There are ordinary teenagers… and then there's Laura, who at 13 years of age, ventured to become the youngest person to ever sail the planet – alone, without support boats or checkpoints along her way.
What followed was a lengthy legal battle that included Duch authorities, wiretaps, her parents losing custody over Laura and much more… but after a lot of media coverage and public outcry from people including Richard Branson, a Dutch court finally decided in her favor, and the record-breaking attempt finally began on 21 August 2010.
Laura successfully completed the solo circumnavigation in a 12.4-meter (40 ft) two-masted ketch called “Guppy”, arriving in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten, 518 days later at the age of 16.
Click on the video above to listen to the episode – and join the conversation NOW!
00:00:00 Episode Teaser
00:02:32 When I was thirteen, I….
00:02:55 Growing up on a boat was the seed for her big dream
00:04:14 Big trouble with the authorities
00:06:06 Her parents lose custody over Laura
... read more....
00:09:59 How Laura got started with sailing
00:11:21 The dangers of a young girl being alone on an international trip
00:12:42 About the thought of dying at sea
00:15:13 Her worst accident happened on land
00:16:15 Did Laura ever have second thoughts while on the trip?
00:16:43 Practice beats fear and panic
00:19:56 Sleep deprivation is part of a world trip
00:21:52 You can’t trust radars to avoid collisions
00:23:41 Laura’s biggest takeaway from the trip
00:26:09 Is there a “too young” for a solo trip around the world?
00:28:40 Laura’s determination showed very early in life
00:31:22 Her trip was never about fame
00:34:58 What’s next for Laura
00:37:10 Laura’s sailing foundation – a school on a boat
00:40:31 How Laura’s world record boat was destroyed by a negligent organization
00:47:51 The two things about the state of this planet that Laura is concerned about
00:49:58 What freedom means to Laura
00:56:41 Who Laura considers an extraordinary person
00:58:21 What’s next for Laura
00:59:30 Laura’s closing statement
01:57:32 – Preview of the next episode
Listen as Podcast
Laura Dekker is a New Zealand-born Dutch sailor and the younges person to youngest person to circumnavigate the globe single-handed.
After announcing her plans, Dutch authorities stepped in, and prevented her from departing while taking away custody from her parents. After a lengthy legal battle with a lot of media attention and public support from people like Richard Branson, founder of Virgin records, in July 2010 a Dutch family court ended this custody arrangement, and the record-breaking attempt finally began on 21 August 2010.
Laura successfully completed the solo circumnavigation in a 12.4-metre (40 ft) two-masted ketch called “Guppy”, arriving in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten, 518 days later at the age of 16.
She’s the author of the book “One Girl One Trip” and subject of the documentary “Maiden Trip”. She now is a motivational speaker and professional captain.
Connect with Laura
Please support Laura’s foundation: https://lauradekkerworldsailingfoundation.com/ Laura Dekker World Sailing Foundation
Show / Hide Full Transcript
1:33 Rob Konrad
Hey, this is Rob Konrad from Switzerland and today's extra ordinary person that someone I wanted to talk to ever since I saw her documentary Maiden Trip a few years ago on Netflix. When Laura Dekker was 13, she decided to become the youngest person to ever sail around this planet alone without any safety boat following her, without any fixed checkpoints along the journey. Just her and her sailing boats named Guppy. Her plan was initially delayed for about one year as the Dutch authorities did everything to keep her from leaving the country including questioning her sanity, threatening her parents over the schooling situation and even taking away custody from them. Finally, with 14 a judge decided that she was able and good to go so, Laura went on a sailing trip around the world that lasted 17 months. I also know that she finds interviews annoying as hell so I'm really happy that you found the time to talk with me today. Thank you so much for the time and welcome Laura Dekker.
2:29 Laura Dekker
2:30 Rob Konrad
When I watched the documentary Maiden Trip about your trip around the world a few years back, the first thing I was thinking when I was 13, 14, 15 years old, my main concern was to get as drunk as possible and as often as possible. So, where was that wish coming from to sail around the world?
2:32 Laura Dekker
Good question. I don't really know, I just really wanted to do it. I guess the way I grew up because my I was born during the circumnavigation of my parents and I just grew up on boats, always been on boats. and I was watching their pictures, reading stories from other people. And then it was just one day when I'm grown up, that's what I wanted to do.
2:49 Laura Dekker
I basically just started preparing for it because I figured, okay, this is a big trip, I need a boat and any money. And so yeah, from like, the time I was eight years old, I just started preparing this trip, and then when I was 13, I still ______ and back and then I kind of thought, well, why don't I just go now? Why do I need to wait all these years, though I have a boat and I can go. So that's kind of how it happened in short.
3:00 Laura Dekker
Okay, and what's crazy is that comes out in the book, especially, the authorities were really after you. I mean, it's in the in the documentary, you talk about it, and you see some snippets from all the court hearings and so on. But in a book, it's really it's almost like an movie. It's like, they, followed you, and they wiretapped you, and they did everything to stop this.
3:11 Laura Dekker
Yeah, it was crazy and, in the end, it wasn't even about me, it was just this huge case of childcare and how to handle these things, and big controversy and I didn't even feel like I had much to do with it anymore because it had become much bigger than just me and my trip. But yeah, it's insane and I still don't even get the whole thing like how it's just crazy.
4:03 Rob Konrad
Was it a few persons, was it like a particular judge that just hated the idea or was it a panel of educational people who didn't like it?
4:03 Laura Dekker
It started with the Dutch childcare. So there are few different parts to it and they picked up on it, decided it was insane, and they started court cases. But that was already a strange thing because normally when there is a situation they'll put you on a wait list, which, like five or six years or something, and I had a court case within days. So it was weird and in a way I can understand that they think, hey, this is a strange thing, let's have a look at it. But then they didn't really look at it. They just, from the first thing they heard they decided it was insane and I shouldn't be allowed to live with my parents and that's what they kept fighting for. So they didn't look at the individual or at the case. So that's how it started with the childcare and then the whole Dutch government system got involved. It just became bigger and bigger.
4:03 Rob Konrad
What was the main concern? Was it about your safety or that you are not going to school or what was their main arguments in the whole thing?
4:03 Laura Dekker
To start with they didn't really have an argument. They just said well they shouldn't be allowed and her parents are clearly insane and so she should be put out of custody and be put somewhere else which is the first thing they did. My parents didn't have custody over me anymore but I was still allowed to live with dad for quite a while. There were stages where it wasn't but that's all of its complicated, but no their main thing was just that my parents were crazy and they shouldn't allow me to do such a thing but of course a lot of things passed.
4:17 Laura Dekker
The schooling which I had already organized because I was going into world schooling but also the dangers which, it was very difficult because there were three judges and they didn't know anything about boats or sailing or anything. They asked very strange questions about boats so I thought have you ever even seen a boat. And these people whether I'm capable of sailing around the world or not so it was just very weird all together
6:53 Rob Konrad
Okay. Well there's no law that forbids person of any age to sail internationally in international waters.
7:03 Laura Dekker
No in international waters of course there are certain laws like in Holland, if you're under 16, you're not allowed to sail a boat over seven meters. So my boat was seven meters that I wanted sail around the world, but then they decided that boat was too small. So I need to get a bigger boat. And I got a bigger boat. And then it wasn't allowed to sail alone in Hollands. So that's why eventually my dad, went with me to Southern Europe, because the rest of the world doesn't have this law. But no, there's no rules or anything against me setting sail. It was not that it wasn't allowed, they just decided it was crazy.
8:12 Rob Konrad
Even after the judge decided you are free to go, they even followed you, the authorities even followed you from what I've read?
8:22 Laura Dekker
Yeah, the whole trip, they kept trying to stop me and be annoying. Especially my dad and my lawyer kept having to fight even though already sailing so it was just very annoying until I was 18, it was just constant struggle. What are they going to do? Are they still going to do something. Yeah, I don't even know why.
8:51 Rob Konrad
So turning 18 must have been really special for you, usually it's a special day for everyone but for you it was like, finally they can't do anything.
8:59 Laura Dekker
Yeah because my family still lives in Holland. My mom doesn't anymore but she did at that stage. And every time I came back, I thought, can I come back? Can they do something? They can be in here? Can I go back to my boat or not? And there's this constant struggle, even though I had already sailed around that already proved that I could do it. But for them it wasn't about that, it was just this that they became really bad in the media and they just wanted to think, that's even why they started. It's because it's very strange that a childcare would put a story about a child into the media. And that's how it all kind of exploded and got in there. And I think that's just weird of any child care to do.
9:49 Rob Konrad
They're there to protect you.
9:53 Laura Dekker
Yeah exactly to go out and say, oh, look at this kid. It's crazy.
9:59 Rob Konrad
Yeah, exactly. So for those who are maybe not as familiar with your story, it's not like you had this idea and, and never went sailing. So you basically grew up in the boat more or less, you sailed from when you were very young, you were competitive, you did like competitions and races when you were 6, 7, 8, 9 years old so you had a lot of experience you were you were a season sailor, at that point.
10:24 Laura Dekker
Absolutely. Yeah I probably had more experience than a lot of people that go sailing around the world. It's all I had ever done. I had only lived on the boat and was sailing _____ . My dad was also really not worried about the sailing part. He knew I could sail and handled the boat. He was worried about being on land ___ and with other people and that I was traveling alone as a young girl. Those were definitely issues that my dad was worried about. But not the sailing.
10:54 Rob Konrad
Yeah, that was something I was thinking about myself, if my daughter would say, I want to go on a trip around the world at that age. I mean, you're a very young girl, smart, young girl, but still a young girl, and it probably would have been easy if someone was really malicious to take advantage of you in any in any horrible way. I guess. So, how did you discuss these concerns? Or what was his way of thinking, your way of thinking?
11:21 Laura Dekker
_____ because it was very clear to him that okay, to say one part is fine, let's discuss this matter. So basically, he said, to never go anywhere alone, which is kind of funny. But I would anchor and make friends. So you know, I'm not the only one who sailing around the world, there's hundreds of people who are doing this. So generally, I would go to a place where there's lots of other yachts and other people, I would go over and make friends. And I wasn't allowed to go into town or go on land alone. My dad always said, you have to go with somebody else. And, I did you know, we talked about this a lot and he trusted me that I would do it and I did when I was going grocery shopping or anything then I would go with friends, which is much nicer anyway. Yeah so he talks a lot about these concerns, and how I would handle it, and that I would contact him as much as possible on land. So if I had internet I would write him an email or Skype or at least stay in touch and _____ just be very aware of it. Yeah, I never had any trouble with it actually.
12:42 Rob Konrad
The sea part, the sailing part I mean, technically you definitely were able to sail but the sea is the sea. There's always things you cannot prepare for I guess, and you've had a few moments that you also write about in your book. Did you ever discuss like the possibility of you dying on sea and was it ever something that popped up? Or did you just push that away and said, okay, I'll be fine as long as I'm on water.
12:52 Laura Dekker
I think before the trip I didn't think about that and then I decided that it was absolutely worth it.
13:09 Laura Dekker
13:27 Laura Dekker
And then I would do everything possible to not have it happen, of course, prepare really well and then chances are actually not that big. But even while I was out at sea, I thought about it sometimes, like, what if everything goes wrong, and something would happen and I thought, well, at least I did what I really, really wanted to do. And that's more important. Just the other day I was reading a book about a guy who crossed the Atlantic in like the smallest boat ever, which was like six foot just tiny and he said the same, you know, or, there was a quote in the book that said, I'd much rather die out at sea, than in my bed. Yeah, you can lay safely in your house and do nothing but you can also go on an adventure and risk it. And I do believe that with good preparation and sound mind that it's actually not that dangerous. That's my opinion. Of course you could go and you know nothing about it. And sometimes I hear people that are just navigating on road maps and just decide, oh, let's buy a boat sail around the world that maybe not such a good idea. It really depends on how you do it.
14:41 Laura Dekker
My dad also during the court cases, he said, well, I'm actually more worried about her cycling to school every day, than her sailing across an ocean because I know she can sail and she can handle the boat, but on the bike, it's dark, there are so many drivers that aren't paying attention that, are tired or just awake, or, you know, and it's small roads in Holland. He said, I'm more worried about that. And I think he has a good point.
15:13 Rob Konrad
Actually your worst injury was on land?
15:16 Laura Dekker
15:18 Rob Konrad
You broke your skull I think?
15:20 Laura Dekker
15:25 Rob Konrad
15:26 Rob Konrad
I think Richard Branson said the same thing once because he's also doing all kinds of crazy stuff and his his family, so the founder of Virgin Islands. I think he supported you during this whole thing and he said the same thing, you know, we all do crazy stuff, but if one of us shouldn't come back, at least all the others know that they did, they went away doing something, they enjoy it.
15:51 Laura Dekker
Yeah, I agree. I doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and do regular stuff. It's good to prepare everything well, but yeah, don't let it. Yeah, I think it's still better than not doing it because you're afraid.
16:05 Rob Konrad
Was there any moment where you said like, oh, shit that wasn't a good idea? Was there any moment where you said, I shouldn't have done this?
16:15 Laura Dekker
No. Not really, actually. Not that I can think of. I like organizing and planning things so it had everything quite well planned and thought through and I'm not a person who just goes and jumps around during something. I'm generally rather over preparing.
16:39 Rob Konrad
Okay. What are moments where you are actually afraid?
16:43 Laura Dekker
Not really in the sense of being afraid, having fear. There were definitely moments where afterwards I thought that was not so afraid or a bit scary. But not at the moment itself, because it's just a very dangerous thing to do when you're on your own, on the boat to freak out, to get scared. And it's something that we'd actually trains I guess from when I was very little, my dad would, when I was sailing in my little optimist, he would just throw it upside down and make sure I got stuck into the sail or if my feet tangled in a rope or something, and then he would see how I would react. And that was practice, knowing the feeling of panicking and a fear and how to handle with these situations. Because panicking is like really about the worst thing you can do when you're alone on a boat. And here with that, of course, so it's very important to keep your head cold and there were definitely moments where I didn't know immediately what to do or with _____ I can't handle this situation. But still it's more important to just sit down and count to 10 or sometimes even just grab a guitar, play song or read a piece of ___ book just to calm down and you know keep your mind clear. I'm really grateful for that lesson which my dad taught me not with this trip in mind but just because he thought I needed to learn that. There were definitely moments afterwards where I thought that was not so good or yeah not at the moment itself.
18:43 Rob Konrad
Tell me about the psychological aspects of being alone in a boat. I mean probably it would be you wrote about that in your book where you there was a moment where it was really it was the night I think, that you could like see ocean everywhere, it was quiet and you really enjoy that you know being with yourself and stars. Probably my worst nightmare is being alone somewhere in the middle of the ocean with I don't know how many kilometers of water under me and and all kinds of animals I don't know so I'm really not a sea guy. But being alone for such a long time how well does it play tricks with your mind or are you too busy to to keep sailing?
19:25 Laura Dekker
Yeah I've heard so many stories of sailors especially alone who had crazy things happen but I didn't have any of that no hallucinations, no crazy, no nothing. I don't know, I didn't happen.
19:44 Rob Konrad
And sleep deprivation? I mean, there were periods where you didn't sleep for two, three days in a row just because you needed to you know the boat going.
19:56 Laura Dekker
Yeah, it's part of it. It's part of the sailing your wet and tired and salty and sometimes it just really not nice and other days it's really nice. But mostly in those situations I tried to cat nap a little bit. So do like five minute naps, and then that works and other ways to get lots of sleep. So it's not that the whole trip is like that. It's really just two or three days, when there's a storm, and you need to hand steer, or things break that you need to fix.
20:30 Rob Konrad
So for someone who doesn't know anything about are sailing, like myself, how does it work? I mean, technically, during the nights how do you steer the boat? How do you make sure you do not run into any other boats, or container ships, or whatever it is?
20:47 Laura Dekker
So I have a wind vane, which basically keeps the boat on the course just using the winds. So there's the blades that if the boat changes course, it gets pushed over by the winds. And then that is connected to a router pendulum, which is then connected to the tiller, the steering wheel and it pushes it over. So if the wind changes direction, then the boat changes course as well. But in general, the wind is kind of the same. So you go in to the general right direction and you sleep for about an hour if you're on the ocean closer to shore, it would be half an hour or 15 minutes or something because there's more ships and ____ .Yeah, so that's kind of how it goes. The boat keeps course mostly on its own. You just have to wake up every hour to check if you're still on course and if there are other dangers and yeah,
21:46 Rob Konrad
Okay. And then I guess there are systems to warn you like radar and that warn you of other ships.
21:52 Laura Dekker
Yeah, I had a radar that could warn me of other ships but of course, you can never trust this completely. So I do know people that sleep the whole night, but I never did and I never would. Sorry I would plug my computer into the power.
22:09 Rob Konrad
22:22 Rob Konrad
So this has been a few years back now. How do you remember the whole trip? Is it like a faint memory that was almost dream like, or is it still very vivid? And do you look back at it lot of times?
22:34 Laura Dekker
It is actually. I would say the period before the trip with all the court cases and the crazy things that's more like a dream something because so much happened in such a short time that it's more like a blur that is in my head. And I guess I haven't really processed all of it. So it's a mess. But the trip is, it's very clear and vivid and ____ . I remember every part of it really, there's even if I have pictures on my computer, just water, just particular wave and sky, I generally know which ocean it was. Yeah, because every day is different. Some people don't understand how you can just have blue all around you the whole time.
23:28 Rob Konrad
Exactly, I am one of those I guess.
23:33 Laura Dekker
But it's so beautiful and it changes every day and every ocean is different. Yeah.
23:41 Rob Konrad
What was your biggest takeaway for yourself? What was the one thing that you would say changed you the most or you learnt from the most or?
23:52 Laura Dekker
Probably to accept things the way they are. I mean with like the weather and there's just things that sometimes you can't change, and you need to live with it and make the best out of it. But also to fighting through things I got more, self assurance that I was, there were definitely times that I thought I can't do this but I had to do it because I was on my own and you just need to keep going and you get through it. And you think, oh, wow, I ________ do that.
24:32 Laura Dekker
So doing trip and finishing, it definitely helped me to see, okay, I can do this. And it really opened my eyes to the rest of the world because even though I've traveled a lot when I was little from when I was five or something I just lived in Holland. So seeing other cultures and other people and how they live and do things really opened my eyes that I can just be myself, you know, and I think if you grow up in one particular place, it's very easy, and you're very likely to get stuck in that way of living and people kind of all do the same thing and you really should be doing that are you are being put in a box. And by traveling and seeing all these different places I get, everybody does everything different, so you really get the chance to be yourself so much more. And you think, oh, I really like this and this country and I love that in a totally different country. You take all those little life lessons with you and that's really kind of what form do I am now. And I like that because I'm yeah, I'm very happy with it. And I know I wouldn't have been happy to stay here and kind of full or what the rest of it did.
25:51 Rob Konrad
9 to 5 job and two weeks, holidays, a year, something like that, that'll be your personal nightmare.
26:01 Laura Dekker
26:09 Rob Konrad
Can you understand people who said that you might have been too young to do this? And do you think there is an age that's too young? I mean, you were 13 when you really started or started earlier, but 13 when you got more concrete and you got to do this, I guess what would you say if there's someone coming who is 12 or 11 or 10 years old? Is there an age that's too young? Or is it really depending on whoever has a plan and wants to do it?
26:34 Laura Dekker
I'm sure there's an age that is too young because it's just not possible to gain the amount of experience necessary in that time. And I started really young to get that experience and trained every day so probably by age limits this is there. But then I wanted to start with 13 ended with 14 so, can be done young. I know, I don't think, every 13 year olds could do it and I definitely think that there are 11 and 12 year olds who could do it. It totally depends on the child, on the person, on the preparation, and the determination, on the parents, on the way they grew up. There's so many factors involved in it. And I really don't like it when people say, oh, from this age, you should be doing this, or you're allowed to do that because every kid is different. And when I look at my sister with the 13, she's so different from me, that the same parents and the same way of growing up, but she couldn't do it, and my parents would have never let her go when she was 13. So yeah, every child is different. And I think people need to look at the individual situation.
27:54 Laura Dekker
But that saying, I can totally understand that people's first reaction is, wait, what, of course, but then I don't like it when they make up their mind by that one sentence they read and say, oh, that shouldn't be allowed to because she's 13.
28:17 Rob Konrad
Consideration, your experience and your background and your maturity that you had.
28:22 Laura Dekker
That really hurts me. But if people would say, first reaction, oh, that's crazy. I don't think this is a good idea. But let's look into and then come to say maybe she can do it that would be very different.
28:40 Rob Konrad
You were a really determined girl. I mean, you talk about how you were 10 years old and paying for your, not the first boat but one of the boats that you wanted. So you did basically every job on the side that you can do as a 10 year old to actually pay for the boat. This is like you're just trust fund baby who does know just get a boat and do everything that's really you had this plan, you had the determination and to really work for it from a very, very early age.
29:09 Laura Dekker
Yeah, it's part of my growing up. I guess, whenever I wanted something, dad was like, well, you go and get it. It was nice, because if he saw that I really wanted something and I needed help, I could ask for help. But if I was not doing my part on it, then he wouldn't help. This boat I really wanted so I worked very hard for it. And I think by the time I was done, I had half of it and I found a really nice boat that I really wanted and then he said I'll pay the other half, and then he paid back to me over time when he got it. So you know, we always figured a way out. But I did have to do it myself, that was his way of thinking.
29:57 Rob Konrad
What would you say to someone who has a dream and wants to do something, but it's being held back by his surroundings or her surroundings? So everyone saying, you can't do that and you are not made for it and this will never turn out. What should those people do?
30:11 Laura Dekker
I think it's always good to listen to comments and reactions of other people. But say yourself, you know, if you think I can do this, and somebody says, oh, you can't do it. Then you say, well, why? Why do you think I can't do it? And if they come with good arguments, you can think about it ______, if they don't come with good arguments, you say, well, I've thought about those things and I don't agree with it. So yeah, basically, don't be so stubborn as to just ignore everything, it's good to listen to it. But really stick to your plan and don't let it turn your way if there's hundreds of people who say you can't do it, think about why they say it if there's good reasons behind it. And in my case, I did that. And I thought, no, there's not a good reason. They're just saying this from first impressions of the reading and not looking into it. And for me, that was a good reason to just keep going. I had thought all through in my mind.
31:22 Rob Konrad
And the whole plan was really something intrinsic for yourself. It was not about fame, it was not about telling the world you're the first, it was really just you wanted to do that you did. So it just didn't cross your mind to do it for fame or something?
31:39 Laura Dekker
No actually, it was a very big shock when it got into new media first, and it was all really negative from the beginning as well. So okay, ____ even wanted less. But it's something that I'd wanted from a very young age. Just thinking, that's what I want to do. I was very sure that that's what I wanted to do. And I guess for myself more than anything, just to find myself, to challenge myself, to grow, to take that next step. It's also of course, an age where you want to develop where you want to find yourself, where everybody is saying, having some opinion, telling you something but actually you just want to do your own thing. And I think therefore, it was even more special that I could do it at that age. I think it's perfect age to do such a thing. If you're able to.
32:43 Rob Konrad
After you finished, was there a period where you had like a hangover? So I mean, you've achieved your dream and then what's next? Did you fall into like, an empty void of nothing like what to do next?
32:56 Laura Dekker
No, not at all actually. I'm not a person who gets bored, ever. I'm generally, waking up thinking, oh, there's these million things I want to do, what am I going to do first. We were saying before, the trip wasn't about breaking records, or, fame or anything like that. It was just a very personal challenge for myself. And before I finished the trip I had already achieved that we think that I wanted to. So I think after crossing the ocean, I had the feeling of, okay, now, I've, this is what I wanted. I have crossed the Pacific, which is something I really wanted and seeing lots of different islands and countries and met people, I've been in big calms, and storms, I had gone through a lot of challenges for myself. And that's really what I was looking for. So for myself, I had already kind of fulfilled that. And when I finished the trip, it was more another stuff over something. Because I had already decided that I wanted to keep sailing to New Zealand, which is another half time around the world. Like, okay, I think another summer.
34:10 Rob Konrad
Might as well just go ______
34:14 Laura Dekker
Yeah, especially at the time, it was not really the end of anything. In fact, it's helped more like the beginning because in some way to trip had kind of given me to building blocks that I needed in my life, the assurance that I could do that, that it was worth fighting for a dream that you have, even when it's really, really hard. And yeah, so I felt more like, okay, now that I've learned all these things, I could really keep going or something I don't know, it was, yeah, definitely not the end of anything.
34:52 Rob Konrad
So what dreams do you have now, what's next for you?
34:58 Laura Dekker
So after the trip, I spend a lot of time doing presentations, and especially going to a lot of schools and working with kids and I wrote a book about my journey. So I thought a lot about my trip and what it meant for me, and what I'd seen and I came to the conclusion that I learned a lot from that trip and then I wanted to do something with that. I was working, with a lot of kids of the age when I did the trip and thought, man, I wish I could take these kids out on a boat, and just like, throw them out in the ocean so they can learn the things that I learned on my trip. So after a lot of thinking, I kind of came to an idea to start a school on a boat.
35:47 Laura Dekker
So basically, I want to take students out on a boat, on a big ship really, and teach them the same things that I learned on my trip. Because I believe a boat and sailing, it's a really good platform to learn a lot of life skills that otherwise aren't gained. And especially nowadays, everything is very theoretical. So everything we learn in school, it's all theory and there's almost no practical stuff, which is really sad. And they end up with 17, 18 finish school and thinking, okay, I know all these things, but I've no idea what to do, or what to do with it. And they're kind of lost and I think that's really sad because they have such great ideas and goals but they didn't learn how to achieve that. So I want combine the theory learning with practical learning, and just throw them out there and teach them how to reach your goals, how to live their dreams, and I think aboard a ship is just the best place to do that. So that's my next ____
36:58 Laura Dekker
I've started designing a ship, that's purpose built for this and I want to somehow get it built and then yeah, go sailing with ____
37:10 Rob Konrad
You've started this foundation basically, you have the plan to build a ship and there's a Kickstarter campaign that people can support. Talk about where people can find it, and what they can do to help, what kind of help you need?
37:28 Laura Dekker
Yeah, so, at the moment I'm really looking for the finances, the design of the ship is almost finished, and that would need to get built so I need a lot of money for it. And I've got some sponsors. I'm working together with Deutsche Bank, but there's still so much more needed. And I've really only just started with it. So I've started to go fund me page ____ donate or straight into the trust. I've set up a trust for it where the ____ so we've got a Facebook page where there's lots of info and I'm working on a website we will be online soonish which will be ‘lauradekkerworldsailingfoundation.com'. That's also the name of the trust and yes spread the word, just let people know a little bit so they can help ______. At the moment I'm doing most of the work myself so it's just so much work because there's so many things attached. It's really heaps bigger than my trip. And so even people who know of management or media or things like that would be great because it's a lot of work to do all by myself.
38:52 Rob Konrad
And where can people find to go fund me page what's the rest of the GoFundMe page?
38:57 Laura Dekker
Call of the ocean.
38:58 Rob Konrad
Call of the ocean. Okay and the Facebook page is?
39:02 Laura Dekker
Also it's call of the ocean. The name of it is Laura Decker World Sailing Foundation. You can also find it on that.
39:10 Rob Konrad
Okay. And what about any like supplies, stuff that you might need, starting from life vests?
39:18 Laura Dekker
It's always great if we can find sponsors who you know can help with the build of the boat, it would be great. Any materials for that, sails, masts, ropes, rigging, everything, we need everything.
39:33 Rob Konrad
Make sure to check out those pages and make sure to do whatever you can if you're into sailing and if you can provide any help, it would be definitely fantastic. And I think it's a great idea. And I think it's really something that this generation is missing in particular that I've talked to some people recently also scientists, teachers who went on TV, they had their own shows, and they all keep saying the same thing you're saying is that we are becoming so incapable of actually doing things. It's almost to the point where you cannot hand out scissors, to young kids because they might might hurt themselves. And it's come to this point. And I see this also here in Switzerland, where you don't, I don't know how you are supposed to learn anything. In the past we _____ time ____ and do things and you went sailing. And nowadays you don't.
40:22 Laura Dekker
_____ it's very protected. Yeah, so I want to combine that teaching.
40:31 Rob Konrad
There's a sad back story for that regarding the ship that you sail around the world with Guppy if it's pronounced correctly, I think Guppy did not make it.
40:44 Laura Dekker
No because I started this new project which requires a much bigger boat than Guppy, I thought I would lend Guppy to an organization to sail with youth as well. Younger youth just so she could do something good. I was thinking of selling her for a while. But then I wanted to keep her legacy and do that. But yeah, the organization that I did a lender to just signed it to put her on a reef in the Cook Islands so yeah, so she's gone. But the saddest thing is just the way they handled it. For months before that already I was saying, you know, this is not the right way to handle things. And why is this happening? I was seeing pictures of the boat where she just wasn't maintained and thinking what is this, I gave the boat fully maintained and she was in a much better condition even then, when I sailed on her, and they just didn't look after it. And to me, that's heartbreaking because the boat to me means a lot. She's my first home. And I see her as my friend and I often wrote we and before everyone was saying that we who's we? And I was thinking Guppy and me of course.
42:10 Rob Konrad
42:13 Laura Dekker
I talked to the boats and she's just a big part of me. And I can't, I still don't understand how they could just do that to her. So not appreciate the boat for what she is and I even got a comment after that saying she's just a piece of plastic and at least the people aren't buying this.
42:36 Rob Konrad
Okay. So they didn't value the emotional side of things with it.
42:41 Laura Dekker
They didn't value the boat at all and I find that really sad because we had a lot of talks before that about it. And they said, you know, we would take good care of her and all these promises that they didn't. _____ she is gone that they just the way they treated her, it's like, yeah, she was my baby.
43:05 Rob Konrad
So it crashed into a reef while it was anchored or what happened to the boat?
43:10 Laura Dekker
They went to a ____, I still don't really know why, because I haven't given me a damage report or anything. But they anchored basically in a place where you're not able to anchor,on the ocean side of reef, and probably a probably a squall came or the anchor dragged. I don't know exactly what happened and she landed on the reef. And from the tracker that I've seen, I'm pretty sure that they could have gotten her off the reef the first day because she was kind of ___ in between rocks, but there was no hole in it, because it's a really strong boat, and they probably gotten her out, but they just abandoned it. And, I don't know exactly what they did but it got smashed further on to the reef. And I'm not sure if it's still there, or if they've taken it off. But it has been confirmed that she's just a total loss.
44:12 Rob Konrad
There's no way to to repair it or the fix it?
44:16 Laura Dekker
No, for a long time, I was hoping, okay, she won't be structurally sound anymore, but maybe we can put her in a museum, or we can do something with it. But I couldn't get in contact with them. They didn't tell me what happened or what was happening or I just didn't have any say in ___. So that's yeah, it's very difficult.
44:45 Rob Konrad
Sorry about that. Sorry to hear that It's a personal loss. In the book you described that, what you also learned about the journey is that it's the small things that really count, not the materialistic things I mean you went along with very little and you didn't need too much money basically to do the whole trip. It was self financed but you kept very, what are the still things that that are important to you?
45:23 Laura Dekker
Many things actually but things on the boat that are really because Guppy was very simplistic, so I didn't have _____ or lot of electricity, it was just, yeah, not a lot of water. So these are things that even now, I still really appreciate. If I can stand under warm, shower, I still think this is so nice. I still think about the water all the time if I'm not wasting it, because I only had 250 liters of water on the boat. So it's like, okay, I need to be super careful or having an ice cube in your drink or just being warm. Those are all things that I think most people really take for granted. It's there that's just straight and not wet and salty. I love it. It's so nice. And I was kind of afraid that it would go away and that it would become normal again. But I still really appreciate it. It's still amazing.
46:34 Laura Dekker
And it is a lesson that I really wanted to keep, to really appreciate all the little things and just be happy with what you've got and the food that I had on the way was often not really great. I'm not a really great cook either. But yeah, because I've never _____ a lot of storage. You just kind of get what you get. And yeah, I like that, that you can just be really easy and say well, okay, we've got this today. That's fun. Not say, well, I need this, or I need this and you get to countries and they have totally different food from what we are used to. And I met people who were like ____ , but I need this or I need this particular brand. And I can't live without this and I think okay. But it's not here. Or it's super, super expensive to buy there. And yeah, once you step aside from that, life becomes a lot easier and a lot more fun. There are a lot of new things that are really nice.
47:37 Rob Konrad
You've seen so many different countries. And did you ever count how many countries you visited? I'm sure you did.
47:43 Laura Dekker
No, I didn't.
47:44 Rob Konrad
47:45 Laura Dekker
47:51 Rob Konrad
What concerns you the most about the state of planets? I mean you went to so many different areas of this world and traveled around all your life?
48:01 Laura Dekker
Well, two things. First of all, just the way we are growing up now, not learning things that I think are really important. We're becoming very impersonal but also we're in a very throwaway society. So if something breaks, we just say, oh, well, it's broken, we'll throw it away and by a new one. And that, of course, creates a lot of waste. It's also due to the fact that people are not learning how to fix things. And they don't appreciate really how much value something has got. It's just, we have so much and it's so easy to get things, and to do things. You know, that's great. I'm not against that, we don't value it anymore. And that we just throw everything away. And it's a huge waste. Often people will say, well, the planet is too small, and there's too many people and there shouldn't be many more people. But I think that the people who are living on this planet now are using probably four times as much as we really need to use or maybe even more, and that's, it's such a waste. We're throwing away so much food and so much resources and oil and plastics, and it's not necessary. And yeah, I find that hard. But there's a lot of factors that hang together with that, which part of is just not good education, not learning to fix things or value things.
49:46 Rob Konrad
Okay. What does freedom mean to you?
49:58 Laura Dekker
It's a good question. And it's kind of changes from time to time. In the beginning freedom for me was really, to just not have anything, be able to just not have anything that you need to take care of, or be attached to. But now, I also think it's really a big part in your own head, how you live with struggles or things that you have. So if something you have is a really big burden on you, then that takes way your freedom. But if you've got something like a boat or house or something, and you're really happy with it, then it's not a burden and then you feel free. So yeah, I think it has a lot to do with your own mental state, and how you see things, value things and handle them.
51:02 Rob Konrad
It's funny, you mentioned houses, because I've talked to some friends who, at some point in their life they made enough money so they buy themselves, like a nice little holiday. Now, I know villa, something in France, for example. And in the beginning, it's this freedom that they have to …. we can go there anytime we want. Yeah, then it becomes, for everyone I talked to says, after a few years, they get to hate it after a while. It's just like the wife says, we're getting there and I need to prepare the kitchen, we need to get the pool ready. And then the lamp goes out. And then we are always afraid someone breaks in and it's just so afterwards it's funny how does freedom after a while turns into the complete opposite for so many and then trying to get rid of it.
51:52 Laura Dekker
Yeah, that's kind of what I have experienced. At first I thought, okay, you just don't want to have anything because it's all just a burden. But then it totally depends how you look at it, or how you handle it. And if you do have too many things, then yeah, that definitely becomes a burden. So I think it's different for everybody how much they can handle and how much they have.
52:14 Rob Konrad
How you live now? You live in a boat? You live in a house? Have you settled in New Zealand? Where do you live in New Zealand, right?
52:23 Laura Dekker
I've lived on Guppy until the beginning of this year. Now I'm just staying with family and friends until I get the project all set up and hopefully have the boat built and go sailing on it. That's the plan.
52:44 Rob Konrad
You couldn't imagine living in just one place for a longer period of time.
52:50 Laura Dekker
It's hard. I think it would be very hard, I haven't really done in until now. But in New Zealand I did that was in one place. But I was on the boat so, makes a big difference. I do need to live on boats. And luckily my dad lives on a boat.
53:13 Rob Konrad
He's also still traveling around so he's still?
53:17 Laura Dekker
He's still building his boat. Okay. Yeah, but he definitely finds some traveling.
53:23 Rob Konrad
Okay. You said you met a lot of people when you know you were coming to a new country and there's this community of people that say around the world how do you characterize the people who are making these kind of trips? Is it a lot of people that are I know, running away from something or have enough of their previous existence and for trying to find something else or is there any type or is it just mix of different people?
53:56 Laura Dekker
It's a mix of so many different people. You've got a lot of retired people who've got enough money who bought themselves a nice boat and are cruising around. But I've also seen young families who just sold everything and decided to go sailing. I've seen much younger people like my age now that just decided oh screw it let's buy an old wreck and sail across an ocean. And sometimes they even make it that not always. There's so many different groups of people. I would say by far the biggest group is retired people who bought themselves a nice boat and are cruising around. But there's definitely also some younger families and younger people during it that are just kind of hippies floating around on their boats and going from place to place, living really simple. Yeah so lots of different people.
55:06 Rob Konrad
Are you still in touch with the people that you met during your trip. I mean, you often spend quite longer periods of time with certain people and they all went on and you went on. Are you still in touch with?
55:23 Laura Dekker
With a lot of them not, of course, because I met so many people. Some people I stayed in touch with for a while. But then it faded. And some people I'm still in touch with. So yeah, definitely made friends for a lifetime on the journey.
55:37 Rob Konrad
Yeah, I mean, it's really, it's something I find incriminating, because I couldn't see myself doing anything like this, because I'm the kind of one place and I need my little safety and my box around me. And so it's really interesting to talk to someone like you who is the exact opposite. But it's incredibly inspiring also, the way you handled all these challenges and the way you handled you either way, you organized everything from the beginning, and from a very early age and how you really inspire other people, and especially young people to follow their dreams and everything.
56:15 Rob Konrad
So I always ask people two questions. The first question is, this is a series of interviews with extraordinary people so people from across the globe, from all different areas of life, who do extraordinary things, in one way or the other. Is there someone that you consider extraordinary that I might even talk to next?
56:41 Laura Dekker
Yeah, Tanya Abby, she is somebody who inspired me from when I was very little. So she sailed around world when she was 18, but a long time ago. She wrote a book as well, which is, I think, in English called Maiden Voyage and it's so nice written, and I met her as well. So she's definitely somebody who inspires me. Somebody who also really inspired me but he's not live anymore, so you won't be able to talk him is ______ also a sailor and I love the way he sees the ocean. Same with Tanya. But it's, it's a connection with the ocean that I've also really felt. And my dad, he's always been a big example and always been by my side. So he's definitely somebody who inspires me.
57:37 Rob Konrad
You really have a special relationship with your dad, we can feel that from your book there's like the mutual respect and support is really something that I found amazing to read and really, I think it's rare to see this, these days.
57:53 Laura Dekker
We don't agree very often, and we do have fights. But yeah, we have a very good understanding and we can talk about everything, and I think that's very important and I really appreciate that. I can always call my dad even in the middle of the night and say, I am stuck here and can you help me and he will. That's ______ Yeah, we do have a special relationship.
58:21 Rob Konrad
What are your next steps? What are you doing besides the foundation? What are you working on right now? Job wise, is it is this what?
58:33 Laura Dekker
So I'm kind of in between things the whole thing with Guppy and then the project kind of started going well. I just thought okay, but let's see what happens. And then a lot of positive reactions came in and the funding when went ahead so then I went to Europe and I was working as an electrician apprentice in New Zealand. But yeah, since the project kind of started running, I thought, okay, let's go to Europe and have meetings. So I'm really in between seeing where life takes me.
59:08 Rob Konrad
That's great. Yeah, final question Laura and again, thank you very much for taking the time and for talking to me. What's your final message to everyone who's watching this or listening to this? What's the message that's closest to your heart?
59:30 Laura Dekker
There's so many things. But I think the most something that really keeps me going is, something I often write in my book, you know, if somebody wants a signature ‘Life is a journey and not a destination'. And with that I mean, that often people are doing something because they want to reach something or they're working their whole life because then when they're old, they can do whatever it is they want to do. But they forget to live in between. So you know, often it's the journey to get to whatever it is that you want to do that's the most beautiful and where you learn the most and it's very important to enjoy that. So even you know, my goal is to go sailing with kids and teach them life skills, but it will take a lot of efforts and a lot of organization and things to do that and it won't always be fun but I do it really try to it enjoy the work that I'm doing and I see the fun in it as well because it's, I think it's very important to enjoy the journey.
1:00:42 Rob Konrad
Wonderful. All right again, thank you so much. If you haven't read the book make sure to get it on Amazon or any any bookshop is called ‘One Girl One Dream' make sure to check out the documentary Maiden Trip. Also make sure to check out the foundation I'm going to paste all the links below the video somewhere so please make sure to check out the foundation, support it in whatever way you can and Laura thank you very much. I wish you all the best for your next endeavors, for your next journey whatever that will be or where it will take you and we will be talking to you. Thank you so much.
1:01:17 Laura Dekker
1:01:18 Rob Konrad
1:01:20 Laura Dekker
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