Captain Liz Clark spent her youth dreaming of traveling the world by sailboat and surfing remote waves. When she was 22, she met a mentor who helped turn her desire into reality. Embarking on an adventure that most only fantasize about, she set sail from Santa Barbara, California, as captain of her 40-foot sailboat, Swell, headed south in search of surf, self, and the wonder and learning that lies beyond the unbroken horizon.
In true stories overflowing with wild waves and constant challenges, at the whim of the weather, of relationships sweet and sour, of nature's marvels and colorful cultures, Liz captures her voyage in gripping detail in this memoir, sharing tales of sailing in high seas, of solitude and surprises, of finding connection to the earth and commitment to living in harmony with it. She witnesses how her dream leads her to understanding the unity of all things.
More than ten years, 20,000 miles, countless adventures, and one cat later, she's still out there.
Starred Review Foreword Magazine
A series of serendipitous events, a generous mentor, and lots of hard work made it possible for young Liz Clark to fulfill her childhood dream of sailing and surfing around the world. But sailing Swell out of San Diego and watching her loved ones blur into the hazy winter skyline, she questioned the wisdom of undertaking a journey that would test her on all levels, and maybe even break her.
On dark nights alone at sea, Clark was often saved from a descent into depression by the beauty and sacredness of the life around her--in the poor fishermen who shared their catches with her, or a group of dolphins trailing phosphorescence in their wake. Physical, mental, emotional, financial, and relationship difficulties would bring her near collapse, but then her spirits would be lifted by the sea's vast horizon, the amazing rush of surfing, the smile of a friend, or the belief that she could somehow make a difference. She who used to panic at the thought of spending a Saturday night alone came to find solitude delightful, satisfying deep hungers.
There were violent storms with wind, waves, and lightning that rocked her to her core; she cooked at a 65- degree angle while stuck on a sandbar; she survived a scary, abusive relationship; she struggled with boat repairs; she panicked at the end of her sponsorship agreement; and she had a near run-in with Colombian drug runners in Panama. Material poverty was everywhere, as was pollution amidst the beauty; she pondered the ability of humans to destroy that which sustains them.
In mastering the discipline needed for a journey where "one lazy decision can mean losing everything," Clark came to love herself just as she was, and to know that, in choosing love, she would never feel lack.
"Readers -- surfer, sailor or not -- will be hooked." -- Honolulu Star Advertiser
"I can wholeheartedly recommend this book to everyone -- not sailors, not women, not young people, everyone. I loved it." --Michael Robertson, Good Old Boat
"Liz carries us along, on a voyage that is about much more than sailing and surfing and exploring. The threads that are woven through are based on relationships, significantly with her mentor, her mother, her father, friends, lovers, and most significantly, herself. By the end she and the reader understand that its these relationships, good and bad, that allow everything else to matter at all." --Good Old Boat
"[Clark's] story is one of the most entertaining and affecting in the genre of extreme sojourning . . . refreshingly candid." --Honolulu Magazine
is a book for the senses. It will invite you to breathe the breeze, feel the water, and witness the beauty of the water world from a sailor-surfer perspective. . . . [It] ticks all aspects of the modern surf book. It fuels the desire to explore the planet, and it encourages us to become better persons. . . . A diary of the unexpected; a highly detailed log file of life out at sea. . . . an inspiring surf travel testimony that may question the course of your life. You will be invited to appreciate the rare opportunity to live and discover our world." --Surfer Today
"Clark tells her voyage in great depth, with gripping details about the constant challenges of such an adventure. Moreover, you'll find a unique take on the power of exploration, from someone who has done a lot of it." --Business Insider