With travel as common as it is in today’s world, it has become almost routine to be in a unique place for business and never even realize where you are. Hotels and meeting rooms can all blur into something that leaves you comfortably numb. But I have to tell you, it can be worth shaking off the numbness even if it is very short. Thursday was a great example of that.
I was in Fort Meyers, Florida for a conference of a professional association I am in (the Ag Relations Council). My day started early with a board meeting and went right into a panel discussion. I was the one who introduced the panel. Pretty standard day even if I had to miss some of the sessions for a bit of computer time (Please tell me I am not the only one that has this happen to them.)
I was working away realizing I’d be passing on the group dinner when a friend sent a text “make sure you look n-east @450 2 c if u can c shuttle.” Hmmmm…. I wasn’t sure what he meant so was glad when he clarified, “the space shuttle is launching today and we are supposed to be able to see it at about 450.” Wow! I turned on CNN and sure enough they were doing a countdown. I put my nose to the grindstone determined to take a short break around 4:45 pm. (You can read NASA’s release NASA’S Shuttle Discovery Heads To Space Station On Its Final Mission for more info.)
When I got outside, I looked to see who else was there for the event. I walked around a bit of the hotel & finally saw two guys looking up from the parking lot. Had to wonder if they knew where to look…. I pulled out my iPad and used StarWalk to see which way was northeast. Something so simple confirmed I was on track. Though i have no idea why i didn’t open the NASA app I have. I was getting info from them though as The twitter feed from @NASA let me know there were some issues causing delays.
The guys who were a little bit out of shouting distance disappeared and I realized it was just me. After a while I saw a security guard nearby in a golf cart. And then after taking a few photos of flowers I saw it.
Obviously I didn’t feel the heat from the burn. I was, afterall, 140 or so miles away. But how cool is it that I could see it? Granted, knowing what time and what direction to look made all the difference. It was incredible. I had a tiny brush with the space program even if it was more than a hundred miles away it reminded me of that excitement my brother, sister & I had when we visited Cape Canaveral as kids. The world has changed so dramatically since we were kids… I can only imagine where we have the potential to go now.