We get so inspired about sharing adventurous lifestyles and people's passionate stories and Liz Clark is definitely one of these people. She is truly living her dreams and is one of the most exciting and interesting people that we follow. She has given everything for her passion, to live an alternative lifestyle and spread her message. She "is a professional free surfer, writer, environmental activist, adventurer, photographer, Patagonia Ambassador, and Truth seeker, who has captained her 40ft sailboat, Swell, over 18,000 miles on a surfing expedition in the Pacific since 2005" (personal blog). Read on to hear how Liz was able to achieve her goals and live a truly passionate life. You can follow her stories on her Liz Clark and The Voyage of Swell website
Your life seems to be revolved around the ocean through living and exploring on a boat and surfing all around the world. How did this lifestyle get instilled in you?
I grew up in and on the water, sailing with my family in Southern California. We spent all our family vacations and weekends sailing to the local Islands off the coast. When I was 9 years old we (my mom, dad, brother, and little sister) set off for most of a year aboard our 50-ft sailboat to cruise the coast of Mexico. It was on that voyage that I really fell in love with the lifestyle of traveling abroad by sea. Then in my teens we moved near the beach and I fell in love with surfing. Toward the end of my time at the University of Santa Barbara, California, my father let me live on his sailboat in the harbor there and I took friends out to some spots inaccessible by land and realized how my passion for surfing and my sailing background could come together to create something really amazing!
Can you share how you started your amazing blog and came across swell?
Well, let’s start with Swell. In 2002, I was having a tough time in many aspects of my life, but mainly because I had been with a boyfriend who convinced me that I was incapable of living out my dream of sailing around the world. Not long after leaving him, I serendipitously crossed paths with a retired professor friend, Barry Schuyler, from my university in Santa Barbara, California. He was looking for someone to sail his boat around the world!? He was nearly eighty years old at the time and didn’t need the money to sell the boat and wanted to help someone realize his own unrealized life-long dream of an extended sailing adventure. So I was in the right place at the right time to say the least. We worked for two years together preparing Swell for the voyage, and became dear friends.
So in fact, the blog was born out of a desire to share my experiences with, Barry, who happily awaited news from me at sea from his home in Santa Barbara. In fact, so many people helped me to get the voyage going, and so many people were crossing their fingers that I would succeed, that I felt the desire to keep them all informed of my adventures. Plus, after realizing how much went into the preparation for a voyage like mine, I realized how fortunate I was to be living what I’m living, so the blog was a way to give back and share the experiences with others. It gained readership little by little, and although Barry passed away in 2011, I continue to be passionate about my blog and sharing the insights and lifestyle that his generosity and vision originally helped manifest in my life.
What are some highlights of living on the sea?
Waking up to the different faces of the sea every morning. Living so close to nature in general. Freedom. There is nothing like the freedom of living on the sea. You get yourself where you want to go, on your own, and have the time to commune with yourself and the Source along the way. Bathing in the sea. Brushing my teeth under the stars. Meeting interesting people. And being close to the surf!
What have been some challenges along the way?
Innumerable challenges. Learning how to sail the boat safely, learning how to use all the equipment, and how to do the constant repairs of all sorts. Learning to deal with bad weather, and learning how to adapt, be flexible when obstacles arise. Learning how to slow down and not force things. Learning new languages, learning to be alone…the challenges never end, but when you are doing what you love, they are always possible to overcome.
Who has supported and inspired you in your amazing life?
I’ve had so much loving support from family and friends. My father has always been especially supportive of helping me reach my often lofty dreams and goals. From a very young age he saw my determination to do this voyage and he helped me learn what I needed to learn and instill confidence in me that I could do anything I wanted. He believed in me so much that it made me believe in myself. And Barry and Jean Schuyler, and the innumerable people in Santa Barbara who helped me get those dock lines untied eventually and on my way to the high seas with the safe and tricked out sea chariot that Swell is… And Patagonia, the eco-friendly clothing company, who has been my main support and sponsor since I set off from California in 2006. Their commitment to my project has been critical to keeping the dream afloat. Now I’m teamed up with other supportive brands that represent similar values and interests like Zeal Optics, who make eco-friendly sunglasses, and Mizu waterbottles, who make stainless waterbottles in an effort to reduce plastic waste, and Leatherman tools, a socially-responsible company who support independent, alternative lifestyles like mine…Plus a truly endless list of other friends, fans, and companies that enjoy the blog or appreciate what I do and support me with love, donations, products, encouragement, advice, emails, care packages, etc. I’m truly blessed!!
Inspiration. I take my greatest dose of daily inspiration directly from Nature. It is what makes me feel closest to Divinity/God/Jah/the Source, the Universe, the Great Spirit…whatever term you prefer. Also from others who have insisted or insist on living their dreams and passions, and ordinary people who do good for the good of good. For those who fight for their Truth. And from all the great saints and truth seekers now and throughout time—the Buddha, the Christ, Rumi, Babaji, Einstein, Amma, Guru Dev, Yogananda, Saint Mother Teresa, Ghandi, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Bob Marley…to name a few…
What are some exciting things happening in the future for you?
Well, I am working on a book about my voyage, concentrated on the personal inner journey and transformation that I have experienced. The main theme is why living your dreams and passions helps people find personal peace. I’d love to keep sailing around the world when I finish the book!! Still so many places to visit and things to learn!