So my story started when I decided to take a second gap year from uni, I just wasn't ready to go back to uni just yet.  Then, as if it was meant to be, an ad on facebook popped up and I decided why not right? What really where my chances of getting a berth in my first ballot, and only myself up for relatively few berths.  That was in October 2018, I believe, after that I didn't think anything of it, really what would my chances actually being of being picked, I wasn't going to be that lucky. Right?

Well I was very wrong, I woke up to an email on the 8th of January of 2019 to an email, Ahoy there Jessica ! You have been successful in the Young Endeavour Youth Scheme ballot and we are pleased to offer you a berth on one of your nominated vogages aboard STS Young Endeavour... I just sat there, my head spinning, thinking, no way was this actually happening, I had forgotten about this, no way was I actually going to be doing this.  I almost turned down this offer, a couple of times, the first when it was offered, I had tickets to fly to the USA 2 days after my vogage was to end, really it was the fear that almost made me turn it down, but I took the leap into the unknown.  The second, was 4 days before I was meant to embark, I twisted my ankle, barely able to walk, not sure if I would be able to do it.  So many doubts ran through my head, I was so shattered by the concept of having to drop out.  Luckly I was able to convince my doc that I would be ok, mainly by down playing how much it hurt. Good thing I did, by the time the date rolled around, the ankle was ok, and I am so glad I was able to push through. So I was off to on an adventure, and it was one of the best things I have done in my entire life!!!!!

Though, it wasn't as smooth sailing as you think. Pun intended.  The first night was smooth, we stayed docked which was probably why, but that second night was a mess.  So many of us were so sea sick that I barely remember, We were laying on the port side next to the bridge, only moving when the urge to be sick took over again, getting sent to bed at one point, only to be back 20 mintues later as the sea sickness took over.  Those two days of sea sickness was tough, but it bounded everyone for the rest of the adventure, especially my watch, White Watch, or as we affectionately called ourselves, White Trash.  We brought each other up when all we wanted to do was give up.  It enabled us to be up on the topgallent yard at 2am on Command day, because we couldn't get the damn sail to furl, me and Lachie, two people scared of hights, me terrified, up there for 2 hours, legs burning feet hurting, but refusing to give up, we weren't coming down until we got that done, and we did. We had offers to come down and they'd get others to finish it, but we looked at each other and refused to give up, for me, it was a massive moment, the kind of moment of growth that you read or hear happen on this type of thing but never believe will happen to you.  We pushed through, with a bit of help from fellow white watcher, Alex, and came down successful, exhausted, but not beaten, we refused to be beaten.

Its been a few months since I arrived back on land from those eventful 11 days, and barely a day goes by that I don't think about my time aboard, wishing I could go back, back to my YE family, to the people who embraced me with open arms, and whom I embraced into my heart.

So I guess long story short, don't let fear stop you, taking that first step is always the hardest, putting your name into that ballot, let yourself be scared of whats to come but do it anyways.  I promise you not only will you met amazing people, but you'll forever be grateful for what you will learn about yourself, what you are capable of and just how amazing other young aussies really are.

You never know, you may just have the adventure of a lifetime from an application which you forgot you made.  So buckle up, sign up and be brave enough to put yourself out there; for your own sake. 

Jessica Robinson