Liz Clark is a surfer, writer, and eco/spiritual activist who travels around the world on a sailboat with her cat, named Amelia, as her first mate. 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. In 2003, Clark was given a Cal 40 sailboat on the condition that she sail the globe and document her travels.
“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 Clark. “He was 80 years old at the time and just wanted to help someone else realize his dream.”
Clark, who studied Environmental Studies at the University of California in Santa Barbara, jumped at the chance. She spent three years preparing for her voyage and learning how to operate the sailboat. Clark has started her journey in California, and so far, she sailed down the coast of Mexico and Central America, explored islands of Panama, French Polynesia, and Karibati, covering more than 25,000 nautical miles.
In November of 2013, Clark found the 6-month-old cat in an abandoned house while she was staying at French Polynesia. Hungry for food and love, the kitten touched Clark’s heart and she took her back to the boat.
Liz didn’t plan to adopt the animal. She wasn’t sure if she had enough time for proper care of the pet with an already full plate of captain duties. The plan was just to look after the kitty until she found someone who could take better care of her.
The only problem was that Liz couldn’t find anybody to provide a better life for the cat than her. So Clark decided to adopt the kitty and named her Amelia after Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.
Adjusting to boat life wasn’t easy at first, but little-by-little, Amelia adapted to a life surrounded by water. After a few “kitty overboard” accidents, she learned to be more cautious when climbing and jumping around the 40-foot sailboat.
When Clark noticed that Amelia often stalked fish over the side of the boat, she built a fishing platform from a soft-top surfboard. After that, Amelia became an excellent fishercat and really began to enjoy the process.
As well as loving fishing, Amelia enjoys going for walks. “I knew she missed climbing trees and bounding through tall grasses, so I started bringing her ashore on beach walks and jungle hikes.” Liz Clark wrote in her blog.
Amelia also started going to parties, outdoor restaurants, and friends’ houses together with Clark. The kitty also learned to travel by canoe, dinghy, and even a few times on a motor scooter. “To be honest, she doesn’t really enjoy these rides, but discovering new surfaces to walk on is so rewarding to her, that she doesn’t mind too much,” said Clark.
Liz Clark, together with Amelia, plans to continue the voyage and explains that this journey “isn’t just a surf trip — it’s a lifestyle, passion, and search for better ways for humanity to inhabit our shared planet.”
You can learn more about Clark and read a few of the most powerful lessons she has learned along the way by checking her website, Instagram and Facebook profiles.
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