I had the privilege of bringing our ship home to Australia from the World Voyage, and what an honour that was.
A month at sea with people you have never met can be challenging and that's the whole point of it, this means you grow and make friends. No voyage is exempt from that. But I've learnt that yes, a voyage is amazing and will change your life whether you realise it or not. But its not just the voyage, its everything that comes after.
I stepped off the ship on December 23rd 2015 not knowing when or if I'd ever be on board again. After moving to a new city it was the Young Endeavour and everyone I have met through the event's that have taught me simple things such as cool places to eat, bars to go to, and that it is totally okay to take 50 million photos, especially if it's a once in a lifetime opportunity. The opportunities I've been given are amazing; such as attending a fund-raiser gala dinner on the HMAS Adelaide, Afternoon tea with the Governor General, to helping with corporate cruises and open days have taught me so much more than helpful facts about a city. So I hope to pass them onto and hope you can relate. Here is what I've learned.
Age really is just a number:
It's cheesy I know. But this was one of my main challenges when on my voyage. You see I was one of youngest and there were only 3 of us. All fresh 18 year olds with people who have had way more life than us. It was the first time I struggled with 'I'm so young how could I possibly understand this' or 'I'm 18 I should be at home not in the middle of the ocean'! After a while a friend on board sat me down and explained it like this; I am 1 of 3 18 year olds who can say they have sailed from Africa to Australia for a month with no prior sailing experience. This has definitely stayed with me; I mean how many people do I know that can say that? 2 to be exact. I have all the experience (and age) I need to overcome any challenge thrown my way, even if that means asking for help or getting a pep talk!
Most of your fear is in your head:
Ambassadors will all remember the first time they climbed the mast, and probably the first time they climbed it in a storm. Now I've never experienced fear with height....until my voyage. I mean the fact that you are basically hanging on until the right time to climb over the futtocks shrouds; that's not natural. It also took me a long time to get use to that. It probably didn't help that I chose the worst days to try to climb but it meant that on smooth days it was piece of cake.
I still remind myself that it was totally okay to have a cry when for the 10th time I couldn't get to the top of the main mast! But dont worry I got there!
Once I got over the idea that it was unnatural, climbing became a lot easier; with time that is. Each time I've been back on board I have had no trouble climbing at all because if I've done it before so why should I let fear stop me now?
The gross parts will become funny parts:
And probably the most memorable. I will never forget the moment my mum asked me who it was that had thrown up on me. All I did was look at him and he came over and apologised to my mum. You see I had been lying on the deck soaking up the sun when I thought spray from the waves came over the side.... I was wrong. WAY WRONG! It did take other 5 minutes to convince me I had been thrown up on; what sold it was a sheepish 'sorryyy' coming from Dylan who was up the mast. To say I was grossed out is an understatement and I have not worn that jacket since! Some moments just will not leave your brain.
Now the amount of times I've told that story blows my mind because it's one I thought I wouldn't want to tell. But when someone asks for the grossest or funniest part of my voyage that is the first thing I think of. The reactions are priceless and I have no shame of saying 'Why, yes I have been thrown up on' and with a smile.
Don't take any moment for granted:
You never know what you will see or experience that will later shape you. A random flash of light in the middle of the ocean, during the day? No other ships around? It is one of the coolest things to see and then find out that we just happened to be in the right place at the right time. A piece of metal orbiting earth and the sun reflecting off of it to create a giant flash of light. Something I never want to forget.
Having afternoon tea at Admiralty House? That's something most people haven't done. You may have to make time for it; It may sound like it will be boring or it's not "your thing". Whether it is or isn't, go and enjoy it. These opportunities only come once in a lifetime.
Have you seen peoples faces when you tell them about your voyage? Most of them are in awe! That shows how luck we have all been.
Write things down:
This is something I wish I did. Lot's of other people were keeping journals. We had the time. I didn't and all I ever get told is to write all my experiences down because one day I may not remember them or be able to tell them. Write even the little things down. We are lucky, we all have logs we can read back on. But they don't always cover the discoveries you made that day. Maybe you found something left behind by previous voyages, or learnt how to read the stars. Maybe you discovered something about yourself. No matter if you think it will be stupid or useless, write it down. It will only take a few minutes of your day.
You have an instant bond with so many people:
I thought a lot of things would only be relatable for people on my voyage, somewhat true and mostly wrong. The minute you start talking to someone who has been on a voyage you will find endless things to talk about. The food? Amazing! Your challenges? Chances are they had similar ones too. If you can talk to people who have been on voyages other than yours you will open yourself up to so may friendships. A bonus, you will hear some really funny stories!
I am positive there is still more I will learn with the help of the Young Endeavour and all that comes with it. Hopefully this could relate to you or made you laugh a little.
Jamie. (Red watch!! Cause that still matters right?)