A journey of the human spirit

By Jesse Martin

Reviewed by Zach Luse

“If I never came back it wouldn't be a tragedy, because a tragedy would be someone who dies at 80 and spent 80 years not being
satisfied. I was out there doing what I wanted.”

-Jesse Martin

From a young boy's dream to the record books. Jesse Martin tells the true story of how he turned his dream into an inspirational journey. On December 7, 1998 seventeen year old Jesse set sail on his yacht Lionheart. Three hundred twenty eight days later, on October 31, 1999 he became the youngest person to sail around the world solo, nonstop, and unassisted.
After two years of hard work, planning, and finding sponsors, Jesse's courageous adventure began. Armed with his guitar, 10 tubes of toothpaste, 60 CD's, over 100 books, and a grand total of 3 hours solo sailing experience, he set out to conquer the world (or at least sail around it).
His story takes you through the challenges and emotional ups and downs of his experience. He starts with the challenges of finding sponsors, dealing with the doubters, and finding a boat. The groundwork for the voyage was an amazing accomplishment in itself.
As he circumnavigates the globe aboard his 37 foot yacht he deals with a near collision with a freighter, a pirate scare, mechanical and electrical failures and countless other dangers. With thousands of miles between him and any other human being, he faced storms and waves that would make most people cringe from an armchair. Frustrations of the doldrums, worries of the possibility of sleep walking overboard, and the occasional albatross encounter all play a part in making this an interesting adventure.

“I stood on deck watching the clouds and hoping like hell they wouldn't come near me. I felt like I was in a movie with that beautiful Enya song 'Storm in Africa' going around in my head.”

When I read this I dug my Enya CD out of my collection. As I listened to this song I tried to picture myself in Jesse's place standing on deck watching the dark clouds as I passed the horn of Africa. I realized most of us will never venture this far from home in our lifetimes. Or even be able to accurately imagine such an experience except through stories like this one. And he did all this as a teenager. This is a really inspirational story and it makes me want to venture out into the unknown and explore the world. You may not feel this way after reading it but you will definitely give some thought to your own dreams and goals.

“There are many people out there dreaming of great things, and it's a good chance that your son, daughter, brother, sister or friend is one of them. Believe and encourage them so they won't lose one of humanity's most prized assets
--- the ability to dream.”

Jesse has become involved with several youth organizations and his message has reached hundreds of thousands of children. He began a new adventure in 2002. He, his brother and some friends are currently sailing around the world on an old 54 foot cutter-rigged yawl. This trip is an adventure cruise and is supposed to take 2 years. You can find out more about Jesse and his adventures at His book along with videos and more are available for purchase on his website.