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NZ Herald writes up Jessica Watson

NZ Herald writes up Jessica Watson

Teen sailor to leave Sydney next week

These stories come up from time to time, and I know what I used to think – I know, I know – nice, cute feature piece. Dedicated kid, but fluffy coverage. Good for her… but moving on, right?

Three things about this article caught my attention.

First of all, there’s this idea – going around the world. Think about it for a second – going around the world. That’s a huge idea. And it’s a recurring one. From the camp to the romantic, it comes up again and again in the media, and also in the news. Forget the record setting – talk about the ultimate idea of travel!

To go around the world – to see everything?

Well, everything may not be possible – but imagine how much you WOULD see…

Secondly, in good brand creating fashion, Watson has a webpage and a blog which both seem to be well updated. I haven’t had time to read all the way back, but the entries I have read make me want to (and that’s always a good sign, right?).

Another teen going the distance, Jasmine Jordan, also has a website and got her cross-country covered Arizona press earlier this fall.


This stands out to a girl going through media bootcamp. This is a great way to combine self expression (especially for Watson) with a little media savy – I can almost hear a certain professor’s critique of their efforts, made in certain sports related terms.

And that brings me to the third point – who’s taking the journey. It’s not “the” experts or leaders or well known public figures, at least not yet. Their journeys might make them into something, but at the very beginning, these are individuals who want to go somewhere. Watson and Jordan travel for different reasons, but they’re both on the move. Jordon could have held a sale or done interviews or protested or written letters to bring attention to her friend. She choose to run. Watson could have stayed on lakes or in harbors. For that matter, Amelia Earhart could have stayed on the ground, or at least in Kansas. I can’t help thinking that each is responding to something inside, as well as all those outside voices of reason and encouragement.

These are not simple journeys, either. Anyone who’s ever run cross country or just done a morning jog knows that Jordon’s run will be intensely physically demanding. Watson’s course takes her through waters that experience everything from tsunamis to pirates (oh, yes, I’ll address pirates here someday, but that’s another story). Earhart did not complete her last flight.

The world is a big place. Don’t let a feature article gloss the complexities too much, even if character is a teenage girl. I think, especially if the character is a teenage girl. Especially if she’s going somewhere.

‘Course, I’m biased. I want to go somewhere someday too.

Still – hopefully I’m not the only one who doesn’t think these are just fluff pieces anymore – I prefer to think of them as first chapters, ones with lots of back story to be included as the story unfolds. I hope that as the months roll on and the miles rack up, there are a few more of these from time to time, so we can all see where Watson and Jordon are going. Hey, maybe if we’re lucky, some of us are will be reading these updates from the road ourselves.

JW 27 Aug 03

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