English 20


Imagine that you are on a boat looking out at the horizon and all you can see is the water meeting the sky with no land in sight1. Jesse Martin does not have to imagine: he is living it2. On Dec. 7, 1998, at 17 years old, Jesse departed3 from Melbourne, Australia on his boat Lionheart for4 an attempt to become the youngest person to travel solo and nonstop around the world.

Even as a young child, Jesse was an adventurer who traveled all over: Europe and Asia5 with his parents. Born in Germany, he moved to Australia with his family when he was only two years old. They built a small house next to a rainforest with no electricity or running water.6Jesse grew up at the beach enjoying nature to his7 fullest.

Jesse’s family played an important role. “I was made to believe I could do anything,” he says, although8 he emphasizes that not everyone was quite so supportive also9. However, through perseverance and belief in himself, he was able to do what many told him was impossible: on October 31, 1999, more than ten months after he set sail10 Jesse Martin went down in history as the youngest person to sail around the world, nonstop and unassisted.

At 14, he sailed for the first time with his father and brother, Beau. It was after this trip that he began to dream about sailing around the world11. But first, Jesse catamaraned from Cairns to Cape York, then he and his brother12 kayaked in the rivers of Papua, New Guinea. From there, he went on to join a yacht crew to sail from Belize to Tahiti. These experiences kept his dream alive.

Jesse remained on dry land only long enough to plan his next adventure. He is now off on what has been named “The Journey of Kijana,” a two year around the world excursion crewed by five young people. At one point on his solo trip, as Jesse overcame a difficult obstacle that was in his way13, he says, “I started thinking not of what I could do after this trip, but more like what couldn’t I do!” [14] [15]