I was 20, studying at uni a degree I wasn't that keen on, working an office job which paid the bills, (but didn't exactly inspire me) and I was yearning for more. 

The late night musings of this 20 year old girl from Ballarat lead to googling two words: Young Endeavour. My uncle told he of his voyage many years ago, and I thought maybe I'd be lucky enough to score a berth in the ballot. I applied and then thought little of it.

Until I received one of the best letters I've ever pulled out of my mail box. It was a white envelope, with the Young Endeavour logo, I opened it and read "congratulations!" I was on voyage 16/2011, Gladstone to Brisbane. 

I've always had an affinity with the sea, but nothing like now. I flew into Gladstone with my bag and my smile. And a fire in my belly telling me to give it my all. 

I met my fellow youth crew and instantly made friendships I knew would last. We boarded, eyes wide, smiles beaming. Nervous laughter and countless questions were all that reverberated through the ship that afternoon. That soon turned to joyous laughter (between the sounds of the unfortunate few tossing cookies).

The sea legs arrived, the vomiting slowed, we settled in, as did the inevitable sleep deprivation. "All hands to tacking stations!" An alarm like no other. Harnesses on, get ready to use every bit of might you have. It's show time. We changed tack, and it was back to rest before White Watch comes around again. 

I can't articulate it, but there was something about the voyage that just made something in me click. I needed more than a cubicle in an over-air-conditioned office.

I applied for the police force, and a few months later I drove through the gates of the Police Academy to begin my new career. 

Five years later, I've worked the beat for a few years, and I'm now half way through Detective Training School. 

In my spare time, I'm on the water as much as possible. I'm the state title holder on an 18' catamaran three years running, and doing up an old cat to her former glory.

Since then, I have been to Everest Base Camp, trekked Kokoda, posed like Diana at the Taj Mahal, watched the sunrise at Angkor Wat, bathed in the Ganges and the Mekong, listened to Big Ben chime at 4am, cleared out my sinuses with too much wasabi in Tokyo, bungee jumped in Pokhara, white water rafted on the Trisuli and in New Zealand, and had countless other adventures. 

Something about the world and oysters? Nah, some people don't like oysters but the world is YOURS. Simply that. 

 

Madeline Gillard