Out of this World
“Dot.calm” by Jane Silverman, Member Since 2012
With the start of a new year (and a big birthday approaching), I thought it was about time to update my bucket list… I opened the Bucket List Maker app on my phone (doesn’t everyone have one?) to add a few and happily check-off a few more.
The phrase “Bucket List” may have been made famous by the 2007 film of the same name starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, but it has been around for centuries; it has a sly reference to death by hanging and the executioner literally kicking the bucket out from under the feet of his “hangee”. Contrary to this moribund image, in my mind, it’s a joyful opportunity to crystallize all my dreams and aspirations into a manageable magical want-to-do list. There is something about seeing them in writing that makes doing them seem tangible and possible.
My Wish List
My ever-growing list has an array of doable dreams including learning Mahjong and seeing the Pyramids, the Grand Canyon and the Hermitage in Russia; the Bucket List Maker app has a “done” button to check off items I have accomplished like walking on the Great Wall of China or having drinks and a chat with the Queen of England (a story for another day).
My latest list addition is one I never would have dreamt might be possible in my lifetime. #13: Staying in a Luxury Space Hotel. Many of us are world travelers, but here’s a chance to be an outof- this-world traveler: Starting as soon as 2022, the Aurora Station Luxury Space Hotel by Orion Span orionspan.com will bring four passengers at a time for a 12-day adventure of a lifetime with the ultimate room with a view. Port Out Starboard Home takes on a whole new viewpoint from 230 miles above in a fully orbital zero-gravity hotel with large observation windows, personal sleeping quarters, and great food (or so they say). The friends and family price of $9.5 million (and a refundable $80,000 deposit) covers the launch and a threemonth Astronaut Certification program covering basics like eating and using the toilet in space (don’t ask!).
Curious? The space race is ON: other companies offering to wine and dine you with 16 sunsets a day (and maybe even a game of Quidditch) include The Gateway Foundation gatewayspaceport.com, Elon Musk’s SpaceX spacex.com, Bigelow Aerospace bigelowaerospace.com, and JeffBezos’ Blue Origin blueorigin.com whose tagline is: “We are committed to building a road to space so our children can build the future.”
For years, Space Adventures spaceadventures.com has been flying private citizens through Russia to visit the International Space Station (ISS) and even go for a spacewalk (price tag approx. $15 million per person); now Nasa is letting tourists/ private astronauts buy rides for only about $52 million pp (suddenly Aurora Station is looking like a bargain). If you want to bring out your inner geek, Download the ISS Spotter app (or visit spotthestation.nasa.gov) and track the trajectory of the International Space Station – the app alerts you to when it’s overhead – a supercool thrill for visiting kids and grandchildren to share in a collective celestial moment of awe.
Star Lite Star Brite
While stargazing, be sure and download the Night Sky app icandiapps.com, which puts a planetarium in your pocket. Day or night, you can point your device skyward to see the heavens beautifully come alive with a 3D map and Augmented Reality. Search for constellations or even the International Space Station and immerse yourself in the stars.
Travel Made Simple
One day, perhaps a travel app like Kayak kayak.com will include space hotels, too; Kayak is one of my go-to apps for travel — it searches hundreds of travel sites all at once to find the best prices for flights, hotels, cruises, rental cars, vacation packages, and restaurants in 60+ countries. It also has a futuristic Augmented Reality (AR) tab to scan your carryon bag to see if it will fit in an overhead. Cool!
“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.” – CS Lewis
“If you are in a spaceship that is traveling at the speed of light, and you turn on the headlights, does anything happen?” — Steven Wright