As the third of five sons, Gulliver must forge his own path in the world. His father helps him to get a good education so that he can become a doctor. Gulliver apprentices for some four years under a Mr. James Bates, and he uses any extra money his father sends him to learn about navigation and math (both of which are useful to him later when he begins to travel abroad). He studied these subjects for another two and a half years because he knows that he wants to go to sea, and when he returns to London, Master Bates (ha!) recommends that he serve as the doctor on a voyage. He does so, returns to London, and attempts to open and run his own practice. He gets married at the advice of his colleagues, but after Bates dies, Gulliver's practice goes under. He goes to sea two more times, then tries to open another practice, but it, too, fails. Finally, he goes back to sea voyages, and the story begins.