I was 16 when I first stepped foot on a Challenger. My father had passed and my mother had just suffered three simultaneous strokes induced by a bleed on her brain from a ruptured aneurysm. I was surviving in my parents’ house, scared to use the heating or lighting because of the financial charges that my Mother would have accrued over her three years away from home. Fed and funded by the kindness of friends and family, I just tried to make it to the end of the day so I could go back to bed in my cold dark house. I had lost all drive and motivation to strive and succeed, I was just happy to see the sun go down at the end of the day.
Sailing with Tall Ships Youth Trust offered respite from my depression and gave me the opportunity to see another side of life. At first, I was petrified, I hated the fact that the boat keeled and the rocking of the waves had me convinced we were capsizing. Come day two and the lesson on tying knots, I learned to attach myself to the boat via sail tie, bowline and stopper knots. By the final day, I felt I was ready to challenge Captain Jack Sparrow himself!
This voyage gave me an insight into a life of enjoyment and fulfilment. A life of educating other young people, who are in similar situations to myself, and giving them a new outlook on life is unimaginably rewarding. I wanted to succeed and help others again, I wanted to make my family proud and I wanted to mean something to people.
Following my voyage, I retook my A levels and am now studying Outdoor Leadership at UCLan University. I would like to see the world and I plan to revisit my homeland (Malaysia) to put a visualisation to the stories my mum and dad used to tell me. I would love to sail as a career; it’s truly beautiful feeling the ocean beneath you.
Honestly, I don’t think I’d be around anymore without my initial voyage. Tall Ships Youth Trust was the spark needed to ignite my trail of fortunate events in life.
I found hope on Challenger 1.