“I made one of the most important friendships of my life on a JST voyage.”
Anjelica, age 31, is a social worker living in Southampton. She first sailed with the JST when she turned 16, having volunteered with Sailability as a teenager.
I knew a bit about sailing growing up, but was keen to experience something on a bigger scale. I have a learning difficulty and sailing has helped build my confidence over the years.
I joined a voyage when I was 16 and have since sailed about ten times with JST. The charity is such a big part of my life that I use up most of my annual leave so I can keep coming back.
As a young person, I just wanted to be helpful and I think it helped me learn how to be truly helpful to someone who has a disability. It’s not about doing things for people, but taking a step back and giving the space and opportunity to do it their way. Everyone gets something from that.
For me it’s the incredible mix of people you get on board. You are thrown into a situation away from your everyday life, and you form bonds with amazing people. I’ve met people who have experienced loss, blind people who are some of the best sailors I know and even someone who had fostered 70 children. I’m not sure what other circumstances would have brought us together. It’s an adventure in every sense of the word.
And it’s also where I met Alan, who became my adopted grandfather. We were buddied up and our friendship became one of the most important in my life. He was so committed to seeing and experiencing new things through JST voyages, and was very proud when I became a Bosun’s Mate. Sadly he passed away three years ago – but I’m incredibly grateful for our friendship.
What would Anjelica say to someone considering a JST voyage?
Just do it. Pack wet weather gear and go. If you get the bug you’ll always go back. If you don’t, you’ll always have a story.