I feel strangely serene. Actually I feel like an astronaut waiting in those final few hours. This metaphor may seem cliched and obvious, but it really does have this kind of feeling.
Maybe one of the later Apollo missions; Apollo 16 perhaps. Not the last not the first. Others have gone before, but so few. It was an extraordinary act; To step on the surface of another world. The later missions were regarded by the public as almost routine. And yet… still in reality utterly extraordinary.
Long before the Saturn 5 left the launch pad, the astronauts were in a system. They were scrubbed and cleaned out and tested and poked. They were given special low fibre food (usually steak). Eventually when the time comes, they are dressed by the others around them. Then they lead are to the bus that will take them to the foot of the immense rocket. They are guided and helped into the lift and ascend to the top of the structure. There they walk a few final steps and are helped into the command module. There they are strapped in and made ready for departure. There is a count down and eventually the incredible machine truly begins their remarkable voyage.
In the period before the launch, they of course have not really left… and at any point could (as unlikely as that might be) say “Actually I’d rather not go to the moon”, but the reality is the launch process begins days before and they have surrendered themselves to a process.
Before boarding the plane to come to Thailand, I was acutely scared and anxious of what comes next, but once I arrived I have felt like one of those astronauts. Now in a process that would begin my extraordinary journey that so few will ever appreciate.
Like those astronauts all along the way before and during their voyage, I have a large team of the best people in the world watching over me.
Like those astronauts, I will be forever changed by my experience.