time traveller’s kit

I’ve been fascinated by time travel for a long, long time.  I’m not sure if my interest in time travel stories preceded my initiation into “Doctor Who,” or if it was The Doctor who inspired it.  At any rate, i’ve been a fan of time travel stories since at least age 12.

So naturally i was immediately drawn to “The Time-Traveler’s Survival Kit” at Wyrding Studios:

Vintage thumbtack tin (containing a compass, button, bus token, key for opening tins of things, a spare cork, a map of Hartford CT, assorted reference papers, seeds, and the missing button from the shirt you left at the drycleaners last Thursday) set in antiqued brass wire with glass and carnelian and a large vintage lucite bead.

I would have bought it the instant i saw it except for the $150 price tag.  Ouch. I love Kythryne’s jewelry and i’m sure the piece is absolutely worth the price, but that is still way out of my budget.  Even during the 5th anniversary sale this past weekend when it was marked down by 35% it was still out of my budget.

“Bugger that,” i thought to myself.  “I’ll love a time travelling kit way more if i put one together myself.”

it's bigger than it looks
it's bigger than it looks

And so!

This is my favorite purse.  It has always been my favorite purse, but what was the perfect size for a high school student is about 50% too small for a woman in her 30s who spends a lot of time away from her house as she travels around her city.  I absolutely cannot shove even my smallest tea thermos into this purse and so there’s simply no way the purse will be used regularly.

But one does not simply get rid of one’s favorite purse.  One’s otherwise-near-perfect purse.  It might come in handy some day!

It might, in fact, be utterly perfect for a time traveller’s kit.  Large enough to hold a few essentials, small enough to be tucked into a larger bag.  Sleek and unobtrusive enough to fit into any time period, or to fit under a coat or cloak should the need for camouflage arise.

And now …. what to put in it?  I have a few rules i think should apply.

First of all, i’m not looking to fill this with new-bought items.  This is a general rule that guides most of my life, but i think it’s especially applicable in creating a time traveller’s kit.  A time traveller’s kit — or, at least, my kit — should not be a blank slate, waiting to have stories written on it.  A time traveller’s kit should come with bearing some histories and stories already.  Altho’ i leave open the possibility that occasionally i may see some completely brand new, history-less item that simply needs to be in the kit: i’m not ruling it out, just saying that used not new is the prime, guiding rule.

Second, items that are salvaged from my own past form the best starting point.  A map of my college town from when i lived there?  Yes.  An old skeleton key i found once that i have no idea what it opens?  Oh my, yes.

Third, items gifted to me by family or friends — especially items from their pasts — are likewise good.  The 1st thing i put into my kit is the mini binder notebook my grandfather always carried with him.  I don’t use it myself, and so it still has his notations on a carpentry project he was working on.

Fourth, however, dictates that this is a time traveller’s kit and not a time capsule.  And so, (a) as noted above is that occasional new items are okay.  Also, (b) items should have some purpose and not just sentimental value.  Granted, i specialize in attaching stories and sentimental value to even the most mundane items, so while i tossed in a small knife for practicality’s sake, it’s a somewhat special knife in that it was given to me by the projectionist who’s come to be known as my “brother” at the cinema — he thought i should be carrying a knife on me when i walk down Murder Alley after closing up the cinema at night.

(Note: No murders, to my knowledge, have been committed in this alley. But the lights do insist on flickering and going off whenever i walk under them, and i know a horror movie trope when i see one.)

Here’s a quick list of what i have in the kit so far and what i’ll be looking to put into it once i can find things in my disorganized apartment:

  • Gpa’s notebook
  • Pair of strands of fake pearls from my great-grandmother’s house
  • Map of my college town from when i lived there in my so very beloved apartment
  • Keys to said apartment, plus random skeleton key
  • Knife from H.
  • Measuring tape from Gma (tho’ that means i’ll have to find a measuring tape to carry in my regular purse, because i right now i carry Gma’s tape with me all the time)
  • My random collection of furrin monies.  (Altho’ i seem to have gotten rid of the wallet i used to carry in this purse.  No matter, i think i still have the Alice in Wonderland wallet i had when i was 5.)
  • Probably also my Oyster card from London.  (It needs to come out of my transit pouch anyway since it messes up the RFID readers when i try to scan my ORCA card.)

What else would you suggest?

I do fully plan to wear my kit — not daily, but on a not-infrequent basis.  Why, yes, this borders on cosplay.  Some day maybe i’ll flesh out my time travelling persona!  If i feel inspired with a name and backstory.  Tho’ since i do approach my daily outfits more like i’m creating a costume for a play rather than simply getting dressed, this is hardly out-of-the-ordinary for me.

If you see me carrying my time travelling kit, do feel free to come up and talk to me about it!  When i’m wearing my zine-maker’s outfits, i love it when people talk zines to me.  When i’m wearing my proofreading/editor outfits, i love it when people talk nit-picky language to me.  When i’m wearing my time traveller’s kit, i will absolutely love it if you come talk time travelling with me.

8 thoughts on “time traveller’s kit”

  1. Regrettably, I have no suggestions for other items you might include in your time traveller’s kit. A unbelievably crammable-into-small-spaces scarf?

    But you know now I have to collect items for my own kit. Or maybe one for my eldest daughter, who I think is a Dr. Who fan…
    OOOooooh, I could use an old altoids tin (of course I save those, who doesn’t?) to start it with.
    So, I may have better suggestions later, instead of smart-assery.
    Thank you for the inspiration, if you don’t mind me running off with it.

    1. Ooooh, definitely make one! Make 2 — one for you and one for ED. :) I can’t wait to see how yours turn out. We should definitely keep sharing ideas!

      PS: I save Altoids tins too, of course.

  2. Band-aids. At least one. For those inevitable paper cuts you get while in the library researching for your travels.

      1. I could just take one out of my travel toiletries kit — they’re already well-travelled!

        How silly of me to have not mentioned that the kit should have at least 1 watch. Possibly broken. Or, rather, “merely set permanently to some other time where you aren’t.” Possibly also a working watch. I gotta lot of watches and could probably toss in 3 or 4 without taking up much room. ;)

    1. Andy suggests a file of some sort (he was inspired by some movie protagonists who (half-heartedly) attempted to use a nail file to saw thru’ some handcuffs). I’m thinking a metal fingernail file. Especially if it has a pointy tip for jimmying locks.

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