Just the other day, when I returned home from over 20 hours of travel, I crawled into bed and closed my eyes. A few minutes went by. When I opened them, I had a really weird thought: What if all of this was a dream? What if what I experienced at the Space Studies Program (SSP) where I spent over two months of my life in Cork, Ireland just didn’t exist? I was laying there on my side with my head on the pillow just staring at my closet and I asked myself… “What if everything we just did over 10 weeks was a dream?”
Holy shit. What if I was right?
I sat up for a second and I looked around my room – nothing had changed. Everything at home in Sydney, Australia was just as I had left it. The bed was as comfortable, the weather was just as I remembered and I had a moment of bewilderment that overtook my little brain…
I thought back to all the experiences I just had at the SSP in Cork and it was all very surreal. How could it have been real? The late nights, the early mornings, the adventures… Then, I remembered having an incredible heart to heart discussion one breakfast with an astronaut. Nah, this doesn’t happen in real life. It must have been a dream for sure.
I started to flick though the memories in my mind like a deck of cards. I remembered dancing into the early hours of the morning with over 100 people. Their faces were familiar and I recalled some of the cool conversations we shared. I remembered what it was like to “Train like an Astronaut” and how a bunch of us spent time together watching a meteor shower. There were bonfires and salsa dancing and so many new friends that became intimate confidants. Surely my mind isn’t creative enough to make this stuff up?
I blinked a few times and took a deep breath; my surroundings felt really quiet. I remembered being in a giant hall where a bright, glowing moon was floating right in the middle of it. This is where Astronauts came to recall their experience on the International Space Station (ISS). Woah.
I had lunch with futurists… and stood at the Cliffs of Moher just gazing upon the vastness in front of me. There were laughs, tears, hugs and fears… everything I recalled didn’t feel like real life… Surely these memories weren’t real.
The quiet took over again…. and, as cliche as it sounds, this is where I realised what the sound of silence actually sounded like. I don’t mean in a depressing Paul Simon kind of way (sorry Paul)… this silence wasn’t empty – it was just… really quiet. I was finally quiet. This was a reminder that I had finally come full circle – that I was back to where I was supposed to be and all my experiences in Cork, Ireland were magical and wonderful and surreal. I was finally still.
How the heck did I get there? How did all this come about?
I spent a few days back in Sydney wandering around trying to digest what the heck actually happened and from what I could gather, I went on this incredible space adventure with 150 new space mates for about ten weeks. In my hypnagogic state, I’ve been trying to take it all in and recall what the heck just happened. I think it’ll take time but I did realise that what I did experience was an absolute whirlwind that could never be recreated.
To be fair, I haven’t stopped – I’m still running around like an idiot trying to finish a million things before I shove off on my next life adventure. I mean, there’s so much more that needs to be done and probably why I’m not fully aware of the magnitude of what I just experienced; I’m still riding the space wave…
I wish I could end this with something profound – but I can’t. I’m not sure if I ever will. There’s so much to think about. And, maybe that’s the thing… maybe we need to give MORE thought to the remarkable moments that we experience. Who knows, perhaps one day I’ll have an ‘Ah-hah!’ moment…. but, I don’t really think that’s how the world works. Right now, I’ll just leave what I experienced as some sort of incredibly surreal memory… because, that’s what it was and I am forever thankful.
An Aussie girl gone walkabout in the great big world!