As I sit in front of my computer and ponder the benefits of a corporate membership in the Qantas Club (those layovers at Terminal 4 in LAX are growing old), my admiration goes out to a 16-year-old Aussie girl who plans to sail around the world on her own. Jessica Watson will finish high school by 'long distance education' so that she can embark on her 230-day adventure in September. I must admit that the parent in me wonders how Jessica's mum and dad can let their little girl do this. I have a hard time just imagining Will going off to school in 18 months! On the other hand, as I read Jessica's website and blog, she does strike me as being very much different from your typical teenager. She's been sailing and 'racing dinghies' since she was 8, doesn't watch any television, and seems far more mature than most adults I know. Apparently, this trip will be expensive--A$250,000--so, in addition to the aid of several corporate sponsors, there's a fancy dinner ($100 per person) scheduled next week to help her raise the funds.
I know that I'll be closely following Jessica's journey in the coming months. I have long had a love for the tales of adventurers, which was born in my early adolescence during those travelogues I used to watch at a theater in Dixon, Illinois, was then nurtured through many books by authors like Jon Krakauer and Barbara Savage, and then renewed by all those Michael Palin television series and books. All those people, including teen Jessica, are far more intrepid than this soon-to-be-Qantas-club-member.