How does Gulliver embark on his journey in Gulliver's Travels?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Gulliver's Travels begins, Gulliver is a semi-wealthy doctor living in London; he has studies science and navigation, and when his business begins to fail he goes to sea to make more money and support his family. After some other adventures, of which he makes little note, he takes a position on a sailing vessel which runs into bad weather and is split in half by a rock.

I accepted an advantageous offer from Captain William Prichard, master of the Antelope, who was making a voyage to the South Sea.
[...]
...the boat was overset by a sudden flurry from the north... I swam as fortune directed me, and was pushed forward by wind and tide.
(Swift, Gulliver's Travels, eNotes eText)

This is the beginning of Gulliver's first adventure, as he lies down to sleep and is captured by the Lilliputians, tiny people who take him as a prisoner. This first adventure sets the tone for all the others; Gulliver finds himself on a strange shore, meets its strange inhabitants, and tries to survive while learning about their strange cultures.