3 years ago I sailed on the YE.

I grew up around boats, so I figured it would I would take this in my stride. What I wasn't prepared for was how much I would grow and change on board.

Most people would have described me as confident, ambitious and goal driven. I never let anything stop me... or so I thought. I had never had an issue with heights, I had climbed giant trees in Western Australia without batting an eyelid, but climbing to the top gallant was a whole other story. I can't tell you what about it terrified me but it took the whole voyage until I achieved my goal of getting there. Had it not been for one of my watch leaders, commonly referred to as Double A Ron, I don't think I would have ever achieved it. His belief and confidence to push and encourage as required and to support when I didn't achieve was life changing.

I don't mean just in the moment, but since. The YE taught me that no matter how scary something looks at the beginning, no matter how much you doubt yourself, nothing is impossible and the only person stopping you is you. When I boarded the YE, I never expected to leave with one of my closest friends. Kendra was in a different watch to myself. We would see each other around the boat and chat during down time. It wasn't until the final few days where we really started to hang out together and start to develop a proper friendship. And as they say, the rest is history. We became closer friends post voyage and despite living 4000kms away, try to catch up at least twice a year. This year it just happens to be sailing in the Maldives so we can go diving with the turtles and manta rays.

If I had to sum up my time on the YE with one word, it would definitely have to be with "Happiness". Not just for my days aboard but for life after. Happiness in knowing that I achieved my goals, happiness to have gained an amazing friend, happiness in the courage to do whatever I want.

Kayla Gates