From the moment we first laid eyes on it, Emily Richmond’s Let’s Sail Around the World has captured our imagination. It’s pure adventure, it’s whimsical, and it has a fairy tale quality to it, too. Here is Emily, this 24-year-old girl from LA, planning a two-year solo voyage around the world that will take her to six continents and three oceans. As Emily points out below, “more people have, in fact, been into space than have sailed around the world alone.” Incredible.
Emily needs help to make her trip. She has six days to raise about $5,000 — a tight squeeze. We asked Emily to tell us more about her and her project, and she responded with a delightful series of ancedotes that includes just randomly chilling with the King and Queen of Spain on one of her previous journeys. When Emily sets out to do something, she comes back with a story to tell.
And it’s the story of this project that’s hooked us. I was Emily’s very first backer ($15 for a Polaroid taken at some point during the trip; I cannot wait to open the creased, world-traveled envelope!), and I’ve been following along through projects updates and her website ever since. If her project is successful, I can’t imagine what the next two years of her tale will have in store. Something amazing, to be sure.
To support Emily’s project, visit it here.
Tell us about you and your project.
Well, simply, I’m trying to sail a little boat all the way around the planet. LA to LA, via 6 continents and 3 oceans. Me - I’m just trying to live a life a little less ordinary. I really like meeting people, discovering new places, and having my insides good and stirred up. Sailing Around The World is all of that.
When did you first decide you wanted to sail around the world?
I’ve been harboring the ambition for just over 4 years now - long before I really knew much about sailing at all. I had just moved aboard my first houseboat and a neighbor/friend of mine made the mistake of giving me Tania Aebi’s book Maiden Voyage, an account of her circumnavigation aboard a 26 ft boat in the ’80s. When Tania embarked on her voyage she was just an 18-year-old street punk who worked as a bicycle messenger. She hadn’t spent a lifetime preparing for the journey and even admitted she didn’t really know how to sail before she left. That said, the fact that she accomplished something so phenomenal (more people have, in fact, been into space than have sailed around the world alone) is a huge testament to how far a dream can take you. I guess, the spirit and iconography of that book have never really left me.
What’s the longest you’ve sailed before?
The longest distance I’ve sailed was a trip I did a couple years ago from Los Angeles down to southern Costa Rica. I spent about 9 months in and out of the Pacific ports of Central America. The longest consecutive amount of time I’ve ever spent - as in one leg - was 8 days. It was one of the hardest passages I’ve ever done and I did that one alone. I had to cross through the Gulf of Tehuantepec (famous for it’s brutality) in a boat really much too small and light for the sort of seas and winds experienced. I was doing that trip with no real electronic aids (save for a small handheld GPS) so I really never slept more than a handful of minutes at a time. It really felt like I had reached some new level of exhaustion I didn’t even know existed.
But somehow the universe always seems to pay you back; the next port was one of the most interesting experiences of the trip: my and another sailor/friend’s arrival serendipitously coincided with a visit by some foreign dignitaries who were keen on our wacky adventures aboard our boats. We were personally invited by the ex-President of El Salvador to join him and his guests, the King and Queen of Spain (!!), for a private concert by a 16 piece mariachi band he had flown in especially for the evening. It was surreal to say the least — me, a friend, and a few world political figures all gathered together at river’s edge in a tucked away corner of the planet, chatting about how great it is to take the unbeaten path.
What are you most excited about?
WHAT AM I NOT EXCITED ABOUT!?! I want to paint my face and do tribal dances, I wanna roam forests and learn about natural healing. I wanna snap photos and swim with fish. I want to learn and give, grow wiser and kinder.
How will you be keeping backers updated?
I’ll be blogging, podcasting, and shooting video updates. I have a site up now at www.bobbieroundstheworld.com where you can begin following the trip even in the prep stages. Once at sea, I’ll have email connections via SSB radio and will be sending in my blog updates while underway. At each port stopover I’ll be doing the larger, more multi-media updating. Everything you could want to know will be online!
What’s been your most popular reward so far?
The most popular so far has definitely been the $15 dollar level — get a polaroid picture from the trip. It makes sense, it’s relatively affordable but gives you a real sense of connectedness to the trip. Because they’re going to be one-of-a-kind, it’s a way to essentially sponsor a specific time and place… it’s like you get to say, “What was happening when this photo was taken is mine, I made this happen.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
Oh, just how in love with Kickstarter I am… I really can’t say enough good things about it! To me it’s like a little dream machine, a platform for you to express your ideas and see them nourished by peers. It’s an example of all that’s right and good about technology. It’s a place where you can cast your vote with usable dollars, stand in solidarity with creatives and innovators and say, “I think what you’re doing is good.” And to me that’s just really cool.