As I grow older, time of course seems to fly, and I find myself reflecting more on the opportunities I’ve had through my life. It’s funny how while we’re actually experiencing something we don’t, or maybe we can’t, always appreciate all aspects of it. It’s kind of like when I looked at Earth from space – physically more separated from the planet and all the people on it than I would ever be, but feeling more connected than I do when I’m right here in the middle of it. So now, as I look back on my journey to space, I think mostly of the people who supported and inspired me along the way - people who shared with me their passion for what they loved, who saw things in me I might never have seen in myself, who encouraged me when my own self- confidence was low, who supported me when it might have even scared them a little, and who inspired me to believe that nothing is impossible.
My parents were first to inspire me, although I don’t think I really realised it at the time. They always included me and my sisters in the activities they enjoyed. Mom sewed our clothes, macramed plant hangers, made pottery and hooked rugs; and Dad taught us how to boat and water ski, and he loved to build and fly small airplanes. We grew up at the local airport and I had my first exposure to flying, separating from our planet and being presented with a whole new perspective. Through these early life experiences, I developed my own life-long love of creativity and flying.
Growing up like this, it just seemed natural for me to earn my private pilot’s license, study aeronautical engineering at university, learn how spaceships fly, enjoy painting and woodworking and other crafts, and one day to work at NASA.
Find out what had inspired Nicole Stott to become an astronaut in the full version of the "Space for Art" column, available now to our subscribers.