Colonel Chris Hadfield, Rock Star Astronaut, Visits Prince George

Last week's blustery Saturday morning, people of all ages curved around the side of the Prince George Exploration Place to meet a Canadian icon. Retired Astronaut, Colonel Chris Hadfield, had landed in Prince George to promote his new book,  An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything. Colonel Hadfield became famous as the first Canadian to do a spacewalk, and for commanding the International Space Station. While on board, his youtube videos, tweets and Reddit Ask Me Anything sessions reinstilled a curiosity in space that had long been forgotten.

You can check out Colonel Hadfield's youtube channel here:

Over two hundred and fifty people, young and old, had gathered in the rain to get their books autographed. One of the employees, Chad, breathlessly told me that Hadfield had been on a whirlwind tour, having arrived in Prince George that morning from San Diego, and heading to Halifax the day after. He had no time in between any of his commitments: Hadfield stayed long past his allotted autograph session, moving off of his stage and among the crowd to ensure that no book was left unsigned. I even saw him sign a little boy's fighter jet, telling him, "that's an F18. I used to fly those. want me to sign it? Here, hold it by the other wing, so you don't smudge it." He was the picture of warmth, his kindness and courtesy with each person exemplary of the best of what Canadians hope to be. If I sound kind of in love, it's because I kind of am: this man was just so wonderful. He'd be an exceptional person even if he weren't an astronaut. He took the time to create a moment with every single person there. I saw him hug a girl who called him her hero, and I saw an old lady running away cackling that he was cute after he shook her hand. It was pretty special to see a whole community get so united over one marvellous person.

I really would recommend that you read his book: even if you're not interested in voyages in space, he's a beautiful writer and it has some excellent lessons. The Prince George Public Library has five copies available for loan. If you're not much into reading, definitely check out his youtube page, he does a lovely cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity.


I'll leave you with some words by Colonel Hadfield :

Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you'd be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don't let life randomly kick you into the adult you don't want to become.