This Open Road

A season walking southbound on the Appalachian Trail

A Rock(et) Star Astronaut

I’ll get back to posting about my life in Japan soon, but lately I’ve been captivated by Chris Hadfield, the Canadian commander of Expedition 35 on the International Space Station. He was on the ISS for five months this year and gained notoriety for making space a little more accessible to the rest of us through his Twitter and Facebook feeds. He made a series of Youtube videos as well. He’s also a musician and had a guitar specifically adapted for use on board. He’s also written a book: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, which I’ve not read yet, but will as soon as I can find a copy.

I recently discovered the following interview which took place at a bookstore in California and was conducted by Pam Mandel, a travel writer and author of the blog, Nerd’s Eye View.

(The camera is a little off in the beginning; it’s eventually corrected and is worth the short wait.)

The whole interview is great, I think, as he talks about his life on the ISS, deciding to be an astronaut when he was nine years old (after watching the first moon landing on television), and plays Elton John’s Rocket Man with Pam. But at 30:00, he gets to the philosophical goods, which I find to be incredibly inspiring.

Some highlights: 1) have a plan for your life because you’re going to be ‘something’ whether you choose to or not, and as you go along nudge yourself toward your goal with each decision you make; 2) answering a kid’s question about how to become an astronaut (be in good physical shape – eat good food and exercise a little every day; get the highest level of education you can; and be able to learn a lot of complicated stuff quickly); 3) he eschews the concept of a ‘bucket list’ and instead looks at each day as an opportunity to fill his bucket. (I also have never latched onto the bucket list idea as there is a defeating sense of urgency attached to this concept. I want to be fully present each day, aware and engaged in each moment, filling my life with experiences, not scratching things off.)

Please find an hour to enjoy this whole interview. I think Pam asks great questions and brings out the essence of Hadfield’s story.

As if that’s not cool enough, Hadfield collaborated with Ed Roberston (of the group Barenaked Ladies) in writing and recording a song while on board the ISS. They wrote the song (I.S.S. – Is Somebody Singing) before Hadfield launched, but sang it together while Hadfield was on the ISS.

I love this video and the lyrics are beautiful.

Other recent interviews with Chris Hadfield:

Conan O’Brien Show

George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight


5 responses to “A Rock(et) Star Astronaut

  1. brickthomas November 25, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Great post and videos. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Jan Tobias November 25, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Thanks Robyn, just spent a few hours watching this interview and his interview with Jian Ghomeshi on CBC. What a guy!

  3. Aunt Carylon November 25, 2013 at 4:01 am

    Very cool!!!

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