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Young Australian of the Year & Germany!

Friday, February 04, 2011

I’ll admit I’ve been finding excuses to avoid writing this blog for quite a while now. I just couldn’t think of where to start, there’s just too much to tell!

I suppose the big thing that has happened since my last blog (actually make that massive or monumental thing) was being named Young Australian of the Year. Standing up on stage with the Prime Minister to receive the award was totally humbling and an incredible end to a day that started with a flight from Germany! So a huge thank you to everyone at Australia Day Council who were just wonderful.

And I’d better start by telling you about the trip to Germany where I launched the book over there. It was cold, very cold! Mum came with me this time and although the schedule was non-stop, we had lots of fun, staying firstly in the city of Hamburg then Dusseldorf. Hamburg was an amazing old city built around one of Europe’s biggest ports, meaning there was lots of interesting maritime history which we had the chance to hear about, while spending an afternoon filming in the local maritime museum.

But while exploring the museum made the interviews and filming more fun, I can’t say I was so thrilled about spending another morning riding a local ferry up and down the river doing interviews for other TV stations. When the journo (journalist) first suggested that we use the open upper deck, I quite rudely burst out laughing thinking that he must be joking. Let’s just say that without my Musto gear, I’m a bit of a wuss! 

Well, that along with the fact that as a typical Queenslander, packing closed in shoes didn’t cross my mind. So after a few days and with snow forecast I got taken to a shoe shop and strongly advised to buy a pair of closed in shoes and socks. I will admit things went better after that!

Then it was on to Dusseldorf for the Dusseldorf Boat Show. The show was massive, so it was pretty exciting. I was surprised at how popular True Sprit proved to be. As always, my favourite events were the ones at a local school and particularly a yacht club, where all the junior sailors came along.    

The publishing house, Delius Klasing, did an amazing job of translating the book and an even more incredible job of looking after Mum and I while we were over there.    

On arrival back in Australia there was no getting over jet-lag with a nice long sleep in. Instead what was to be a huge week, started with a flight straight from Sydney to Canberra, then a cup of tea at The Lodge with Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.

It was only after meeting and spending time with all the other nominees that I really realised how much of an honour being named Young Australian of the Year was. Every one of the State finalists are incredible people, all with amazing achievements to their names. I know that if it were up to me, I’d certainly never have picked myself!

The title also comes with a lot of responsibility…., well I don’t like to think of it as responsibility, more an opportunity to put my weight behind as many things and causes as possible. It’s sure going to keep me busy!  

This week the pace has slowed down for a few days, meaning that I’ve been able to make a start on some study for a school course I’ll be starting in March. I’ve been doing some writing again for another chapter of True Sprit that will be released as a new edition by Hachette Australia later this year. 

And while this has all been happening, poor old Queensland has faced yet another natural disaster. I don’t think there’s anyone in the State that doesn’t have friends or relatives affected by Cyclone Yasi, particularly the yachting community in North Queensland who I have been thinking of. Only in Australia could we have two natural disasters in as many months while the rest of the country is suffering heatwave conditions! 

Jess


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