Conquering the moon, Greek style
Nik Halik wants to be the first Greek to walk on the moon. Here he shares with Neos Kosmos his dreams of outer space
As a child growing up in Melbourne's Airport West, Nik Halik (Halikopoulos) read Herge's Destination Moon and dreamed of walking on the lunar surface, just like Tintin.
Now Nik told Neos Kosmos that he could make it to the international space station as early as October and if that happens, his next goal is to walk on the moon. That would cost $100 million.
In any case Nik hopes to be the first Greek civilian to go to space and even to the moon.
"If I don't get there alive, in my will I have demanded that my ashes are sent to moon" he told Neos Kosmos.
Nik has climbed the highest peaks, explored the ocean floor, chased the wildest storms - he loves a thrill and has the resources to chase them. That's why this multimillionaire is dubbed "the thrillionaire".
"Firstly, I wasn't born rich, I was born rich with potential," Nik said.
A talented musician, at 14 Nik was teaching guitar; by 17 he'd saved $30,000 dollars in tuition fees. An astute investor, he is now a millionaire many times over, giving him the freedom to chase his wildest dreams.
Nik says the most thrilling thing he has done was diving down to the Titanic.
"It was a time capsule, you know, 1912, and at times it was very, very emotional - the luggage, the suitcases, the dreams of all the immigrants on board. The majesty of the ship, the grandeur of it - it was amazing," Nik said.
Deep lows and grand highs - if it's a rush he'll do it. And now, the thrill of thrills: Nik is set to be the first Greek Australian civilian to enter space. He says it's been a childhood dream since age four.
"You know, I saw re-runs of Neil Armstrong on the moon and at age four I proclaimed I wanted to become an astronaut," Nik said.
Space travel is easily the most expensive hobby on earth. Nik's flight will cost him $30million for no guaranteed return. At any time, Nik could fail a medical, or one of his many survival tests, and if that were to happen, there is no refund.
Don't call him a space tourist - this is real astronaut training. Take the centrifuge for example - Nik is regularly put into the machine and his body subjected to G-forces, which are just shy of fatal.
Nik could make it to the international space station as early as October and if that happens, his next goal is to walk on the moon. That would cost $100 million.
His biggest tip - attack life, you never know when it will end.
"I don't fear death, but I want to spend as much time here as possible," Nik said.
Even if he does vacate earlier than expected, Nik Halik will still get to the moon.
"In my will I've actually paid an American company to rocket my remains, my ashes, they will be jetted to the surface of the moon to remain there forever," he said.
The quest for control surely comes from his earliest years, growing up in Melbourne in a "very dysfunctional" family. Dad was a truck driver, his mum worked for Toyota; both were Greek immigrants - the family name is Halikopoulos - working 16 hour days to provide for their kids, four in total, Nik being the youngest and sickliest. He had allergies and chronic asthma.
"For the first 10 years of my life I was medically confined to my bedroom," he recalls, "I was a pretty sick child".
His relationship with his mother seems to have been closer than the one with his dad. She died in 1993.
"My mother always knew that I was different," he says with obvious affection.
"Like Luke Skywalker, you know? 'The Force is strong in this one!' So she really believed in me."
Like his adult self, eight-year-old Nik set out to control his life, looking from his sickbed to the wide world beyond.
"I don't believe in 'luck'," he says. "I don't believe in 'wish', I don't believe in 'hope'. They're the three most disempowering words in the world. You create your own destiny, you create your own fortune. You create your own happiness. You know who subscribes to luck, wish and hope? Poor people. Because they're always praying to something else, outside their control. I want to be in control."
Meanwhile he lives his life, travelling eight months of the year, working on his many businesses - having "a single source of income" is a mistake, he says. And he loves warm weather.
"I'm Mediterranean, I'm not genetically designed for winter," and follows the sun, with homes in the Greek islands, Los Angeles, Morocco and Australia. He sleeps six hours a night, every night, including weekends.
He took part in the Greek Power Summit last year, an invitation-only event where the global elite got together to try and help the Greek government. He may be thinking of getting into politics though his current Big Project is a Hollywood script called The Last Palikari. Above all, he goes his own way.
"Disconnect yourself!" he urges.
"Why be subservient to the system? Why allow the system to define your reality? Because, at the end of the day, it's the system's opinion. It should not be your reality.
"I'm not genetically different to any person," says this odd, compelling man. "But I knew the answer. I knew exactly what I wanted, and I've moved the universe - I've bent the universe to my will. You know what I mean?"
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