From the moment I first learned of the ‘The Young Endeavour Voyage’ it had been something I wanted to do. Learning to sail was high up on my bucket list, I loved being around the ocean, and every time I was on a boat, the hairs on the back of my neck would prick up and it would feel as though I was flying. 

I’d thought about applying for years. Through high school, I would see Facebook posts about the voyage, and the flame of excitement I got when I first learned of Young Endeavour would re-ignite. But then excuses like ‘That’s too expensive’’, ‘I’m too busy this year for that’ or (the worst of them all) ‘I couldn’t really do that, I’m not that person yet’, would trickle down and eventually simmer out the flame. 

This year I saw that the Young Endeavour was taking applications and I felt that same fiery excitement, only this time there was no excuses. So, I applied, and tried hard not to think too much about it. I decided that as much as I really wanted to go on a voyage and wished I could pluck my own name from the ballot, it was out of my control. If I was meant to go this year, I was meant to go. If I wasn’t meant to go, well… there was always next year. I had done my part, perhaps the hardest part, and applied for an adventure I knew little about. 

I got the email offering a place on voyage 05/21 only a week after I had applied. The time between receiving my offer and being on board the boat for my first day, seemed to blur. I had only a month to prepare for the trip, hoarding jackets and warm clothing from my local op shops, and seeking advice from any person or website article that had any advice to offer. It was going to be a cold trip, sailing from Newcastle to Brisbane in the peak of winter, that was all I found myself preparing for. 

I didn’t tell too many people about the trip before I went. I mean it’s kind of hard to explain to others, especially when you don’t know what to expect yourself. ‘So, it’s like a cruise for young people?’ or ‘You’re going with people you know right?’ were the general reactions I got. Hmmmm…not quite!

Before I knew it, it was just me, my ridiculously oversized blue bag and a strong feeling of anticipation sitting on a plane to Newcastle, ready to begin a journey of a lifetime. 

On this journey I saw some of the most beautiful sun rises, enchanting starry night skies and ocean views from a completely new perspective. I overcame fear, accomplished challenges I would otherwise never have to face, and met a part of myself I never knew existed. Whilst experiencing all these moments, I had an amazing bunch of strangers who quickly became people I knew. It’s amazing how close we became. When you take technology out of the equation and place a bunch of very different people in a unique situation, you grow very familiar very quickly. 

Some days we were keeping each other entertained with newfound inside jokes and ludicrous life stories, laughing together like the ‘loopy’ group of sailors we were becoming. Other days we were encouraging each other through rainy nights, guiding each other through fears and heaving ropes together with all our might. There is no other group of strangers I would have wanted with me on my Young Endeavour Voyage. 

The hardest part of anything is deciding you want it and that you are going to give it your all. If you are reading this, you have already made that decision. So, apply! After your voyage you will come back to your life knowing that you are a person who can spend eleven days on a tall ship with a bunch of strangers, facing your fears, and finding comfort in the uncomfortable. Knowing this, you can do anything.

Knowing will love the person you become. 

Lauren Grace