What were you doing when you were thirteen? I was discovering a horrible condition called acne, mean girls, and dumb boys. Laura Dekker, a thirteen-year-old Dutch girl, decided she wanted to sail around the world by herself. Laura Dekker’s childhood home was the sea, having grown up on a sailboat the first five years of her life, and all she wanted to do was return to that home. Although her family understood her decision and supported it, the Dutch government did not. Stating that it was dangerous and that her family was wrong to support her, Child Protection Services tried to take custody of her in order to prevent her from making what they thought was an unfit voyage for a young girl.

photo courtesy of lauradekker.nl
photo courtesy of lauradekker.nl

By the time Laura was fourteen, she had won her case and was ready, with camera in hand, to sail off on her two-year, 27,000 mile trip. Jillian Schlesinger, a first-time director, met Laura on multiple stops and filmed her as she experienced new cultures. Through those encounters, combined with the footage Laura collected on her own as she sailed, Schlesinger created the documentary Maidentripwhich made its rounds through the film festival circa.

In the trailer, it is clear that, despite all of Laura’s previous experience, she still faced some hard times on the sea, including thunderstorms and other unforeseen conditions. A large debate surrounding her journey was that, at fourteen, someone should not be isolated from the public as much as Laura was going to be; but, the truth is that Laura was the one who went out and found her way out of isolation.  She was able to see parts of the world that even most dying men can’t say they have seen. At fourteen, she absorbed more culture and more life experiences then anyone can ever dream.

Hopefully, Laura brings the adventurer out of all of us, and, instead of saying that we want to see the world, we go out and see it.

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