Holidays offer opportunities for people to experience things they wouldn’t normally get to experience.
Many people I know travel to Spain or other similar countries and they spend 80% of their time drinking and the other 20% hungover.
That is acceptable when you just finish school and it is new but by your twenties travel should mean more.
I try to do something on holidays that I absolutely cannot do at home.
You will remember the things only available to you when you travel. If you are in Rome see the Colosseum, it might be a cliché but it is still a 2,000 year old structure that only exists in Rome. You can’t visit it from home.
So what can I not do in Ireland? There is a lot but one thing I will almost never be able to do is see a rocket launched in to space. That is exactly what I saw in Florida.
Our bus arrived just before the launch. We pulled up as tanned tourists ans locals were setting up camping chairs in strategic locations. The immense heat hit us as we departed our air conditioned bus.
There was a real buzz around the place as guides pointed people towards viewing areas for the launch. We stood on a pathway as people started to count down from 10, as we reached 0 there was a silence. A stillness. Then a flash of light as a vibration traveled through the floor up in to my bones and rattled them for what seemed like forever.
The rocket, which looked tiny, rose and began to arc towards the crystal clear Floridian sky. Heads craned and eyes followed the rocket as it ascended before eventually leaving view and the earth’s atmosphere.
The stillness returned again before a murmur erupted and people began to pack up and leave the area. Surely the day was over? No, it was only just beginning.
The showpiece of NASA’s space centre is the Atlantis shuttle which was retired in 2011 following 33 missions in space.
Atlantis hangs proudly from the ceiling in the space centre and dominates the room. Flanked by other space travel artifacts, the the Atlantis commands attention.
Astronauts hall of remembrance, the rocket garden, educational 3D movies and more are all available at the space centre. It is a place rich in scientific innovation, historic achievements and it is still at the forefront of future breakthroughs.
After a quick lunch we tested the simulated rocket launch which was a fantastic experience and confirmed to me that I would be useless at travelling to space.
We got on an air conditioned bus out to the launchpad and buildings which house and build the rockets being launched in to space. We got off before entering another museum-like building which contained a treasure trove of space travel memorabilia.
There is a lot of walking involved and as the day came to an end I got the sense I had just visited a very special place. I knew history occurred here, it hung on the walls. I knew future space travel was being worked on here.
We see the big days of space travel but I got to see how the men and women at Kennedy Space Centre live this life and their work is everything to them. Their contributions and discoveries continue to educate us.
If you get the chance to visit their place of work please do! You won’t regret it.