I want to be an astronaut when I grow up!

Virgin Galactic’s successful rocket-powered test flight

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m not sure why adults ask kids this question. I do know I often had to provide an answer. My most frequent answer was “a teacher” with an occasional  “lawyer” or “interpreter” thrown in. Looking back on my life I fulfilled the prediction of becoming a teacher and enjoyed it immensely. From that beginning, my work career was a journey of twists and turns that led me to my true passion, the world of travel and helping others experience our world.

There’s still one experience I want to add to my CV, traveling into Space, and I’m hot on the trail of achieving this goal! Many of you know I represent Sir Richard Branson’s company, Virgin Galactic, and am an Accredited Space Agent. I can help you reserve a seat aboard one of Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital Space flights, which Sir Richard predicts will begin in 2014. I’ve seen the mother ship and in 2009 I witnessed the unveiling of the spaceship in Mojave, California, along with 800 other guests from around the world. Last year Michael and I toured Spaceport America, a magnificent and Earth-friendly structure in New Mexico.

Wherever I go I ask people if they want to take a flight into Space and I tend to get varied reactions. Once, after being pulled over for speeding, I asked the police officer if he’d be interested in a space flight, he gave me a quizzical look and shined his flashlight into my car, probably thinking I might be drunk—why else would I ask something so “out of this world”?t

Originally, I applied to become an ASA (Accredited Space Agent—don’t you love when I talk Virgin Galactic-ese?) because my brother loves all things Space. Let me elaborate a bit. I asked the Director of Astronaut Relations what were the physical requirements of the passengers, the future astronauts. My brother lives with Parkinson’s Disease and I wanted to know if he could experience Space aboard Virgin Galactic. That conversation sparked my interest in learning more about VG and the more I learned, the more I wanted to be able to sell their space flights. So, when I had the opportunity to apply to become an ASA, I jumped at the opportunity. I’ve proudly represented Virgin Galactic since 2007.

Why do I want to experience Space? I’ve read about and heard astronauts speak about a change that happens within them, a philosophical shift, a feeling of connectedness, of all of us on this planet being on “Spaceship Earth.” When Virgin Galactic’s ship is 67 miles above Earth and passengers can see that thin blue line that separates our planet’s atmosphere from Space, they will experience that moment, that “a-ha” of the necessity of us passengers aboard Spaceship Earth to work together to survive and thrive.

Watch this video and learn how experiencing Space changes people from within. Disclaimer: It may motivate you to reserve a seat on a Virgin Galactic flight:

OVERVIEW from Planetary Collective on Vimeo.