I was part of Voyage 12/08, Hamilton Island to Gladstone, QLD, during the 20th Anniversary Year. I had heard about Young Endeavour from a previous Youth Crew member and was hooked on the idea of sailing a tall ship. I was studying at uni at the time and working only minimal hours, so it took me a year to save up the money for a berth. I was so nervous I wouldn't get offered a place beacuse I was right on the cusp of being too old.

One thing that struck me immediately was the sense of community that developed quickly on board. We had all come to dive into this experience, and give the best that we could. Who could ever imagine six people, strangers to each other, singing at the top of our lungs to 1990's classics while cleaning the Navy Staff mess?

The memory that has lasted the longest is the 24-hours I was sea-sick. I was on the night watch and we had 40-knot winds. My watch leader and another member of my watch crew had to climb the rigging to pull up one of the sails to prevent it from being damaged. This whole time I was on the floor, useless, and it wasn't until the next day when I was ordered to take the helm that the nausea left me for good.

That might sound like a horrible memory, and don't get me wrong, nothing about the recollection is pleasant. However, what stuck with me beyond the time of my Young Endeavour voyage was the desire to never be that unable again. Since Young Endeavour I have climbed mountains, travelled solo for two years, and cross-country-skied in the wilderness of Australia's snow country. My Young Endeavour experience gave me physical hardship that I had never come across before, and out of that, the determination to be stronger and more resillient.

My voyage ended in August 2008, but my journey is ongoing. It's been almost ten years since I sailed, yet I still consider Young Endeavour to be a key milestone in my personal development. I certainly didn't think of YE like this at the time, however now, when I stop and reflect, I can clearly see the base of strength I learned how to find for the very first time, and have needed countless times since.

Caroline Bowman