Sunday, May 16, 2010

Homecoming Queen

After 210 days, multiple 'knockdowns', being de-masted, eating horrible tinned food and managing not to run into any more container ships, Jessica Watson has single-handedly sailed herself around the world. At 16.

Simply amazing.

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Some of you may remember this post I wrote about her father's comment in the lead up to her world-record breaking journey that he would rather see her dead than deny her her dream. I reckon all the (deserved) hoopla now surrounding Jessica will just convince this dickhead that he was right to feel that way. And that really pisses me off, justifying that sort of glib, irresponsible parenting. Grrr...

But back to Jessica, let's ignore her wanker Dad and think about what it must of taken her to achieve this feat.

First of all, when she announced she was going to attempt this journey - oh, as an aside, can someone please remind all the reality TV shows, that this is what a 'journey' is - she was immediately scorned by doubters, both from the professional sailing world and the armchair experts around the country. Unfortunately, this is somewhat of an Aussie thing, the Tall Poppy Syndrome, when someone wants to rise above, there is a tendency by some to want to cut them back down, to fit in with the rest, to just be average. It's one of the things about Australia of which I am definitely not proud.

Jessica was undeterred. I remember at the time finding her a little bit smug. Well, maybe, or maybe she was simply convinced that she could do this thing, and all the negative words just rolled over her, as insignificant as a single drop in her beloved sea.

Then of course, she collided with a container ship, barely a week into her journey, and had to wait while her yacht was repaired to start again.

Think back to when you were 16.

Can you imagine taking that kind of blow to your confidence, to your dream, and simply continuing on? Wouldn't you feel like you'd made a massive mistake? It would be so easy to let all the doubters crowing and revelling in your misfourtune erode your confidence.

Again, Jessica kept her mouth shut and simply continued on.

Isn't it interesting how, now that she has succeeded in her journey, these incidences are just part of her remarkable spirt, her confidence in herself. Had she been unable to complete this record feat, those same incidences would be hailed as 'proof' she wasn't up to it. I guess the parts are defined by the overall success or failure of the whole.

I really hope that the other 16 year olds, currently laying around on the couch, endlessly Facebooking each other and ignoring their parents plantive cries to get up for God's sake and do something with their lives, are inspired by Jessica's passion and determination, and find something they too can feel as strongly about.

And I really hope Jessica goes on to do more amazing and inspiring feats. After all, can you imagine your whole life peaking at 16?



  1. So awesome that she did this. I didn't know about her 'wanker' (which is the best word by the way, I have to start working that into my vocabulary) Dad...

    I thought I was the shit when I was 16. But this girl really is the shit.

  2. So true Quixy. At 16 I was... well let's just say it doesn't compare....

  3. Yes, thank God she is home safe. It is amazing, I can't even imagine how she did it. Let's hope this is not the peak of her life too!

  4. I think the belief she had in herself and the determination is outstanding. She did have a large amount if experience when she set off, but I'm sure one can never be prepared for a journey like that. I think in any endeavour or exploration there is always an element of recklessness.

    I can highly recommend Jesse Martin's book Lionheart if you haven't read it, it's hugely inspiring. A friend of mine interviewed him about 10 years ago and shortly after completely changed his life - quit his job and followed a long held dream.

  5. At 16 I probably was bloody minded but I wasn't given the freedom to express it how Jessica has - and let's face it at 16 I never had a dream as big as hers!

    I'm more amazed at the generosity of spirit of her parents - I feel sick just thinking about my girls doing anything like that!!


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