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Natural Awakenings San Diego

Publisher's Pick

You don’t have to be a sailor or a surfer to enjoy reading the book Swell: Sailing the Pacific in Search of Surf and Self by Liz Clark. My good friend loaned me this book for my Indonesia trip as he knew I use my airplane time to immerse myself in novels. And, boy am I glad he did. It’s probably the best book I’ve ever read. I resonated with every page in such depth I didn’t want to put it down, yet I also didn’t want my reading journey to end. So that I could savor my armchair travels a little while longer, I planned to finish reading Swell on my long journey home. However, my enthusiasm for the book was so great, I chatted it up a lot and ended up passing it off to another passion/adventure seeker/entrepreneur before I left Indonesia.

       Clark’s memoir follows her 22-year-old self as she makes the decision to sail off on a solo journey on a 40-foot sailboat. Actually, she’s not completely alone—she is joined by her beloved cat, who eventually forgoes her dislike for the water. Proof enough that anyone can enjoy this voyage, whether you’re a water baby or not.  Every ounce of Clark’s perseverance is on each page. There are so many messages below and above the horizon. 

       I used to sail offshore to the Caribbean on a 32-foot sailboat, oftentimes without an engine and auto pilot. My captain used celestial navigation. We did not have a loran system. I always wondered what would happen if I had to sail solo. Well, this book answered that question and raised so many more. It’s a must read for every human being. It will inspire the free spirit we all have inside us. It reminds us to follow our journey and not to “people please” our well-intentioned family and friends urging us to take another course. Follow your gut. The book further reminds us all to protect and fight for our ever so precious environmental eco treasures and animals, both on land and water.  May we all have the fortitude to reconstruct and rethink our personal journeys as needed.

       As synergy would have it, I was staying with a 7-year-old free-spirited boy and his mom. His inquisitive intelligent and endless energy encouraged me to create what we could out of the bamboo in his backyard.  He sat on my lap as I shared photos from the book and then we too set sail in his pool. His mom takes him to school each day on a scooter to a private school in Indonesia. This kid is an amazing young boy because he has traveled early on. I hope we keep the free spirit alive in our schools. It’s the essence of life.


Get the Kindle or hardback version of Swell: Sailing the Pacific in Search of Surf and Self on