A few weeks back, I was fortunate enough to do an interview with Erik Gauger who hosts the travel/photo website Note’s From the Road. In keeping with that dialogue of introducing some of my readers to other blogs and explorers I gain inspiration from, our next interviewee will be Liz Clark from the travel blog Liz Clark and the Voyage of Swell.
I found Liz’s website awhile back after I had posted my first post about Katie & Jessie of Katieandjessieonaboat after we met here in Cedar Key. A reader sent me an email simply saying “If you enjoy people out exploring on a sailboat, check out my favorite explorer/surfer/sailor Liz Clark!“
When I found Liz’s website, I think I spent my first few days reading it from start to finish absorbing as much as I could, totally blown away by how awesome this experience must be and how lucky we are for her to be documenting it for us fellow explorers. Here is a single woman, sailing around the world on her own. If that isn’t enough, her writing is outstanding, her photography is awe inspiring and she’s been filling my wanderlust for a few years now with her travels. I don’t know if I’d have the balls to be out sailing open water solo, so I’ve been living vicariously through Liz and her travels on her boat named Swell. I love how environmentally accountable she is and how she lives off of her own power on the sailboat.
It was an honor to be able to interview her and here are her answers to the questions I asked her. Check her out and drop her a line if you feel so inclined.
1. Born on Date?
April 28, 1980. Taurus, Year of the Monkey…
2. Educational achievements and mile stones?
Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara, graduated with high honors.
3. Current Occupation?
Surf and Eco Ambassador at Patagonia, Zeal Optics, Mizu Stainless Waterbottles, and Leatherman, Inc. Freelance writer & photographer.
4. Favorite Book?
The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier
5. Most treasured material possession?
A hand-carved machete from Java, Indonesia given to me by my friend Pablo.
6. Collector of Anything?
Heart-shaped rocks. But if I find them I have to give them away, so I don’t actually have that many…
7. Favorite Drink?
Young Coconut water fresh off the tree.
8. You win 1 million dollars, what would you do?
Buy a piece of land somewhere to make an off-grid permaculture farm for my friends and family where I’d grow all my own organic food, plant endless fruit trees, collect rainwater, make beehives, brew kombucha, have a yoga patio, and try to live sustainably and close to the earth. I’d also put an electric engine in Swell, finish sailing around the world, and become a free spiritual counselor. And I’d always keep hundred dollar bills in my pocket to give randomly to nice people.
9. Favorite Food?
Toss up between mangos and arugula…
10. Memory that makes you smile?
After a hellish 15-day solo passage from Kiribati to French Polynesia, my friend Chris had paid for a hotel room for me for the weekend in Bora Bora where I could rest and recuperate. I arrived at the front desk looking like a washed up piece of flotsam—unshowered, sunburnt, skinny, tattered clothes, and no shoes because I’d given them all away in Kiribati… the lady at the counter looked at me awkwardly and said there was no room reserved in my name. I insisted that there must be some mistake, that my friend should have called…etc… Finally the honeymooners in line behind me were getting annoyed and I asked her, “Is this the Le Meridien?”
I was at the wrong hotel! Hahahahaaa. I jumped the bushes and high tailed it to the next hotel over where I was greeted with an umbrella drink and a fuzzy bathrobe. I laughed to myself for days at how crazy I must have looked to them!
11. What’s the first thing you notice in the opposite sex?
The calluses on their hands.
12. Neatest person ever met?
Mata Amritanandamayi or ‘Amma’ as she’s more commonly known—a living guru and personal inspiration of mine in India.
13. Memory that makes you mad?
When George W. got re-elected.
14. If you could meet anybody living or dead who would it be?
15. Clean or Messy Person?
Not hyper clean, but I definitely appreciate order and cleanliness. I tend to spill things a lot and make messes but I’m really good at cleaning them up. I always say that I could clean houses for a living if I ever need to…
16. Memory that makes you sad?
When I was 9 years old I was on a beach in southern Baja with my family when a tourist hauled in a giant 200-lb grouper that he’d spear-fished in a sanctuary area. I remember watching it gasp for its last breaths—a creature far bigger than me—petting him and feeling so sad for the ol grandpa fish that I cried all evening.
17. Do you like to dance?
I LOVE to dance.
18. Are you a dreamer or a reality type?
19. If you could go one place and live the rest of your life where would it be?
Top secret…he hee hee.
20. Name your most favorite goal you’ve completed so far?
Learning to love myself.
21. Morning or Night Person?
I love both, I just need 8 hours of sleep somewhere in the 24.
22. Name a goal you feel you must complete before leaving this world?
I must write a book about my personal spiritual evolution in order to encourage others to take their own journey.
23. Describe yourself in one word?
I am ‘Love’
24. Desert island, one item, what would it be?
My favorite machete of course!
25. Saver or Spender?
26. Favorite Sound?
My mom’s laugh.
27. Lots Of or Few True Friends?
Lots of True Friends!! I’m so blessed in that department.
28. How would others describe you in five words or less?
Compassionate, motivated, wild, intense, positive.
29. Favorite movie of all time?
Heidi, Shirley Temple version
30. What would the title of your autobiography be?
Learn the Hard Way by Liz Clark
31. What is one item usually nobody would ever suspect about you?
I have a sailor’s mouth, got it from my dad…
32. Favorite travel item?
33. Mountain Hideaway OR Beach House?
34. If you could repeat one thing in your life knowing what you know now what would it be?
Buy more rum in Panama before crossing the Pacific, for trading of course J …I don’t really drink.
35. Explain a time when you look back and wish you would have done more?
I wish I could have fed all the hungry kids and dogs and cats that I’ve ever come across along my travels…
36. What has been the most challenging thing you have faced in your life, up to this point?
Finding true love, for myself and with a partner. So tough, but I’m patient… 🙂
37. What do you like to do other than travel?
Surf, stargaze, hike, freedive, bodysurf, cook healthy food, read, play with kids, snowboard, write poems, talk to strangers, forage for wild food, tie knots, climb coconut trees, lay in the grass, learn learn learn!!
38. This Question simply asks them to attach two of their most favorite photos:
39. If you were a cartoon character, who would it be, and why?
Dora the Explorer! I’m totally her…doing good and going on adventures all the time…my friend Kepi calls me Dora!
40. How many languages do you speak and what are they?
English, French, fairly good Spanish, some Tahitian too.
41. Lastly; Favorite quote?
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the pull of what you really love. It will never lead you astray.” –Rumi
I’d like to thank Liz for taking the time to answer these questions and sharing her passion of photography and writing with fellow travelers like Cindy and I.