packing for the past


It’s easy to pack when you know where you’re going. Like, for instance, the beach. When you go to the beach, you pack your towel, your swimmers, your sunscreen…and so on.

Will I meet The Doctor?? A girl can dream...

But packing for the past?? What do you take? Especially if you’re like me, and don’t want to screw up the space-time continuum and stuff?

Not ALL time machines are larger on the inside than they are on the outside. I can’t tell you much about my time machine – I don’t want people to find out how it works. But what I can tell you is that there’s no room inside for me to take things along, just in case I need them. In fact, it’s pretty much me and what I’m holding at the time. So I need to be sensible about what I take.

I should add that I’m not spending a very long time in the past. I’ll be going back in time once a week for the next two-and-a-bit years, but I’m planning on coming back to the present every weekend so I can write my weekly report (because taking my MacBook one hundred years into the past would be a seriously BAD idea).

I’m taking my trusty overnight bag along with me for the ride. I know that I won’t be able to fit a week’s worth of clothes in here, but I’ll just have to rough it. I need to look inconspicuous, and suitcases on wheels weren’t invented until the Nineties or something.

Like I said, packing for a trip to the past is next to impossible. Especially when you’re only taking a tiny bag.

my notebooks, my favourite pen and my awesome star-shaped sticky notes! Hang on - when were sticky notes invented? The Eighties? Oh, crap...

Pens and notebooks are an absolute must. Because, like I said, I can’t take my MacBook. And I’ll have to go to the op shop and try and find some old clothes, so I don’t stand out too much. I don’t think they’ll have anything from 1900, though! I’ll just have to wear something very plain and hope people don’t notice me…

Because I’ll be reading lots of books over the next two-and-a-bit years, I’m also going to need my bookmark. Plus, for sneaking around deserted libraries in the middle of the night, I’ll also need a torch. It’s kinda okay – they were invented in 1902. I’ve just got to hope no one catches me with it before then.

Personal hygiene in the past is going to be…well, interesting. Spray-on deodorant, for instance, wasn’t invented until 1965. 1965!!! What did people do BEFORE 1965 to stop their armpits from stinking? It’s a good job I’m going to be avoiding human contact as much as possible…

Then, there’s my hair. Let me make this quite clear: I need my hair straightener to survive. The natural state of my hair is a wavy, floppy ball of utter mess. It takes around half an hour of straightening for my hair to look halfway decent…and hair straighteners weren’t invented until sometime in the Noughties. Fantastic. Add to that the fact that shampoo and conditioner weren’t invented until the 1930s, and I’m beginning to realise that, for around the first seven or eight months of my time-travelling adventure, I’m going to look like a complete freak.

Correction – a complete freak with unbearable body odour.

At least HAIRBRUSHES have been around since the Stone Age. I’ll have to brush my hair. A lot. Maybe I can fit in a hat?

Soap, thankfully, was invented. My toothbrush and toothpaste are okay, too. Just not the toothpaste with the fifteen different-coloured freshness strips, or the toothbrush with the ultra-bendy head and the bristles that go in every direction imaginable. I’ll have to keep things nice and simple.

my hairbrush and some plain-looking (but delicious-smelling) soap

I’ll be taking along my favourite teacup, of course. And some tea bags (invented in 1904), of course.

Like I said, I can’t tell you much about my time machine – I don’t want big corporations finding out and trying to send me back in time to prevent their competitors from, say, combining eleven secret herbs and spices, or mixing up coca leaves and kola nuts with carbonated water to create a particularly refreshing, brown fizzy drink. So I’ll just tell you that my time machine requires a cup of particularly hot tea to operate – and that’s all I can say about that.

my favourite tea mug and my bookmark

I’ll have to find the hot water and milk in the past. That’s okay. I’m good at sneaking around stealing stuff from unattended staff tea rooms. Just ask anyone who’s ever worked with me. Even though I’m only allowed one designated tea break, I somehow manage to slip in five every day, without my boss noticing. I’m a tea break ninja.

I’m going to need to do a little old-fashioned camping in the forgotten corners of quiet, forgotten libraries, so I’ll need to somehow squish my pillow into my bag, and my favourite jacket – it’s big enough to keep me warm, and I can use it as a blanket. And I’d better throw in something to snack on, too. I wouldn’t want to go hungry while I read. Just not something too modern. Microwavable popcorn in 1900? Not the best idea.

my lovely, daggy old jacket. When I wear it, it comes down to my ankles

Okay. I think that’s everything I’m going to need. As with any trip, I’ll probably be convinced the whole time that I’ve forgotten something reeeeally important. Or left the iron on…

I’m very conscious of not attracting too much attention while in the past. I’m sure no-one will notice a messy-haired, smelly woman, wearing possibly inappropriate clothes and carrying a bursting-at-the-seams overnight bag in one hand and a piping hot cup of tea in the other…? Right??

Maybe this time travel thing is a bad idea? Maybe it’d be better off left to scientists or the military? But I don’t care. I’m doing it anyway!


It’s nearly time for me to leave for my first week in the past. I’m SO nervous…

I know, dear reader, you’re probably terribly confused as to what this is all about, but I’ll explain more in my next blog entry. Promise!

I'm all packed and ready to go! How exciting!!!

Author: Michelle

Reader, writer, wannabe. Literary critic (with training wheels on). Blogging my way through the 20th century's classic novels in chronological order.

Something to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.