Society Out There

How Soon Is Yesterday?


Whether it’s Tenet, The Terminator, or 13 Going on 30, time travel is a staple across modern fiction, showing up in every genre. So, as the future continues to turn into the present at a steady pace, we took it upon ourselves to ask the tough question: Who’s ready to take the Leap?



Three-fourths of Americans are willing (either “very” or “somewhat”) to travel to the past. On the other end of the timeline, 64% of respondents report they are at least somewhat willing to go to the future. When compared with Black Americans, significantly more (13%) White Americans are willing to travel back in time while 5% less are willing to travel forward. White Americans spent too long in the Mess Around Era, and aren’t as interested in the Era of Find Out.


Those primed to go back in time, when asked what their holiday would entail, overwhelmingly chose activities that had to do with their own lives. Many Americans (35%) stated they want to relive events in their own lives and 26% said they would use the trip to meet their own ancestors. While maybe a little self-indulgent, this preoccupation with our own pasts has been present since the beginning of time... travel fiction.



Witnessing famous historical events was the third most popular activity for those willing to travel to the past—16% of respondents report they would theoretically be down for a trip to see the pyramids being built or to root for Russell Crowe in a gladiatorial fight. Only 4% of respondents said they would use the trip to see extinct animals. Presumably walking with the dinosaurs doesn’t have the appeal it used to.