While most teenagers choose to spend their youth mindlessly scrolling tumblr, generally lacking cultural and intellectual substance, or burying themselves under a heaping load of advanced placement classes, 14 year old Laura Dekkar chose to spend her prime teen years venturing out to go down in history as the youngest person to ever sail around the world alone for a trip of a lifetime.
Maidentrip is a coming of age story about passionate and prepubescent Laura Dekkar from Holland. A seasoned sailor from birth, she knew early on of her longing to travel the seas. Without anything handed to her, she worked all through her childhood to raise enough money to buy a boat and gear, find sponsors, and even battle her own government before even hitting the water– undoubtedly mature beyond her years. Dekkar’s dream to circumnavigate alone was controversial; some people publicly hoped that she would drown whilst on her journey.
Despite the early offsets, Dekkar gained permission to set off on her boat Guppy, alone at age 14. Unlike those who have attempted to set the record of youngest to sail the world before her, Dekkar chose to see the world. For her, it was not just about setting a record, but more about finding herself through seeing the world. The movie captures Dekkar’s everyday life on her sailboat for over two years through documenting friendships made, frustrations held, and inviting the viewer to watch Dekkar grow up right before their eyes.
Through her emotional and spiritual journey, Dekkar inspires on the screen by taking viewers on deck with her through her filming. Nearly all of the filming done was by Dekkar on board. She filmed not just to provide herself company, but also to share her experience with others and the beauty she found in the world, undoubledly inspiring anyone who watches.
Being the same age as Dekkar when she finished her trip at 16 years old, I find it astounding that she has accomplished so at her age. Maidentrip reminds the teenaged viewers, like myself, that we should journey out to do what we love and overcome adversity to do so. She sets wanderlust within the viewer and shows how communities are vastly different, but all provide enriching experiences. By the time the credits roll, I was tempted to walk into the scene and join Dekkar for another voyage.
Maidentrip was directed by New York filmmaker Jillian Schlesinger. The film made it’s debut at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival in 2013 and was winner of the audience award.
A transcendesent adventure, Maidentrip is empowering and brings the audience along for a dynamic journey by sea. This movie will be hitting Winston Salem screens at a/perture cinema starting this Friday, February 28. It truely does make a very inspirational film for teenagers, so drag your kids out to see it– trust me, they will thank you afterwards!