanut butter-oatmeal cookie, too.

  3. I’d like to speak to someone from the past. Despite our historians’ best efforts only a miniscule amount of history is written down. So, in a bar, I’d award one drink + packet of nuts for each new thing we never knew happened.

  4. I question whether we should do some of these things for EVERY time traveler. Keep in mind that they may have evil intent, or are trying to restore a time line that just doesn’t happen to include one’s self, or they could warn us in advance if Disney actually does film episodes 7-9 of “Star Wars.”

    • Good point.

      I’ll work on methods for detecting villains or bad guys in our midst to help protect against this.

      As for the Disney Star Wars films, I think many people will be thrilled, many people will hate them, and many people will say, “Star Wars, isn’t that the show with the Vulcan?”
      I am still cautiously optimistic. As long as there is a good space battle, I’m good.

  5. Fun read. I do notice that the basic premise of time travel in your piece is that there is mischief about. Can we consider recreational time travel? Instances include the Doctor’s would-be trips to Barcelona and Appalapachia.
    Also, we could consider a situation wherein a class of students is brought back in time to study first-hand significant historical events, or even a horde of adults on a time tour (If they can do it to outer space, they can do it to time).

    • On one hand, many instances of time travel could be innocuous and merely for academic pursuits. On the other hand, mischief is more likely because it is difficult to not upset the time continuum, and because mischief makes for a better story.

  6. Hmmm, I was previously unaware of the possibility of time travelers looking over my shoulder. I will try to be more helpful in the future if I suspect someone is lost or confused. thanks for the heads up.

  7. I disagree with all of this. Encouraging time travelers by proving them with food, clothing, and spare newspapers only encourages their self-interested antics. In fact, I think we need to tighten security so they will self-deport to their own time. If someone at the antique store asked old Biff for proper ID, there would’ve been no need for BTTFs two and three. Think about it!

  8. Being a time-traveller myself, I would love to comment on this, but I already did so – three and a half days before you wrote it. Unfortunately, I then miss-placed said comment somewhere in the early part of 1974. Sorry.

    Nice post, though. Thanks,

  9. As the curator of a Twilight Zone blog (where themes of time travel are rife), I found these tips particularly interesting. The trouble that could be saved with a little foresight, right? Fun post!

  10. This is great! I forwarded it to my sister, who wrote the YA fiction, Time-Traveler’s Apprentice. Very creative! Gail at (thanks for stopping by!)

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