MAIDENTRIP – What I Learned From Laura Dekker, The Youngest Person To Sail Around The World


Last night I watched the movie Maindentrip… and even though the film has nothing to do with cycling, it does have a lot to do with solo world travel… and especially, what it takes to travel on your own at a very young age.

Having started traveling the world at age 17 myself, I can relate to the film’s main star, the young Laura Decker, as she sets off from her home… totally alone… and travels around the world in a small 40-foot sailboat she calls “Guppy.”

Laura Dekker became famous in Holland (and all around the world) when officials at her school learned that she was planning to sail around the world at just 13 years of age. A 10-month-long court case delayed Dekker’s departure, but she and her parents ultimately won the case – allowing her to set off on a 2-year-long circumnavigational sailboat trip around the world.

But unlike other young women who have sailed around the world on their own in order to chase the title of being the youngest person to sail around the world, Laura Dekker took a different approach to her time on the open water. Rather than rush around the world in an attempt to break a record that could potentially hold for one hundred or more years, Laura decided that if she was going to sail around the world, she wanted to stop along the way and enjoy the experience by visiting the countries she was passing in her boat.

So, at various points throughout her travels, Laura docks her small boat, comes on shore and spends either days, weeks or months at a time in the countries she is sailing past. During her time on shore, Laura meets up with friends and family, while at the time time making friends with strangers along the way.

I started bike touring at age 17 and one of the mistakes I made on my initial travels was wanting to go too far, too fast. I was more concerned with covering long distances than I was about stopping to experience the people and the places I was passing through.

This is something I’ve mentioned time and time again here on Bicycle Touring Pro. If I could do my first four or five bike tours all over again, I’d cover less ground, spend more time off the bike, and make more of an attempt to interact with the people and the places that I was cycling through. How Laura Dekker was able to realize that she wanted a slower, more absorbent trip around the world at just 13, 14, 15 and 16 years of age… I will never fully understand.

There are so many interesting things to say about Maindentrip, Laura Dekker, and her unique trip by boat around the world. But I want to keep this blog post short… and I recommend you watch the film for yourself. I think you’ll enjoy it!

Maidentrip: The Laura Dekker movie is a compelling documentary film about a headstrong young girl who sails around the world and somewhere along the way, becomes a woman.

Maidentrip is a film about sailing. It is a documentary about a young, determinded girl. But more than anything, Maidentrip captures the excitement… and the boredom… and the self-discovery that comes with solo world travel.

Watch MAIDENTRIP online: YouTube and Amazon

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