She Wanted to See the Stars

I’m going to butcher this, but there’s a scene from the movie Amélie that has stuck with me ever since I first saw it. A man is reading the newspaper out loud to one or two friends in the cafe where Amélie works. He comes across a piece of news, and it’s sort of a throwaway line, but it’s beautiful.

“Listen to this,” he begins (and remember, this is translated from French into American and then quoted — inexactly — by me a few years later). “A boy of six drove off in a pedal car one night. When the officers found the missing child, he explained he ‘wanted to see the stars.'”

I’ve never been able to let that image go.

There’s an innocence to this child’s bravery, and while fictional, it’s admirable. He wanted to see the stars. I never fathomed sneaking out of my house as a teenager, let alone driving off to the moon.

When I came across this Atlantic article about a 14-year-old girl on a journey to become the youngest person to sail the world alone, it was like I’d found the real life version of that fictional boy.

Her name is Laura Dekker. She spent 17 months at sea by herself, meeting up with filmmaker Jillian Schlesinger along the way. Together they created a documentary about a teenager who went against the norm and chased her watery version of the stars in a tiny, wanderlust-filled sailboat.

Schlesinger told The Atlantic, “I think anytime a young person is doing something so far outside the realm of what is considered normal and conventionally accepted, it ruffles a lot of feathers. Some people applaud and stand up for it, others call it insane and irresponsible.”

The Atlantic quoted Dekker at the start of the film: “Of course there are people who say you’re crazy, but it’s a dream. A great, great dream. I want to sail, I want to go around the world. I want to see all the places and not always the stupid same thing.”

Me too, girl. Me too.

[Why a 14-Year-Old Girl Decided to Sail Around the World via The Atlantic]

  • Aubrey Green

    The girl is really brave. Also, why not do that when you’re young, there’s not always time when you’re an adult and have to work to make a leaving and can’t take off months at a time. I haven’t read the article yet, but I am curious how her parents felt/reacted.

    When I was 4 years old my older sister was babysitting me while my mom was at work. My sister pissed me off (I don’t remember why). So, I said to myself, I will show you. I got on my bike, at that time it may or may not have had training wheels and road my bike all the way to my mom’s work, which was far and I had to cross at-least one major highway (not freeway like in California which is where I live now, but a two way lane that has fast moving cars, just less fast moving cars – this was a smaller town at the time) I don’t know how I knew how to get there come to think of it. When I walked in to my mom’s work, she was furious. Obviously 4 and 13/14 are two completely different things, but it just goes to show you if there really is something you think/want to do at a young age, you will without the fear of what might happened. I think there is some saying about not having fear as a kid, like jumping out of trees even though you might break your arm, as adults we do less of that.

    • Aubrey Green


    • Amelia Diamond

      I really liked reading this

      • Aubrey Green

        Thank you!

  • Q
  • Selena Delgado

    I love this

  • the egg

    so beautiful!

  • awww! I love her quote at the end and envy her bravery! I’d be WAY to scared to even attempt something like that! Thanks for sharing. I love hearing about amazing people!

  • mdemaria

    This reminds me of this quote: “The problem is, we always think we’ll have more time.”
    As kids, we’re constantly told that we can do things when we grow up, however we never come to do them, because we always think there will be a time when we will be able to. Just not now.
    I love this post’s message 🙂

  • RT

    oh this was such a big issue in the Netherlands.. pfff

  • Always nice hearing amazing stories about amazing people.

    Mademoiselle C. xx

  • Wonderful post – I am going to keep that quote in the back of my head this week as inspiration!

    Meghan xo

  • Olivia Vander Stichele

    I am from Belgium (next to the Netherlands) and indeed, this girl caused a storm of reactions in the dutch media… So inspirational she didn’t care, fought back, and went ahead with it anyway, against all current.

  • Amélie J.

    okay. This is officially my favorite MR post EVER! Amelie (ugh I know but English keyboard don’t type an accent) was my namesake, and I think it is the most beautiful movie ever! I used to hate my name until my parents made me watch the movie. Ever since, I’ve been, well… hooked is too little of a word.

    That article you found about the fourteen year old is SO inspiring!

  • Firefly

    Inspiring! The girl is sooo brave !