I was born in the year 1632 in York, a large city in northern England. I received a good upbringing from my parents. My father was originally from Germany and had made his money in buying and selling before settling down in York and marrying my mother, whose surname was Robinson. This is why my first name is Robinson. My father’s name was Kreutznaer, but this was difficult for English people to pronounce so it was changed to Crusoe. I had two elder brothers, — one who died in the English army. I never knew what happened to the other, just as my mother and father would never know what was to happen to me.
My father had wanted me to think about a career in law, but from an early age I had thoughts of adventure at sea. No advice could possibly ever change this. When I told my parents about my wishes to travel, they tried to persuade me not to do so. I tried asking my mother to speak with my father and persuade him to allow me just one voyage. I promised that if this journey was unsuccessful, I would return home and not think of the life at sea anymore. My mother tried, but she made no progress with my father, and no agreement to my travel was given. My father explained that travel was only for the very poor, who had nothing to lose, or for the very rich, who could afford to risk their money on adventure. Middle-class boys should be happy with a life of work. My father begged me so much, even crying openly, that I tried to forget about my wishes for adventure and continue living at home. A year later, however, I could stand it no longer, and one day, while I was at the docks in Hull talking with sailors, I met up with a friend who was going to London by sea. Without thinking about what I was doing, without asking for my parents’ permission or even money, I decided to join him. Together we boarded the ship on September 1, 1651 and left the harbour on the north eastern coast on course for London.
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