About Me

I'm an Explorer, Engineer, Writer, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur. I write about exploration, travel, and science. 

Any views expressed on this site are my own.  

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The Question: Why?

Inspire 5 06_jun2011 [slideshare id=8728407&w=425&h=355&sc=no]

(Transcript from JSC "Be Inspired" speech given on June 7th, 2011)

First, a really brief intro on me, how I got here and why I want to talk about the question why.

I grew up in a town in the suburbs of Chicago called Westmont. That was my house for 20 years. I had a basketball hoop and a pool and no brothers or sisters to steal my toys. My first pet was a goldfish, named Speedy. (This is not an actual photo, just a representation). These are my parents. They bought me the goldfish. And, ya know, also raised me. I grew up wanting to be a paleontologist first—which might have been the first sign I was going to be a true nerd one day, I had this HUGE dinosaur thing—then I wanted to be a professional fisherman, then an NFL running back, then an architect, then for about 3 days a wrestler / rock star / snake charmer… probably a good thing that was a phase… and then I wanted to be an astronaut and that one kinda stuck for awhile.

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Dreamy, Spacey Salmon

From "The Dream of Spaceflight", by Wyn Wachhorst:

(One of my favorite books and probably the only reason I ever got hired by NASA way back in 2003 as a co-op- because I had just finished this book before my interview and was pumped up on wild, abstract ideas and dreamy imagery and poetic quotes... come to think of it, good thing the interviewer didn't think I was insane or drugged...)

"We are fascinated by the roiling surf for the same reason we are transfixed by fire: we too are matter asserting itself as energy. So are the fires of the night sky, where our being was written long before planets were born or oceans condensed or mortal cells emerged from primordial soup. The communion of cells formed a lung, a heart- an eye. And the world awoke.

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"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are built for." -John A. Shedd

Touche, John A. Shedd. Touche.

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Reigning Follies

"A contempt of the monuments and the wisdom of the past, may be justly reckoned one of the reigning follies of these days, to which pride and idleness have equally contributed." -Samuel Johnson

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Who Will You Become?

From "What Should I Do With My Life?", by Po Bronson, Dec. 31st, 2002, article on fastcompany.com:

"One of the most common mistakes is not recognizing how these value systems will shape you. People think that they can insulate themselves, that they're different. They're not. The relevant question in looking at a job is not "what will I do?" but "who will I become?"

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