## One free trip to space or free international travel for life?

Some weeks ago, I got an email from a source-of-ideas-for-blogs service called Plinky, from which I have already picked some good ideas to write about in posts in the past (on my dream job, charities…).

The question I liked very much this time from the email was:

“Would you rather have one free trip to space or free international travel for life?”

Having already confessed that my dream job as a child was to be an astronaut and knowing how much I enjoy travelling, this question really posed a dilemma.

But after some seconds, I rationalized it and I started making some numbers (how couldn’t I?).

During the past years I have made about 2 long trips per year with Luca abroad, plus some shorter trips apart from commuting back-and-forth to the Netherlands. I have perfectly recorded how much each of the international trips is costing us, since I already made a budget some months beforehand and played with Luca to see how much my initial budget deviates from reality in the end (from 22% to as low as 7€ on a 2-week trip to Japan). Let’s say we spend about 6,000€ per person a year on international travels.

If now I am 30, and I could expect to continue travelling abroad till let’s say 70, this makes 40 years of international trips. As we grow older our trips will most probably become more expensive. This is a trend we have already experienced in the past 4 years and I expect it to continue to hold true, even more so during the some 25-30 years in the future when we will have to include offspring in the travelling expenses tally (by then I expect we won’t have to commute so much but we will have to do so from time to time to visit grandparents)… Let’s use 8,000€ per person per year to play on the safe side with this calculation… so in 40 years that would make ~320,000€.

On the other hand, how much does it cost space travel? Rich individuals who have travelled in the Russian Soyuz have reportedly spent between 20-35M\$, or about 25M€. Taking this figure the conclusion is clear: I would rather receive a free trip to space and I’ll gladly continue to pay for my yearly holidays for the rest of my life.

But then again, Virgin Galactic comes offering suborbital flights at a rate of 200k\$, or about 150k€, if that is the case, I would rather receive a free lunch in down-to-earth international travel for a lifetime and pay for my stunt with the SpaceShipTwo.

Finally, given the choice, I’d go for the first and highest value option: an orbital free flight in the Soyuz.

Filed under Aerospace & Defence, Travelling

## What was my childhood dream job?

Some days ago, I got an email from a source-of-ideas-for-blogs service called Plinky, from which I have already picked some good ideas to write about in posts in the past (on charities, advice…).

The question I liked this time from the email was:

“What was your childhood dream job?”

I don’t know whether I have been posed this precise question many times or not, what I know is the answer to it and that I have given that answer many times to other questions.

When I was a child I wanted to be an astronaut. I don’t know exactly why, but that was my dream job. Surely, I can recall memories of toys related to space, such as a model of the Challenger that my brother and I played with (I presume it came before the accident), or toys related with Star Wars, etc.

This passion, among other factors, led me to study aerospace engineering, and then work for Airbus, which is not working as an astronaut but is still working in the aerospace business. Many times, I have been asked why I studied what I did, sometimes by corporate HR quizzers, and this is what came as a response.

Would I still want to be an astronaut?

Sure! But, yes, I am not pursuing it. I guess I am just waiting for the moment when commercial space flight costs not 20M\$ but about 100k\$, and if by then I can afford it I guess I would pay for enjoying a stunt out there.

Filed under Aerospace & Defence

## What charities do you support?

I got an email today from a source-of-ideas-for-blogs service called Plinky. Today’s email was a summary of the ideas for the last week. I liked 2 of those ideas; I’ll answer them, one per post.

“What charities do you support, and why?”

The first thought I had is “two: Kiva and Doctors without Borders (MSF)”. Then I developed the thought further: “Why?” The explanation that was going to follow is already written into another post, but thinking again about it made me realize that I only support one charity: MSF, as Kiva is not strictly speaking a charity.

Kiva gives a financial service, loans, to entrepreneurs that wouldn’t get them from commercial banks. The same situation happens with us: how many banks would not grant us a loan to start a company in Spain at the moment? If we found an investor, we would deem his action as an investment, a sound investment, not a charity act.

The charity act when lending money through Kiva is in fact the little donation you may choose to give to Kiva itself (to cover their operating costs) and the giving away the opportunity of earning some interest on that money… not much:

• At the moment I put in Kiva ~250\$ a year,
• The interest I could get out of this would be ~4\$ a year (if well invested may be 20\$),
• The 250\$ may pay for about 12 loans of 25\$ (assuming some of them will be repaid within that year and the money is re-loaned) and I generally give a 5% donation to Kiva on each loan… that is another 15\$…

So out of these two concepts I give only 20\$ to charities!

(Luckily I give some more to MSF… why? You can guess it)

Filed under Helping others

## Writing without using “e”

About a month ago I said that on occasions you would find a post which original motivation would link to Plinky; a portal that throws away thoughts for blog posts… this is a post of that kind.

Plinky, calls for writing a small story of 100 words without using a non-consonant you saw in an old post that was just most common in this linguistic communication I am using in my blog. Now, I am at about four fifths of finishing this task; I just lack two strings of words to bring this post to a final and assuaging: This was tough!

… off to a following post :-).