Charles Marlow embarks on his first seafaring journey to the East as a young man on board the Judea, a barque headed towards Bangkok under the command of Captain John Beard. The Judea sets sail on a journey that is meant to take about 150 days, but bad luck and danger follow the vessel wherever she goes. "Youth" is a semi-autobiographical short story based on author Joseph Conrad's own experiences aboard the ship the Palestine in 1882. Much of the plot and some of the characters, such as Captain Beard, were based on actual people and events. The narrator, Charles Marlow, serves as the protagonist in other of Conrad's works, including Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim and Chance.