When you’re a kid, say around six years old, adventure is all around you. A playground, a storm drain, and even a storage closet under the stairs provide you a place to fight off pirates and create a nuclear bomb shelter because, you know, ninjas and missiles could come crashing in at any time. It’s only when you’re a teenager that you realize adventure is everywhere but around you. This might be why teens develop a cult-level obsession with movies. They provide the adventure that’s missing.
I know that when I was 13 and saw Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl I began to wish that something more exciting would happen in my life. I was in Hawaii at the time, and had to resort to stick sword fights on the beach with my sister, all the while hoping that Will Turner would dash in to save the day. Too bad that handsome Will actually worked in Jamaica. But two years later, after watching another swashbuckling movie, I got my adventure in full—almost too much of it.
I was living in Washington state and got asked by one of my closest friends to go with her on her family’s annual Memorial Day boat trip. Sure, I said, I would love to. On Friday afternoon, we headed out of the Puget Sound and up into the San Juan Islands on their cozy blue and white sailboat, with just enough room for the six of us. I remember sitting in the bow as the sun sank in a calm ball of orange, completely enthralled by the water that whipped smoothly under us. Sailing!
That night, the three of us girls huddled under a pile of fuzzy blankets in the cabin and prepared to watch a movie on the tiny, grainy television.
“Have you seen Master and Commander?” asked Jessie.
“No,” I said tentatively, wondering what it was about.
Turns out, the movie told an epic, poetic tale of British sailors trying to outwit a nasty French ship that chased them far, far into the Galapagos. The next day I couldn’t stop thinking about the sailors’ adventure, even as my friend and I dumped kayaks into the water and paddled over to Jones Island, which was only about a hundred feet from where our boat was docked.