Jessica Miller

The Girl

Who Sailed

Around the World

My name is Jessica Miller.  I am ten years old, and Iím from Golden, Colorado.  I recently finished sailing around the world with my parents.  It took nearly five years, and we visited places with names like the West Indies, Tobago, Panama, Galapagos, Singapore, Madagascar, and many more. 

You may ask how I happened to end up on this amazing adventure. Well, my mother was in a business that was doing very well. So, we found ourselves in a financial situation that allowed us to do something likeÖ buy a boat and sail around the world! But that didnít mean I could skip school.


I am lucky enough to be home schooled and have my mom for my teacher. My mom is lucky that I am an only child. School consists basically of spelling, grammar, math, history and music. I do not use a boring program. No, my dear mother puts together a wonderful, fun, interesting program that takes three to five hours depending on my mood. Sometimes we play hooky from school and make up for it on a weekend.

I was five years old when we started. Here is an early picture of my classroom at sea.  Iíve changed a lot since then!



There were lots of interesting field trips, too.  Like looking over World War II relics with some local kids in the Marshall Islands...   

Or getting some first hand experience working a sugar cane press with some other 
boat kids in Madagascar...

This is how my everyday life on the boat tends to flow.

"Jessie, Jess, itís time to wake up.  Itís time to wake UP!" comes my momís voice.

"Ahhh! Mom! What a wake up call," I say and turn over onto my side.

"Well it worked didnít it?" Mom giggles.

"Go away, Iím sleeping!" I grouch.

"All right young lady! Five more minutes, but then itís time to get up and do your list."

The list my mother refers to is my list of things I do before I start school: wash face, brush hair, sweep floor, take vitamins and brush teeth.  It goes on, and on, and on, until I finally start school. After reading this, you might think my life sounds quite normal, OR DOES IT?

Well, it isnít much different from most kids untilÖ


What I do after school depends a lot on where we are, or if there are kids around. If weíre in a nice place with sandy beaches and clear blue water, I might go skurfing! Skurfing is a sport that I thought up.  Iím not the only one who discovered it though; boat kids around the world use it today! You stand or sit on a surfboard, hold onto a towrope and ride around the bay while towed by a dinghy with a fast outboard engine (we use a 10 hp motor).


If Iím really bored, I might do something like this: 




If weíre in a marina with kids, we all get together and play games like tag, capture the flag, hide and seek, or cops and robbers.  If weíre in an icky marina or bay, my friends and I might go over to somebodyís boat and play or watch a movie.  If I donít have kids to play with, I read, play computer, or visit with my parents.

Weeknight activities vary a lot; Dad and I play music, or we watch a movie after we have dinner.  If it is a nice evening, I like to go up the mast in my climbing harness and watch the sunset. On Sundays, we play a game like Life, Uno, or cards. Sometimes we get together with other yachties for drinks or dinner.  We may go to the beach for a barbecue or just have sundowners (refreshments) aboard.  When weíre by a town, we might treat ourselves to dinner ashore.

It is important to be sociable when you are with different people all the time. That is, if you want friends! One of the best ways to be sociable Iíve found is a dinghy raft-up. Someone might come up on the radio and say, "This is (state the name of your boat) and Iím organizing a dinghy raft-up at five oíclock.  Everyoneís invited. Bring your own drinks."  If there are a lot of boats in the anchorage you could have a very big group. You tie all the dinghies together and then you tie onto a mooring or just float around the bay watching the sunset. Once it got really crazy!  It was after dark and we politely invaded a large catamaran.  Its occupants were trying to be party poopers and avoid the raft-up.  But we wouldnít let them!  So, we moved the party onboard.



It can take a long time to get from place to place in a boat, since our boat only travels about six and a half miles an hour.  Going from St. Helena ( a tiny island in the south Atlantic Ocean, west of Africa) to Fortaleza, Brazil, for instance, took us fifteen days. 


During that time I played my keyboard, helped my mom in the galley (kitchen), did some schoolwork, played computer games, and read.  Sometimes I stayed up with my mom on her night watch and helped her stay awake.  I think I do an excellent job of it! Tee hee hee!  Passages do get boring.  But, hey!  Itís part of my life.  I like being in the middle of nowhere (the ocean) because it makes me feel like we are the only people in the entire world.  Once in a great while I get seasick.  My parents say we were in rough weather when we sailed from Tonga to New Zealand, but I canít remember anything really bad.


People might think that being in the tsunami in Thailand would be the most exciting thing thatís ever happened to me.  But I really didnít know what was happening at all.  My mom told me to close the hatches (boat windows) and put on my life vest.  She muttered something about a tsunami but at the time, I didnít know what a tsunami was supposed to be!  So, you get the point.  It wasnít very exiting for me until a couple hours after it had happened.  It was my birthday and the restaurant where we were supposed to have my party had collapsed.  So we had it on the deck of our friendís big boat.  We were lucky because our boat and our friendsí boats were all ok.


One of the most exciting things I did on this trip was parasailing in Thailand.  I love being up high; so naturally, it was a blast!  I didnít really have to do anything. The guides did everything! I just sat there while they got my harness on.  Soon I was soaring at one hundred feet above the water! 

Traveling has also given me the opportunity to go rock climbing in different placesÖ 

 explore tropical islandsÖ   


go scuba divingÖ 







and experience many different cultures that most kids only get to read about in books... 


I have also had many wonderful wildlife experiences.  I fed bananas to lemurs. They would jump onto my shoulder and eat bits of banana out of my hands. The biggest highlight, that I can remember, was that I had a pet chameleon named Chip! He stayed aboard for two weeks.  It was fun feeding him grasshoppers because he turned from tan to green when he saw the grasshopper and his tongue uncurled and shot out quickly a long way to stick and catch the grasshopper. The way he moved was interesting; he rocked back and forth with each step. He looked like a little mouse when he turned. We let him go on a branch with lots of ants.  He went right into hunting mode.  Iíd like to have another chameleon someday.

I was fortunate to sail around the world with my parents for five years.  If I hadnít, I might never haveÖ

Made friends with a tortoise ...  

Taken a ride on an ostrich ...                                           



    and an elephant ...








                Fed a lemur ...




    Cuddled up with a snake ...  








Or kissed a chameleon! 


I know I wouldnít have met so many friends.

Most kids that are new to cruising think that they will set out to sea and never see another child again.  Itís not like that at all!  There are hundreds of kids out there sailing and making friends, just like you might be doing soon enough.  Iíd like to offer the following advice to those fortunate children whose parents decide to take them sailing: Donít worry, and remember; YOUR PARENTS ARENíT TRYING TO KILL YOU!

This article is to be continued on



  Jessica's Mail...

Hi Jessie how are you doing? 
I like your website itís pretty 
cool. The only thing I donít 
like is that you only have one 
picture  of us. 

 From Jesse and Riley


Well guys, great to hear from you! I'm just fine. The reason there is only one picture is because it was the best we had and I could never get a good smile out of either of you!  




Dear Jessica,

Have you seen any mermaids?  Do you miss TV?  What color is your cabin?  Did you miss your toys and did you get to take all of your favoritist things with you?

Age 5

Dear Emma,

I have never seen a mermaid but I hope to!  I don't miss TV, I watch lots of DVDs.  My cabin on the boat is blue, brown, and white.  I got to bring my "favoritist" toys along on my amazing adventure but I also acquired LOTS!


More Mail...

Dear Jessica,

What was your favorite thing to do on the boat?

age 9

Dear Lily,

Depends on whether we were at anchor or at sea. At sea I liked to watch tv or play computer games. At anchor I liked to swim, play with friends, or climb up the mast using my harness.
Thanks for asking!


Dear Jessica,

I'm sure that everyone in your extended family is proud of you, if not a
little envious, I know that I am! How are you adjusting to living on land?

Auntie June

Dear Auntie June,

I have a puppy, I am getting in touch with some of my old friends, and I found a school. So really, I am doing just fine. I do miss the boat.  It is just like when you move from a house that you lived in for years.


Dear Jessica,

I am from the U.K. and will be leaving soon for a circumnavigation, too.  I would like to know if the animals I'll see at sea are sometimes funny.

8 yrs.

Well, Dominic,

dolphins are funny. Sometimes they race the boat by riding the bow wave; they always win! Sometimes they jump in the air and even spin as they jump. Once in a great while you can hear them giggling under water. 

When we go snorkeling there are lots of funny creatures. I love to touch the feather dusters and watch them go into their tubes. The clown fish are very territorial; if you put your hand near their anemone they will try to bite fingers. Don't worry it tickles!

Bubble coral isn't funny, but it has a really soft, cool feeling. If you ever see it, touch it! I loved to pet the mantle or lips on the giant clams (some were five feet across). They were many beautiful colors and felt even better than bubble coral.

Have fun and good luck! 


Dear Jessica,

What did you miss the most when you were out at sea? Is it hard making new friends and having to say goodbye a lot?

Zach, age 2 boat baby

Dear Zach,

I miss my friends and ice cream! I also really wanted a dog. Yes, it is hard saying goodbye, but we try to keep in touch using email, and now using Skype (




Dearest Jessie, 

Your article is absolutely wonderful. It made me wish I was able to spend even more time on your boat. You are really an amazing person!

Molly Thompson

Thanks Molly!

Hope to see you soon!


Many congratulations to Jessica!

Best wishes -

Philip Wilkinson.

Thanks Philip!

What is your website? I would like to read some of your books and learn more about pond dipping.







Editor's note
: Philip Wilkinson is the author of many books and long-time contributor to one of our favorite links:




Thanks and you're welcome!





"Look deep, deep, deep into nature... then you will understand everything better."

Albert Einstein                                           

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Last updated: December 03, 2015.