There was someone new in the habitat last night.
Through my travels, I’ve met some incredible people that have opened my heart to parts of life I didn’t know existed.
It’s a fact that traveling is a no-brainer way to discovery and clarity.
Traveling in the habitat,however, means walking from one end of the room to the other. A solo trip means going to the bathroom, and those are limited in length if you’re lucky. International travel might be akin to walking to the second floor, complete with hostel-sized rooms.
So far, our time in the habitat has been busy, productive, and limiting in mobility. It’s been a joyous experience but certainly holds its challenges.
With a lack of diversity in our environment, and the absence of some of my favorite pondering spots such as coffee shops, driving, or taking long hot showers, it’s been more difficult than usual to have that feeling of discovery or creative sparks.
Fortunately, that changed last night.
Walking over to what we call the ‘seacan’, a part of the habitat which holds our batteries for running all our systems, stores dehydrated foods, and holds the workshop all-in-one, I stumbled onto another crewmember’s musical practice session. I apologized for the interruption, but they insisted that they did not mind, so I asked to stay and listen instead.
Before long, I found myself having lost track of time, sitting on a workshop bench, eyes closed, listening to the gorgeous Celtic tunes being cast out by the hands of a violin player.
Here, our physical exploration capability is limited, at least within the habitat. We have times to go out on ‘EVA’, leaving the hab suits, but it’s still in an enclosed environment. We are limited within a range by things like mobility and communication.
Instead, what I realized is that a lot of discovery here is internal. It will come from learning about our crewmembers, and from ourselves. Last night, I spent most of my day with the crewmembers I’ve been working with the last two weeks.
But I also met and spent time with a musician that I did not know lived with us.
The ballads transformed with each sequential song, some playful, others more serious, while I closed my eyes.
And for a few moments, I was not in a dusty old seacan surrounded by freeze dried vegetables, canned spam, and tang.
Instead, I was in Ireland.
Or I was in a good memory from my past.
Or I was having a creative clarity I haven’t felt strongly in a while.
I raced to write down thoughts as they poured out of my mind, a state of mind that felt natural and foreign at the same time, having come so often before but suppressed by a crammed schedule. I was overjoyed to have it back.
I imagine this is just the first discovery of many, and I’m looking forward to meeting the rest of my crewmates hidden under their layers.
There was a possibility of my being in Ireland, ‘back on Earth’, this year. I’m happy that I decided to be part of Mission V, and I couldn’t help but thank the Universe for deciding to bring the Irish culture to me instead.
Bonus: I’ve included one of the recordings, complete with 3D printing and fan sounds. I recommend a listen.