When I Was a Child, I Was a Jedi

Blue Balloon by sbisson, on Flickr Whatever happened to your five-year-old dream? I think you know what I mean—that longing to do something amazing, adventurous, and fearless. Nearly everyone I know had some sort of dream, whether it was becoming an artist, an astronaut, a deep sea explorer, or, in my case, Superman.

All too often we let go of those dreams as we hit adolescence—peer pressure and an unsupportive public educational system tear our dreams to shreds and assure us that they are unattainable or unsupportable. We give into the condescending assurance that real people go to real college and pursue real careers so that they can enjoy real retirement. Boring.

What if our inner five-year-old didn't ever let go of that dream? What if it bubbled back to the surface and started tugging at our pant leg, wanting to go out and play? What would you do?

One of the things I love about my dear and multi-talented Justin is how close his inner child rests to his heart. I knew pretty early on when we met that he was fascinated by space and that one of his life-long dreams was to visit it himself. A couple years ago, he learned about a project where anyone could send a weather balloon and a camera on a simple frame up into the atmosphere to take photos. Knowing that it would still be a while before he could make it to space in person, this became the next best thing, and it's time to make that dream a reality.

Introducing Project Zephyr

GOPR6451 by k2gxt, on Flickr

In researching what it would take to send a camera to space, Justin has reverse engineered an existing launch kit and sourced out all of the components necessary to make the journey. During the process, he realized that he could not only save costs by purchasing certain pieces directly, but he could also re-design the carbon fiber frame to use less material and upgrade the camera. Everything he needs for three space launches (two taking 1080p video and one taking intermittent still photos) is accessible for under $1000.

All of this was inspired by the creation of his latest piano album, Origin, and he's opened the project up to contributions from others who, like him, were told that their dreams couldn't become a reality. Those who donate will have full access to all the HD video and still images that we get from the camera, and if you contribute $20 or more, a copy of Origin will be included as a thank you.

Donate to Project Zephyr now.

It's time to embrace your inner five-year-old and pursue something extraordinary.

P.S. I'm still working on the Superman thing, but it's pretty certain I was born on Earth, so I'm not sure what my chances are there…

*The title of this post is from "Song for the Jedi" by Dionysos, a French punk-ish band that I enjoyed many years ago when living in France and Belgium. It seemed fitting.

The Mighty Rocket Awaits by Stuck in Customs, on Flickr