I’ve been fortunate enough to receive some pretty good Christmas gifts in my time, but I honestly can’t remember one which is more exciting than this years’. Stuart has been extremely smug for quite some time about having Christmas well covered this year, and a few weeks ago he had to come clean on his plans as I needed to be privy to them to make the final parts happen.
The smugness was well deserved as he broke the news that I am now part of Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronaut program!
I can clearly remember sitting spellbound the first time I heard Sir Richard Branson speak at a Business Chicks breakfast in Brisbane in 2013, and I’m sure this was the video he played (or something very similar) while talking about Virgin Galactic. Apparently I leaned over to Stuart and said ‘I’m so going to do that one day’ – I definitely remember having that thought!- but at that stage it quite literally seemed as likely as flying to the moon on the way home from breakfast.
Fast forward a few short years and who would have thought that we would have had the opportunity to visit Necker Island twice since that breakfast, learn much more about Virgin Galactic, and reach a point where I am now actually part of the program.
But in a funny way, the reason that those things have come about illustrate perfectly one of the reasons why the concept of going to space appealed so much in the first place. We’ve always had a view that opportunities present by putting yourself in different environments, often in a way that stretches, challenges and requires some degree of difficulty to make happen, because that’s when your thinking changes and you see the world in a different way.
Space to me truly provides the opportunity to quite literally see the world in a different way, and I know the experience will deliver some profound changes to my life as a result. What they will be and where they will take us are yet to be seen, but its going to be a truly extraordinary adventure.
While I’m incredibly grateful for this amazing opportunity, I’m even more grateful to have an awesome husband who understands me so completely and remembers a comment that I don’t even recall making (as I said earlier, I definitely remember having the thought, but wasn’t aware I’d expressed it aloud) and turns it into a reality, plus two great kids who see this as just another way in which their mum isn’t behaving like a ‘normal mum’ but love and support me anyway.
I’m so excited to be a future astronaut, and I agree completely with the words that the Virgin Galactic team used in our initial briefing call – the ‘journey to the journey’ is going to be a brilliant part of the adventure, and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences and thoughts here.