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Unsinkable by Abby Sunderland and Lynn Vincent

9 May, 2011

I love a good biography or autobiography, and this one fit the bill perfectly. ūüôā

Abby Sunderland was attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 2010 when her boat was demasted in the middle of the Indian Ocean, about as far from land as you can possibly get. All I knew about her or her voyage before I began to read the book was the Australian coverage that took place surrounding her rescue just inside Australian territorial waters.

Abby was not your ordinary sixteen year old girl. She was homeschooled along with her siblings and spent many years of her early life sailing with her parents, including a three year trip along the coast of Mexico. At the age of thirteen, she decided she wanted to try to sail around the world. At sixteen, although she failed in her attempt to sail around the world, she became the youngest sailor to sail past Cape Horn, solo.

I got a lot from the book. Most significantly for me, I benefited from Abby’s parents’ views on home education and bringing up children. Like the Sunderlands, I don’t want our children to live their lives sitting behind a TV or computer screen, interacting with the world via Facebook, email and Skype. I want them out in the world; living life and experiencing the world.

I don’t have the budget to train up a fleet of round-the-world sailors. I have almost nothing in the way of knowledge of sailing. My children don’t have to hop into a boat to experience the world. The world is right here, out our front door, along our street, in our neighborhood. I want to teach our children to engage with the world where we are, with the means that we have, rather than getting stuck in the rut of “our budget won’t allow international travel”.

If you want to be challenged, read this book. If you want to be inspired, read this book. If you think that young people are capable of so much more than society seems to think they can, read this book. If you think that all teens are a menace, then perhaps you also need to read this book too!

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