I meant to write this post after about a week, but things have been pretty nuts. I had family come to see me get out of the Dome, and we’ve been on vacation being tourists ever since. I’ve slowly, one-by-one, had to say good-bye to each of my crew mates and that kept getting more and more real, and more and more sad each time. And I’ve been doing crazy media interviews early in the morning or late at night nearly every day since getting out. I think yesterday was my last 4:30 am wake-up call though, and I’ll have one more when I get to Edmonton, but the dust has pretty much settled.
As crazy as the past 10 days have been, there have been some really special moments mixed in. Going up to the Dome with my family & Zak & Aleks was great – got to share “Mars” with them. Zak and I gave Aleks the run-down on maintenance and improvements we think the Hab needs before the next mission. And then we all went over to Mauna Kea for sunset. Aleks got us young ‘uns up to the summit, and it was spectacular. One of those beautiful, breathtaking experiences that I got to share with a few special people. I, in typical form, forgot my camera, and so relied on the kindness of my traveling companions to capture the moment for me. Here’s the photo I got from my cousin Colleen:
The next day was the last with Sophie and Zak, as well as with my friends Andrew and Carolyn who came for a bit of a Hawaiian vacation with me as an excuse. We had dinner on the beach, there were torches and sunset and music, good people and good conversation and good food and drink. Just one of those perfect nights.
I flew to Oahu with my family the next day. We had some great moments there as well – swimming with turtles on my birthday, and a lovely afternoon snorkeling at Hanauma Bay. Now we’re back on the Big Island, but the crew is gone, and in a few days my family will leave, and my last task/adventure on the Big Island will be hosting a sleep-over with the PISCES STARS girls up at the Hab on the weekend.
When I went into the Dome, I was worried about several things that were unfounded – the food and the workouts. The things I missed were sometimes things I didn’t expect, like trees, or YouTube. Getting out, I was worried that perhaps things would be over-whelming, or that I’d have trouble re-adjusting, but I haven’t had too much trouble dealing with internet or people again. The things that I’ve enjoyed most, or struggled with most, have surprised me a bit coming out as well.
So things that I’m enjoying most: nature, in all it’s forms. The turtles, the snorkeling, the sun (even though I’m dousing myself in SPF 100 every time I step outside). That first run at the ranch with Zak, even though my cardio has tanked. Sunsets. Sounds of life everywhere, whether it’s the city or the ocean or the wind in the trees. Salads whenever I want. Hanging out with friends and family.
Things that I’m missing the most: my crewmates. My workout buddy – I haven’t done any P90X since getting out, although Zak has – I’m a social soul, and I like having a buddy to workout with. I think it’s going to be hard to motivate myself on my own. But I am looking forward to getting home and having my bike back. Workouts may just be different again for me on the outside. I miss having all my food delivered to my door, and a selection of healthy snacks at my fingertips whenever I’m feeling hungry. And I really liked not having to do the social media thing, and the delay on all communications. It’s weird sending an e-mail, and having a response almost instantly! And then I feel pressure to also answer immediately now. At least the data on my phone isn’t working, so I have some excuse to be slow still.
So those are my rather rambling impressions on getting out, and some of the magical moments that I’ve had here on Earth during that time. I miss some bits of my life on Mars, but I’m excited to be back too, and looking forward to seeing what comes up next in my crazy, Earthly adventures.
Thanks to all of you for reading along, and following the Martian* adventures we’ve been having! It’s meant a lot to know there were people out there, interested in what we were doing, and enjoying the ride with us. So thank you, thank you, thank you!
Signing off (for now), Martha/Mars/Foxy