- Liz Clark, 34, was working as a bartender in her hometown of San Diego, California
- But a professor suggested she use his boat to live out her dream and sail around the world
- Ten years later, Liz is determined to continue her adventure, although she admits it can be lonely
- She sails alone in a Cal 40 sailboat, and has travelled about 25,000 nautical miles to date
John Hutchinson for MailOnline
05:15 EST, 30 April 2015
07:11 EST, 30 April 2015
Many of us dream about escaping our everyday lives for something more exotic.
Ten years ago, bartender Liz Clark did just that when she swapped cleaning glasses for sailing around the world.
The 34-year-old left her home in San Diego, California, when she was given a Cal 40 sailboat on the condition that she sail the globe and document her travels.
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Ten years ago, bartender Liz Clark did just that when she swapped cleaning glasses for sailing around the world
The 34-year-old promised to document her travels on a Cal 40 sailboat after being handed inspiration from a retired professor
And for the last decade Liz has been enjoying an idyllic life as she sails alone in a sailboat, travelling about 25,000 nautical miles to date.
‘After I graduated from university, I happened to cross paths with a retired professor, Dr. Arent H. Schuyler, who was looking for someone to sail his boat around the world,’ says Liz.
‘He was 80 years old at the time and just wanted to help someone else realize his dream.’
Liz, who studied Environmental Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara, jumped at the chance.
She says: ‘At university I learned about all the damage we were doing to the Earth and the unsustainable lifestyles we were leading.
‘I looked around me and it seemed like no one was doing anything about it, and I decided that I really didn’t want to be a part of it anymore.
‘I knew this trip would be everything I loved in one-a simple, eco-friendly lifestyle close to nature, searching for remote uncrowded waves, learning from other cultures, challenging myself physically and mentally, and going on an open-ended adventure.’
Liz, who studied Environmental Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara, jumped at the chance to discover the world
As well as perfect her sailing skills, the ten-year trip has helped Liz perfect her body-boarding talents
Sailing around the world offers Liz the perfect chance for scenic stop-offs to practise yoga
After graduating from university, Liz worked as a bartender for three years, before quitting her job when the opportunity to sail around the world arose.
She spent three years preparing for her voyage and learning how to operate the sailboat.
Liz says: ‘It was petrifying to leave the safety and security of the dock and my friends and family.
‘I didn’t know if I would be capable of captaining a boat this big and managing all that goes into a trip where you’re off the grid and away from any help – but I knew I had to try or I’d always regret it.
‘When I left I didn’t know how I’d make money, and I don’t come from a wealthy family or anything, like many people assume.
‘I was writing blogs the first year and from this I developed a close relationship with Patagonia, an outdoors clothing company – who have been my main financial supporter since the beginning.’
It’s often hard work for Liz, as she is photographed here fixing the anchor in the ground to secure her boat in the eastern South Pacific
Liz did make a friend when she visited Tahiti in 2013, and even took the cat on the boat with her
Her travels around the world have given Liz memories to treasure forvever, including enjoying herself with the locals in Panama in 2007
Setting off in October 2005, Liz has travelled to a number of exotic destinations, including Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Galapagos Islands.
Liz has documented her travels in a series of envy inducing photographs.
She used a timer to take some of the pictures herself, while other photos were taken by locals.
Photo shows Liz relaxing in the South Pacific in 2014; the former bartender admits to sometimes becoming lonely, and right, some deep sea diving
There was a prime catch on this trip in the eastern Pacific, but Liz would have wanted to share the meal with somebody
Liz feeds some small sharks whilst on an outer island in the French Polynesia in 2011, during her ten year trip around the world
Liz’s daily routine includes adjusting sails and boat maintenance, as well as surfing, yoga, swimming and sleeping under the stars.
She says: ‘People are generally either awed or jealous, others are totally inspired and excited.
‘It feels so great to inspire others to live their dreams, but it’s impossible to explain to them what this life is really like; how much hard work there is and that it isn’t always easy or fun.
‘But that’s part of living your dreams – it’s never easy, but no work is ever as hard when it’s part of your dreams and moving you towards your desires.’
The journey throws up daily challenges for Liz, shown here as she battles tough weather in the eastern Pacific in 2008
A spectacular selfie shows a huge wave forms int he background in the South Pacific in 2012
The trip offered Liz the chance to do some teaching at a school in outer islands French Polynesia, in 2011
Liz says: ‘I get lonely at times and still hope to find a complimentary sailing partner.
‘The kindness of strangers wherever I go, along with the remote love and support from family and friends, always fills up that emptiness whenever I feel a void.’
In 2011, the man responsible for Liz’s adventure, Dr. Schuyler, died, aged 87.
Liz says: ‘He never wanted to be on the boat. He just wanted to help me live my dream and live vicariously through me.
‘That’s how my blog originally started, because I wanted him to be able to share my experiences.’
With no end to her adventure in sight, Liz’s plans to sail to Micronesia and head west, where she will continue her journey around the world.
Liz on a visit to the Marquesas Islands after quitting her life on land for adventures at sea
The intrepid traveller climbing a tree on the Line Islands in the Republic of Kiribati in 2008
Perfect waves in the South Pacific are taken advantage of by Liz who tests out her talents