For most of my life I thought the stories my Grandpa told me about time traveling were just make believe. He told so many stories filled with adventure, traveling, wars, and love that I filed the time traveling stories into the fantasy folder without a second thought. Grandpa would begin each time traveling story the same way, “son, everyone can time travel. Each person just has to figure out how they personally do it. I time travel by using a toothbrush. I discovered that I time travel with a toothbrush because I hate going to the dentist. I always have a toothbrush with me to keep my teeth as clean as possible to avoid any dreadful encounters with that pesky, painful dentist of mine”.
Needless to say, while I thoroughly enjoyed these tales, I didn’t take them too seriously.
The first time I time traveled, I only did it on accident and I only did it half-way. That is to say, only part of me time traveled momentarily, but the whole thing was an accident.
I was playing guitar on my back porch looking at the stars and noticing a growing craving in my belly for fresh, wild strawberries. My mouth began to water and I started making up a song about picking wild strawberries with a Cherokee Indian on the banks of the Mississippi in 1491. The more I sang, the more I craved those fresh and wild strawberries from 1491. The more I craved those darn berries, the more acute and clear the images of picking them with the Cherokee Indian became. And then…
My eyes were floating in the air, with no head or body holding them, gazing at my floating and detached hands picking a strawberry. It was unbelievably painful, the detachment of eyes from head and hands from arms. My body sunk back limply in the chair on my porch with the guitar sitting on my lap. My eyes and hands bobbed lazily in the air over a patch of wild strawberries.
Thank-goodness my wife or son didn’t walk out onto the porch at that moment and see the ghastly image of their husband and father slinking lazily back in a chair missing his eyes and hands.
Although my wife and son were saved this horror, the Cherokee Indian picking wild strawberries on the bank of the Mississippi in 1491 was not. The noise of my hand snapping the strawberry from the vine startled the young man crouching down directly in front of me. I’ve never seen a facial expression like the one on his face as he jerked his head up from his gathering and was greeted by a pair of owner-less eyes and hands levitating above him. Shock doesn’t begin to describe the picture painted on his unfortunate face.
I don’t blame the young Cherokee for his response. I probably would have done something similar. The Indian simultaneously screamed, jumped forward, and started slashing my hands with a razor-sharp knife made from stone. The searing pain of the cuts registered in my brain (back in 2008) instantly over 500 years later. My body jerked violently throwing the guitar from my lap. The moment that the guitar left my touch, as it fell to the ground…Bang!
I was sitting back on my porch, head tilted back towards the heavens, and my guitar broken in two on the ground. No pain in my hands. Fear. Relief. Unquenchable curiosity.
Since that first accidental and partial time traveling experience, I have fully and intentionally time traveled 137 times. Seven of the times were spent time traveling back to 1491 to warn the young Cherokee Indian about what is going to happen when he goes gathering wild strawberries. But I kept making it worse. Each time I showed up into his existence, no matter how calmly and gently my attempts, I scared the living hell out of him. He slashed me with his knife on three more of the seven trials. So, somewhere in history there lived a poor Native American that a time traveler scared shitless on eight different occasions. I’ve since realized that I’ll just keep making things worse and have abandoned all together my attempts at reconciliation.
I don’t exactly know the science behind time traveling or really why it works like it does, but I know how I do it. Here’s what I know.
1. You have to be holding an object that has special significance to your individual life and personality (toothbrush for my Grandpa and guitar for me). And it will always be the same object.
2. You have to be craving a food and thinking about it (usually fruit or fish for me and my Grandpa usually included a craving for stewed snakes or fried frogs in his stories).
3. You have to pick out a very specific moment in time and picture yourself there.
4. You have to pick out a very specific place that you can picture clearly.
5. You have to picture yourself performing an action with a native of the time and place you want to go with the food you are craving.
Using this formula, I can travel to any place at any time in history. It’s easy for me, because I have several guitars, I’m a history buff, and I am in no way a picky eater.
The reason only my eyes and hands time traveled with out my body was because I didn’t really mean to do it. If I had meant to time travel, while combining the strawberry craving, the place, the time, the guitar, and the task of picking strawberries with the Cherokee Indian I would have traveled there as a whole man. Oh well, lesson learned.
You gotta mean it. Gotta really want it.
I’ve laid out the hard part of time traveling for you (by giving you the formula). All that you have to do is figure out your custom, personalized object designed to carry you.
One tip I would leave you with if you are fortunate enough to discover your object. If on any of your trips you get seriously injured, avoid traveling to any time near that time’s future. Every time I’ve tried traveling to any time from 1492 to 1515 (regardless of the place I travel to) my hands burn and the scars from the slashes made by the Cherokee Indian’s knife reappear on my hands.
That’s it. Good luck and safe travels.