Martin, Jesse 1981-
MARTIN, Jesse 1981-
PERSONAL: Born 1981, in Munich, Germany.
ADDRESSES: Home—Melbourne, Australia. Agent—c/o Author's Mail, Allen & Unwin, PO Box 8500, St. Leonards, 1590, New South Wales, Australia.
CAREER: Sailor and author. Ambassador to youth outreach organizations, including Reach Youth and Young Endeavor program.
(With Ed Gannon) Lionheart: A Journey of the Human Spirit, Allen & Unwin (St. Leonards, New South Wales, Australia), 2000.
ADAPTATIONS: A television documentary, Lionheart: The Jesse Martin Story, aired in Australia in 2000.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A proposed television documentary series focusing on Martin's 2002-2004 round-the-world sailing expedition.
SIDELIGHTS: On October 31, 1999, seventeen-yearold schoolboy Jesse Martin left Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, in a thirty-four-foot sailboat, the Ariel of Lionheart, on a solo Southern Hemisphere circumnavigation of the globe. He arrived home 328 days later, having never resorted to using the yacht's engine. Just weeks after Martin's eighteenth birthday, a huge crowd cheered as he pulled into Melbourne harbor, having just become the youngest person to make an uninterrupted, unassisted, solo journey around the world.
Martin kept a journal throughout his trip and he recounts his experience in the book Lionheart: A Journey of the Human Spirit, which sold more than 100,000 copies in Martin's native Australia. In Chimes Mandy Suhr quoted Martin on writing the book: "The process wasn't fun. I had to look into myself and ask a lot of questions." Reviewing the book for School Library Journal, Vicki Reutter called it "conversational in tone and unsparingly honest, revealing [Martin's] insecurities as well as a quick wit." A contributor for Kirkus Reviews wrote: "The rapid narrative is peppered with Martin's journal entries, which reveal the remarkable teen's complexity. . . . A tribute to the spirit of adventure, akin to Robin Lee Graham's Dove."
Martin was born in Munich, Germany, while his parents were traveling through Europe in a kombi van, and he was reared in the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland, Australia. He backpacked with his mother and younger brother, Beau, through Southeast Asia at the age of eleven; learned to sail at the age of fourteen while on a three-month catamaran trip from Melbourne to Cape York with his father and brother; and kayaked in Papua New Guinea with Beau a year later. "I've never been one to live a conventional life," said Martin in an interview with Habitat Australia, "and I've always been a dreamer. For me, this trip is a lifelong dream come true. I'm a born adventurer." The 27,000-nautical-mile adventure was for him the culmination of years of dreaming.
In February 2002 Martin set off on another adventure. This time, he, his brother, and two friends left Melbourne on a two-year journey in their fifty-four-foot old-style cutter yacht Kijana (Swahili for "young people"). Their planned journey took them up the Queensland Coast to Kimberley in northern Western Australia, to Indonesia's Spice Islands, Sri Lanka, India, across Africa through Kenya and the Congo to Venezuela and the United States, then to the Caribbean, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, Chile, Easter Island, Pitcairn and Tahiti in French Polynesia, to Samoa, PNG in Micronesia, and other stops determined along the way. "The Journey of Kijana is a unique exploration of environmental and cultural aspects of different countries throughout the world; integral to this journey is a commitment to education and the environment," announced the Kijana Web site. With digital cameras, the crew recorded their experiences with the intention of creating a television documentary series; meanwhile computers allowed the crew to create an interactive, online, "global classroom" that could be accessed by children around the world.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2002, review of Lion-heart: A Journey of the Human Spirit, p. 163.
Know Your World Extra, April 26, 2002, Suzanne I. Barchers, "Sailing into the Record Books; A Teen Braves the Seas—Alone—for Nearly a Year," p. 12.
Publishers Weekly, January 28, 2002, "Land Ho!," p. 215.
Ruminator Review, summer 2002, Eleise Jones, "Choose Your Own Adventure," p. 25.
School Library Journal, May 2002, Vicki Reutter, review of Lionheart, p. 173.
Calvin College Web site,http://www-stu.calvin.edu/ (October 19, 2002), Mandy Suhr, "Australian Teenager Sails Solo around the World."
Kijana Web site,http://www.kijana.net/ (January 4, 2003), "The Journey of Kijana: A Celebration of Youth, Discovery and the Spirit Within Us All."
National Geographic Web site,http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/ (October 19, 2002).
SailNet Web site,http://www.sailnet.com/ (October 19, 2002), "Jesse Martin Interview."
Teen Newsweek Web site,http://stacks.msnbc.com/ (October 19, 2002), "The Young Man and the Sea" (interview).*