Guide to Traveling in Time with the Doctor
So you’ve watched a few series’ of Doctor Who; you adore Ten, are inexplicably attracted to Eleven and are getting quite comfortable with Twelve. By now you may even venture to call yourself a Whovian, but ask yourself this question: Are you ready to travel with the Doctor? If your answer is yes then this post is for you. I want to give you some advice as a seasoned Companion* for traveling with the Doctor is a daunting endeavor. It can be fun, exciting and, at times, downright dangerous, but if you follow a few simple rules it can also be a breeze. Just heed these tips and when you hear that familiar whirr of the TARDIS (it’s true, he leaves the brakes on) you’ll be perfectly prepared for adventure and heroics in space and time!
Tip 1: Pack Light
The Doctor can appear at any moment and though his face may change and the quirks in his personality may be different than what you're expecting, one thing is for certain, he does not like to be kept waiting. I suggest a small backpack filled with spare undergarments, athletic socks, wool socks, running shoes, and your favorite piece of clothing. That’s it! The TARDIS has all the practical things you need but it won’t have your favorite hoodie, you know the one that fits just right or those jeans that can work in a casual or formal affair – pack those, they’ll come in handy. Most of the time you’ll end up wearing the same outfit for days (months, years, centuries) at a time anyway so no need to fuss with a big suitcase.
One thing I will say is to wake up every day and think, “is this an outfit I’d be comfortable traveling in if the Doctor comes today?” If the answer is no, put on something else. The Doctor is not good at communicating his plans and his visits often come with no warning. So be ready to pack up and go at any time, though if you're special or mouthy enough - he may just let you move in temporarily.
Tip 2: Cardio, cardio, cardio
One thing you’re guaranteed to do in your time with The Doctor is run and if you’re not prepared or in shape, you may get caught by an evil alien and you do NOT want to get caught by an evil alien. Seriously, trust me on this, I know from experience if you want to travel with The Doctor, cardio will be your best friend. Luckily, there is also a gym in the TARDIS. It's near the pool which, incidentally, is also a good way to get in your cardio.
The Doctor likes to think of himself as just a traveler, which he is, but there is no doubt that more times than not you will find yourself in a spot o’bother when traveling with him. Whether consciously or subconsciously, The Doctor attracts trouble and often that trouble can be distracted by his traveling companion. While I have nothing but confidence in The Doctor and his ability to think his way through any situation, often there will be some fleeing before a plan can be carried out. Additionally, that plan may also include some running as an integral part. Cardio is your friend, you can never have too much cardio.
Tip 3: Always charge your cell phone
When traveling with The Doctor there is a good chance of finding yourself in mortal peril (see Tip 2). When that time comes you’ll want to talk to the people you love most. That’s why this tip is so important. If The Doctor likes you - and why wouldn’t he, he asked you to travel with him, he doesn’t do that for just anyone - he will set you up with an amazing data plan. Roaming is no issue and you can always reach those you love no matter the time or planet. Protip: The time difference in Raxacoricofallapatorius is 2 weeks so be careful when talking about current events, especially around election season or things can get awkward…
The Doctor can sonic your battery but eventually, you will need a charge so make sure that whenever you’re in the TARDIS you charge your phone. Whenever you leave the TARDIS there is no guarantee how long it will be until you make it back. Sometimes it’s three hours, sometimes it’s three months. It may seem like common sense but, trust me, it’s important. One night you’ll stay up too late playing Words with Friends and fall asleep with your phone and the next day the Angels will have taken the TARDIS and you’re working as a shop clerk in the 60s dealing with racist assholes. It’s ok, I’m over it.
Tip 4: Take notes and do your research
The Doctor moves fast and talks quick, which is great when you find yourself in troubling circumstances which, as I’ve said, happens a lot. However, sometimes you will find yourself alone facing an enemy and you’ll need to talk your way out of it, I’ve found a great way to do that is to regurgitate some of what you’ve heard The Doctor say in the past. Sure it may be nonsense but it should buy you some time.
Additionally, there is an amazing library in the TARDIS where you can find millions of books from thousands of writers from hundreds of planets. Not only are all of these books readable (thanks, TARDIS translation circuit), they are also indispensable. From those books, you will learn about cultures, laws and social norms that will come in handy while traveling. However, that's where the other part of this tip comes in, take notes and carry them with you. Keeping these physical notes with you will be very useful when you find yourself so overcome with fear or excitement that you must refer to them in the moment.
Now that you have all of the tools and tricks, you are ready to travel with the Doctor! Godspeed and Geronimo!
*Companion in my imagination only.