In August of 1994, Zoltan Istvan left solo from Los Angeles on a 25 foot sailboat named The Way to sail around the world. His main cargo was 500 books (mostly classics), scuba equipment, and surfboards–though he later aquired a paraglider as well and learned to fly. Zoltan’s intent was to have a great adventure and read a lot.

Zoltan had worked at a grocery story and pizza restaraunt earning near minimum wage for a year to buy his sailboat, valued at about $5000. At first The Way didn’t have an engine, GPS, or even a working stove. He used a sextant to navigate by the stars and a bucket for a toilet. To cross oceans and anchor safely in harbors, he exclusively used the wind.

Eventually, friends and girlfriends sailed with him, and he improved his boat to become more bluewater worthy and passanger-friendly. He navigated the South and North Pacific over four years, and eventually crossed the Indian Ocean via the Straits of Mallaca, before ending up in the Mediterranean. He visited 70 countries in the process.

To make money, he did odd jobs, including being a treausre hunter on the famous Pilar Project in Guam, where he put in over 400 dives in a season. The Disovery Channel covered the project.

Zoltan’s wild journey caught the attention of many, and soon he was writing articles for many major sailing magazines, like Cruising World, Sail, and Yachting World. An attack by pirates off Yemen was recreated for a television studio and appeared in a book. The Travel Channel did a colorful segment on a part of his sail trip, much of it in the Red Sea and Middle East. Some of his wildlife footage he took in Sri Lanka appeared on Animal Planet.

Eventually, Zoltan used his boat as a base for many of his National Geographic articles, including covering the Athens 2000 Olympics.

While he still hasn’t finished his circumnavigation (and he did eventually trade up with a bigger 30 foot sailboat), Zoltan does visit visit Greece occasionally where his boat is waiting, keeping the dream alive.