As someone who writes about history, the question comes up from time to time – if you had the chance, when in the past would you travel back to? For me, it depends on my time machine.
If I could travel back as an invisible observer, safe from the consequences of what was happening around me, then I’d probably travel back to the Battle of Boroughbridge in 1322. I’ve spent a lot of time studying that battle, and I’d be fascinated to see it, but there’s no way I’d want to participate in such a pointless waste of life.
If I could travel back and take part but not change time then I’d want to go somewhere interesting but not too uncomfortable. Maybe Leonardo da Vinci’s workshop, a coffee house in enlightenment London, or the Paris student quarter in the leadup to the protests of 1968.
If I could change the past… That feels too big. What if I went back and changed something that stopped me and my friends from existing? What if I trod on a butterfly and as a result George R R Martin never wrote Game of Thrones? What if I accidentally burned down the police box that inspired Doctor Who?
Some risks are too big to take.