Film: Maidentrip


Laura Dekker is a dutch teenager.
Laura Dekker  is 14 year old teenager.
Laura Dekker is a dutch teenager of 14 years old who had decided to sail around the globe and did.
Of course there would be a documentary about such a bold and risky venture.

Maidentrip is a 2013 documentary mostly shot by Laura Dekker herself and directed by Jillian Schlesinger. The documentary centers around the journey of Laura Dekker, the youngest person to sail solo around the globe. She started her journey in August 2010 and ended in January 2012, after having completed her solo global circumnavigation.

Despite the descriptions of this film, Maidentrip is not a ‘struggle against all odds’ type survival film – portraying Laura Dekker at the seas, braving the storms and etc. Instead, the film goes for a more nuanced approach, turning a film that may as well be a thriller of sorts into a provocative coming of age story of Laura Dekker as she spends the two years at sea, maturing both physically and mentally as an independent adult.

The first part of the film goes into the more controversial aspects of this tale. After Laura’s plan to circumnavigate the globe alone had been announced and before Laura had the opportunity to go out to sea, the authorities of Holland intervened. The Holland government took the initiative to share custody with her parents, preventing her from proceeding with her plans for ten months.
The whole fiasco had garnered media attention both locally and internationally and inspired much negative and skeptical reception to her decision to embark on this challenge.

Most of the film was shot at sea by Laura Dekker herself, sailing as she records with a Sony Handy Cam, narrating her thoughts and documenting the situation occurring. Cinematography in the film for the most part is not very refined, it is reminiscent of the ‘vlogging’ style of cinematography one can find on Youtube or any site to share videos. It is clear that this film isn’t meant for a cinematic release, however, despite the film’s lack of refined cinematography, this spontaneous filming method is also a strength.
It makes the film feel much more authentic and thus more believable and that is an extremely important factor in any documentary.

In fact, the contents of the film is also very believable. During Laura Dekker’s more hazardous moments, she places emphasis on sailing rather than attempting to document the process. Although by doing so, we miss out on the more exciting aspects of her adventure, the film does not suffer much loss from it. The film often focuses on Dekker’s personal history and her spiritual change to maturity and independence. At the start, we see her going through loneliness, after a many days alone at sea, she weeps when she finds dolphins swimming alongside her boat, hoping that they would keep her company a little longer. Yet, as she continues further along with her journey, she reaches a state of epiphany. The loneliness which she once wept over, has become like home to her. As she states: ‘Home to me is guppy (Her boat)’.

But, while the film does the significance of certain aspects of the journey justice, the ‘actual’ journey of Laura Dekker’s global circumnavigation is left a little cold.
After a second watch, I found a severe lack of Laura Dekker’s own voice in a film starring herself. Yes, although we do get to know of her personal history, her personal family life and her thoughts regarding her relationships with her family and this helps us in learning details about her, but I never did feel like I got to know her truly at all.
Everything just felt like a metaphor. A narration.
Perhaps if the film was just a little longer, focusing more on Laura’s primary hobby (sailing) and her passions; showing rather than just narrating her love for sailing.  Showing more of the more mundane aspects of sailing to further get us involved in all the aspects of the journey.

Despite what the film lacks, I think that it is important to note that the film still does an exceptional job in portraying the journey of a young girl to an adult. Making use of Laura’s journey as a metaphor to express the maturation to adulthood. While I felt that the film was still incomplete, lacking Laura Dekker’s own personal voice and details about sailing, the film is still a great meditative study in a girl’s journey to independence and maturity.



One thought on “Film: Maidentrip

  1. Wow- I’d never heard of this movie before, but it sounds incredible! I’d love to talk to you about sharing your articles on, as well as some exciting opportunities we have coming up on the site. If you’re keen, shoot me an email at– thanks!


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