ON MAY 15, 2010, 16-year-old Jess Watson sailed into the Sydney Harbor to complete her solo circumnavigation of the globe. Tens of thousands of people, including New South Wales’ Premiere and Australia’s Prime Minister, waited to welcome and congratulate her on becoming the youngest person to achieve this feat. She was named Australian of the Year and also a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. She did all this amid widespread criticism and doubt, and she battled hard against gender stereotypes along the way.
Shortly before she left on her voyage, I was able to speak with her on the phone and ask her some questions on what she was about to do. What I heard was an impassioned and confident teenager who had set her goals and was taking all the necessary steps to make herself as ready as possible. She recently gave an exclusive interview to Hugh Minson and Jack Morphet on the web series The Thread. This 10-episode series documents 10 Australian icons and how they set themselves apart from their peers and accomplish some monumental goals. Watch the insightful interview below: