James Essig’s love of interstellar travel had its genesis in his childhood. Through most of his elementary school-age years, he was a shy kid, but one who was far from the stereotypical, reserved nerdy geek. His grade school report cards where generally good but were far from the straight A cards that the academically focused students would receive. He had a very personal dream, however, that motivated him to get through the often boring school days. This dream is that for an unbounded future of human interstellar space-flight.
His infatuation with manned space exploration began early in grade school, fueled by the Apollo Space program and lunar landings and the promise of manned missions to distant planets in the not-so-distant future. It seemed as though, by the 1980s, we would definitely be sending humans on Martian exploratory missions. His interest in manned space travel waned a bit during the late 1970s through the mid-1990s but picked up again after he had read a book on real-world potential interstellar travel methods based mainly on known and well-established physics.