Sunday, May 16, 2010

Around the world in 210 days

She wasn't in school. She had something more important to do. She was told by people from around the world that she was too young to do it. Governments almost stopped her. Her parents supported her. Many people called her parents irresponsible for letting her do it. She battled 40 foot waves. Her boat capsized seven times and she righted it seven times.

She was alone on the ocean for 210 days. She sang loudly to herself on glassy oceans under starlit skies and fought off torrential storms with an iron will and a little lady's strength.

She sailed around the world in a mere 31-foot craft, crossing the equator, managing the stormy seas of the Strait of Magellan below South America that Magellan himself found tortuous and deadly, cut the waters of South Africa and headed to the Indian Ocean, befriended a seagull she named "Silly" who remained her companion for awhile, and arrived safely back in her native Australia, ebullient and happy and hungry for chocolate cookies as an adoring crowd cheered.

She is 16 years old, the youngest to ever circumnavigate the Earth alone in a boat. But she won't enter the record books because those in charge of such things refuse to recognize age anymore to dissuade ever younger kids from attempting such feats.

The young lady's name is Jessica Watson. She called her boat "Ella's Pink Lady." She does not call herself a hero. She says she just did what she wanted to do, and that it shows you can do what you put your mind to, whether boy or girl.

Please remember the name Jessica Watson the next time someone whines about life being hard and not being able to achieve what one wants, or the next time someone says that kids are not rational or capable of running their own lives and doing phenomenal things.

Congratulations, Jessica, to you and your Pink Lady!

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