rebelling against low expectations

Zac Sunderland: An Amazing Adventure


© 2009

Zac Sunderland has received a lot of attention for his holy ambition — attempting to become the youngest person ever to solo-circumnavigate the globe. But what most of the mainstream media coverage doesn’t mention is that Zac is a strong Christian, homeschooled, and a true rebelutionary — with terrific fashion sense.

A few days ago, Zac was asked about his collection of very stylish “Do Hard Things” t-shirts. Here’s what he said in a recent post on his blog:

Seth Spearman asked if the “Do Hard Things” shirt that I wear is related to the book Do Hard Things by the Harris brothers.

Yes it is. My mom heard Alex & Brett on the radio one day and bought the book. She went on their web site but they did not sell t-shirts there (at least at that time) so she had one made online. Someone saw a photo of me in the shirt and word got to Alex & Brett who sent me a few of their shirts and another copy of the book. It is a great book for young people to read. It shows a pattern of lower and lower expectations from today’s youth and destroys the myth that that is how is needs to be. Young people can do hard things!

Thanks for the shout-out, Zac! We and many other rebelutionaries around the world are praying for you. Stay strong and make it back safe. Soli Deo gloria!

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About the author

Alex and Brett Harris

are the co-founders of and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.


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  • Attention all rebelutionaries: If you’re “doing hard things,” make sure you document it w/ some sort of media (vids on YouTube, pix on Flickr, Facebook, whatever) that people can see. You’ll impact more people than you could ever realize!

  • I’ve been following his blog for a while because he’s from our area, and I THOUGHT I saw a Rebelution t-shirt in one of his pictures, but thought I had seen wrong. That’s SO EXCITING!!

  • Is this the same guy that was on Fox News last year? Cause I’m pretty sure that he is.

    Rock on, Zac, rock on!

  • Wow. What he’s doing is SO cool. What a great inspiration 🙂

    And I have to agree, the book is a GREAT read! Very life changing for me….

  • I saw him on the news when he got to Australia the other day, I thought, what an amazing guy, he is my age and is sailing around the world!!!! Man, what a champ, now he is even higher on my hero list

    thanks for posting this guys, its exciting stuff.

  • It is so exciting to see how God is going to use you, Zac! Wow; how neat to circumnavigate the world….I bet there are times of wondering what is going to happen, but what a blessing to see how God has blessed us with His beautiful creation! God bless, brother in Christ, and fight the good fight of faith and persevere, knowing that our Jesus is always with us, every step of the way. (:

  • I read an article about him in the TOS magazine a few months back, but it was neat to hear about it again. I hope the trip is going safely for him. God Bless, Zac!

  • Hey,
    First, way to go Zac!

    Alex and Brett please pray for my family and I. Dad was fired as pastor last night for preaching to much on Christ and for not using the KJV. A lot of people I thought really loved our family stood up and voted us out. We have 30 days salary and 60 days to stay here.
    The few people who stood up for us are going to have our own services at our parsonage.
    pray for us please. It really is heart breaking when the people you’ve tried so hard to show love to stand up and say that we are mean.Thanks-hannah

  • Hannah,
    I hope it’s alright if I join with you in prayer. I’ve been going through some difficult stuff for a couple years and my heart is breaking for your family. However, it sounds like your Dad stood up for the truth and I praise God for that!
    I understand your feeling of being rejected. My dad was a music pastor at a church for a few years and we tried really hard with the people there. When my dad resigned, the only people who were kind to us were some of the older couples. Other than that nobody was very friendly. Even now, years later, when I see them in the grocery store or somewhere it’s still really awkward and I move on as quickly as i can to the next aisle.
    My mom always told me a story when I struggled (even now with our circumstances): There were two men who worked at the same company. Every day when they got into the elevator, one of the men would spit on the other. The man that got spit on never said a word about it. When asked about it, he replied. ” I haven’t done anything, he just has a spitting problem.”
    I would encourage you to think of these people in the same way. It sure sounds like you and your family have done your best to be kind to them and to love them. It’s not what you guys have done, they are just having some problems themselves.
    I challenge you to give them grace, just like you would want others to give to you. Some of them might get better, but others might stay the same. Just stay close to God and He will be your strength when you have none.

    I am so glad that you dad was fired for telling people too much about Christ and for using the Bible instead of being fired for telling too little. You may not see the good in this yet, but give it time.

    Praying for you and your family,

  • Hannah W. I’ll be praying for you too. My Dad is a pastor of a rather large church in NC. But he has delt with the same kind of thing. It is so hard as a pastor’s family sometimes, because sadly, Christians can be the most difficult people to deal with. It shouldn’t be that way and we should be the light to the world. Sometimes small things are what Satan uses against Christians the most. I know it is tough, but I’ll be praying for you nonetheless. Don’t lose hope, Christ is in control and he has a plan.
    We have to be brave like this AMAZING Zac!

  • that is amsolutly AMAZING!!!!!!!!

    love the shirts! im gonna have to buy one soon!!! 🙂

    God bless,
    the new-found Rebelutionary, Samantha.

  • WOW!!!! great job zac! keep up the good work and ill be praying for you. And to anyone out there right now… im new around here and if you can help me out, and give me some tips that would be great! thanks!

  • Hannah:
    I’ll also be praying for you. It’s really tough when stuff like this happens and I really hate that Christians are persecuting other Christians like that. However, I really wish that we had more people like your dad in the Church in America. Those are the type of people who really change the world, the ones who stand up and talk about Jesus no matter what happens and keep the focus on Him.

  • Whoa! That must be a blast, going ’round the globe. Imagine all the evangelising opportunities!
    Thanks for getting out word about the movement. It’s not some pie-in-the-sky “I think I can, I now I can” fluff, it’s modivation to glorify the One whose opinion matters.
    Definitely praying for you Hannah!

  • We’ve been following Zac in my little sister’s “God’s World News” magazine (put out by WORLD magazine). They have an update in every issue. He’s definitely got a lot of perseverance and patience! And his being a Christian (and homeschooled 😀 ) is awesome!

  • May I just add a commercial? If anyone has some spare change during these trying economic times, I get the impression Zac’s family could use a little help with the expenses of his trip at this point. See his Web site at for info on how to give.

  • I will be praying for your family Hannah Williams that our heavenly Father would give your dad HIs strength during this time and for you and the rest of your family peace and guidance that would only come from Him. God bless, dear sister, and you are in my prayers! (:

    Oh, and Alex and Brett, I just read the update on Twitter and that the one year anniversary of DHT has come! Praise the Lord and may this year be a year of more young people being an example for Christ and preaching His Word. God bless! (:

  • Hannah, I am so sorry that you have to go through this. I really hope that you and your family will find a place where you will be accepted and mostly where God will be most glorified. I challenge you to trust Him- he’ll carry you through.

    I wrote a song about this a while ago… but here’s some of it- I hope it is encouraging to you.

    “Laying by myself, staring into the darkness
    Trying to keep the tears from staining my heart
    Looking for a reason to be
    Happy for what you’ve placed in my life

    And, yes I know, that although
    I can’t find a reason to stop praising you
    You’ll take my hand, ’cause you understand
    What it’s like to go through something alone

    Jesus, Jesus
    Pass this cup from before me
    Take my tears and use them for you
    Make them as water
    And help me to dance in the rain
    Praising your name
    Through this thunder

    Your blessings abound for me
    I know this is true
    Place your righteous arms around me
    Carry me through
    Jesus, carry me through”

    ©2009 Soaked Rose Records

  • My Mom gets me and my sister God’s World Magazine that comes every month. The first time we got the magazine I briefly flipped through it and planned on reading after school. That’s when I got to the back and found an article about ‘Zac Sunderland:trying to become the youngest person in the world to sail around the world in a yacht.’ I thought wayyyyyyy cool after I read it. I did not quite understand about it until my Mom showed me your up date. I think what he is doing is cool. I’m praying.

    HANNAH W. I read your post. I feel soo bad for you and your family. I will most definitely pray for you!


  • Thanks everyone. We still aren’t sure where we will move yet but I am once again reminded that God is in control of everything. Its great to know that other people also acknowledge God’s great power and mercy. God bless, Hannah

  • cool, i applaud you zac!! i wanna get some do hard things t-shirts!! i wear shirts like that all the time to school and get questioned about them- I go to a public school.

  • I love this guy he is a huge example to the book i love this guy i try to read about him
    Zac is like an model to the book i think this is amazing so close yet so far from land

  • Dude i forgot to say something in my other one but i think i need some of those t-shirts so i can wear them in my public school i need some of those t-shirts

  • This is too awesome! Of course those of the world would fail to mention how Christianity inspires him and helps him through- but it seems that where the world would supress it, he is shouting it out. You are an inspiration Zac! God bless!

  • Looks like Zac is scheduled to return, to Marina del Rey, CA, this Thursday (July 16). What an inspiration he is to, to coin a phrase, do hard things. I look forward to hearing a bit about his adventure.

  • I was almost impressed until it became clear that you are a home schooled, delusional religious wacko.

  • I learned about Zac in the news. When I heard him say that society puts teens in a box, and that they should get out and “do hard things,” I recognized his words from my church youth group, where I learned about the book, so I had to go online to confirm that indeed, he is a fan. I’m so proud for him to have succeeded at his mission, and then to have used his moment of fame to challenge society to grow! I hope his story inspires people even further.

  • Zac is certainly someone to be admired. It looks like he may make a profession of accomplishing the difficult.

  • Dear,
    My name is Ashley Eiman, and I work for a children’s magazine at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am attempting to contact Zac Sunderland in order to obtain a phone interview for our magazine. I have tried contacting Zac’s management team through the contact information available on his website with no luck. Do you have access to his contact information? If so, would you be willing to pass it along to me? Thank you very much for your time.


    Ashley Eiman
    Editorial Assistant
    Focus on the Family Clubhouse/Clubhouse Jr.
    719-531-3400 x1860

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rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →