I was born on the East Coast. When I was a small child, we spent a lot of time at the beach, three hours away from home. Hence, I discovered from an early age… the ocean waves… were awe inspiring… to gaze upon… but they were also dangerous, in their relentless fury. My favorite book back then, was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. It detailed the perseverance of a young girl struggling to survive life on an island all alone. I was mesmerized by it. I visualized myself as that young girl while I walked up and down the sandy shores of Ocean City, surrounded by tourists. To be all alone with miles of beach, seashells and water lapping at your toes seemed like a fairytale to me. Today, it would be a Reality TV show. Suffice to say… my only big adventures at the Ocean- Front involved very few things. For instance… wandering too far out in the water… and being knocked to the ground, and dragged back by the waves, with a mouthful of sand. Or being burnt… the color of a lobster… by lying out in the sun too long. But… the worst thing that happened to me… was when I was wearing my first bikini, as a pre-teen. The waves swallowed my bathing suit top, right off my body, embarrassing me, for all, the world to see. I never forgot my humiliation. Hardly the kind of thing the girl in the storybook found troublesome. Yet, this was my life. Still the ocean held a mystery, for me. And, in all the years since… nothing else has ever captured my imagination, the way that book, or sand and surf, did. That is… until last year, when I discovered a blog. I have never been on a sailboat. But I follow the adventures of someone who has. She is a 16 year- old girl from Australia. Her name is Jessica Watson. Her boat is Ella’s Pink Lady. She is currently attempting to become the youngest person to sail around the world, alone. I read her blog (http://www.youngestround.blogspot.com) to see how she’s doing. I find myself worrying about her, out there, in the middle of the ocean, miles from civilization, all alone. Yet… something powerful, stirs within me, as I think about her. This old woman disappears. I’m a young girl again. My fantasies take flight. I live vicariously through her. She talks about cooking her meals, staying warm, looking at the stars, fishing, surviving storms, doing schoolwork and operating the boat. I follow her journey each day, seeing the progress she’s made, enduring her setbacks, silently, egging her on. Praying she gets safely home. I want her to succeed. As the mother of two daughters, I can’t imagine giving them permission to do something like this, back when they were teens. Yet, maybe I should have. Dreams are meant to be nourished… don’t you think?
PS. Jessica now has competition. A teen from America has joined the fray… to sail solo, around the world. Her name is Abby Sunderland. Her boat is Wild Eyes. You can find her blog at http://soloround.blogspot.com and follow her adventures too. NEWSFLASH...The LATEST report is... Abby is going to have to STOP her journey in Cabo san Lucas and get some technical glitches fixed before restarting again.