A Not So Brief Bio – Elay

Hello! My name is Elayna/Elay/Lay take your pick.

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Lets start with my roots. Mum is from Austria, she was a Catholic girl with strict parents and immigrated when she was 16 to Australia. Dad is from Romania, jumped on a flight (fled the country) when he was 20, after him and his friends made a small home made-bomb and blew up a milk factory (no people were inside, just milk). He charmed her with his good looks and ability to make great strawberry milkshakes on a hot summers day. Fifteen or so years later I was born having two older brothers.

I grew up on the coast of Western Australia. It’s a little country/coastal town of about 60k people I think. To sum it up, I’ll go by the first few things that popped into my head: The ridiculous hot, dry heat of the summer, the beautiful white sandy beaches and the famous ‘leaning trees’  we have from the howling southerly wind we get most days of the year.

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I won’t bore you with my childhood, what sports I played, and what mum gave me in my lunchbox etc., and I won’t tell you about my parents break-up.

However I will mention one thing I discovered that played a big role in my life and helped make me see the world in a different way. I would say it was the thing that  urged/pushed me into buying my first international plane ticket.

It was scuba diving.

I spent a lot of my time underwater as a young’n. I remember having many ‘hold your breath’ competitions with my brothers (and they never let me win even when I turned blue). When I discovered scuba diving I was instantly hooked. I just loved being underwater,  as it feels like a different world down there and you are only ever living in that moment. For that time you are under the surface, your mind forgets about all those things that stress you out and play on your mind during the day. Not that I had MUCH to stress about at that age anyway, but you know what I mean. I think after my first diving experience I began to see the world from a different perspective. I thought, if there are other things out there in this world that can take me away from reality for a while (the non chemical substance kind…) put me out of my comfort zone and make me feel as amazing as this, I want to find those things.

I spent most of my free time at our local PADI dive centre throughout my schooling years. When I finally hit the age of 18 and could certify as a PADI Dive Master (while my friends were out drinking cruisers and ‘clubbing’ on the weekends), I was busy trying to study the laws of scuba.

I certainly partied too (still do, wine is fantastic. Also Rum Punch in the Caribb) but if I was out, I had to make sure I was in bed by at least 2am having drunk a 2 ltr bottle of water before bed… or I’d get the bendz diving the South Tommy Wreck Sunday morning. Which seemed to happen quite a bit. I was once leading a dive of students through the wreck where I picked up a pipe shaped like a walking stick I found, became vertical with my body and waddled around the front of the ship pretending to be an old lady. It was only when we got to the surface and my students were laughing, telling me what I did that I realised what I’d actually done. Oopsy. She’s done it again.

After school, I considered going to university (college) like a few of my friends were doing. Moving to the city, changing the salt air for car emissions… sunscreen and thongs [sandals for you Americans],  to make up and brand-name clothes. But the city scene never suited me, I HATED wearing shoes (anyone who knows me could tell you that) and I would have had to do a ‘bridging course’ that took 6 months just to get into uni as I didn’t study TEE subjects in high school.

Plus, 6 months was far to long for me to study when I was itching to explore the world as bad as I was. Not to mention the 3-4 years of studying a degree at university AFTER that 6 month course. It just didn’t feel right for me.

I must admit I felt a lot of pressure, I felt like I should follow the crowd and do the ‘right’ thing that majority of people seem to do after school. Go to uni, study something you like (which I hear more than often that people DON’T actually like but chose to study it anyway….?) get a high paying job, find a man, buy a house, get married, have kids, grow old and only THEN when you retire, go and travel or relax.

But secretly I was always thinking at the back of my head, how am I supposed to just put on a backpack, jump on and off buses and trains, ride camels and hike mountains when I am 65? (however I’ve seen some incredibly fit 65 year olds around the joint that could run up mountains, I’m talking about your AVERAGE 65 year old here). And who knows, my time might be up far before I reach the age of 30 driving in the traffic to work.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people who ‘follow the crowd’ and are truly happy. I respect everyones personal choices and I always think you should follow your heart and do what makes you happy. And if you’re happy, that’s great and REALLY, good for you 🙂 I also know people who study at uni and at the same time somehow afford to travel as well… I salute you.

So the decision was made. My aim was to travel the world and figure out a way to make money from that. I’d seen people on TV who I idolised (some on Nat Geo and other adventure travel channels around the world) and I thought, if they can do it, why can’t I? I figured I’d travel first and see what opportunities may arise and figure out how the hell they do it.

First thing I did was get a job to save up money so I could start crossing off a few things on my list … that also happened to include expensive plane tickets.

Aeroplane landing at sunset. Boeing 747 landing at sunset at Vancouver International Airport, British Columbia, Canada. The aircraft is partially obscuring the setting Sun. The landing gear is down and the angled wing tips are clearly seen. Landing lights, used to guide aircraft to the runway, are in the shadows at bottom. The aircraft flies along the line formed by these lights as it approaches the runway.

Here in the ‘land down under’ we are a long way from everything and flying anywhere apart from Bali (Indonesia) cost’s you an arm and a leg. I considered amputation and selling limbs and/or organs on the black market.

I worked a season harvesting grain (wheat, canola, lupins, barley) in my home town in WA. Yes feel free to laugh. I worked with grains. I recently told Bob, our “Sailing La Vagabonde Fairy Godfather” (who has been with us for a while now helping us out with EVERYTHING, and is our bread and butter), that I once worked with grains, and he lost his marbles.

He sent me this. How sexy do I look?

MOIIII

 The job lasts 3-4 months depending on how much rain we have had, and for an 18 year old, the pay is well above average. Basically I operated a giant metal vacuum on a platform as high as the top of the big semi trailered truck, made a composite bucket of their grain and went inside to our little ‘donga’ and graded it to see if it was good enough for human consumption, or to feed farm animals. It was very hot that time of year and we had to wear long and longs, boots and safety goggles in the 40 degree sun, but majority of the people working at the grading station were girls, so we seemed to always find a way to make shifts interesting.

There was dance routines being made and performed, a lot of jumping in the trucks with the farmers to hitch a ride to the next station to say hey to your mates, when we weren’t busy.

It was well worth the pay check and it was what bought me my first flight overseas. The beginning of 5 years of travel.

US

My best friend Erin and I flew to Europe for the summer and backpacked through 16 different countries over a period of 3-4 months. Some of the best times of my life on this trip.

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Came home, worked a little more and then did a dive trip to Indonesia with some fellow dive buddies. Dove on some amazing sites, including the ‘Liberty’ ship wreck which was my favourite. It’s a walk off the beach dive at 30m deep and the wreck is so big it took us 3 dives to see the whole thing. Drift diving, night diving, diving with manta rays and deep diving around various islands surrounding Bali. Just beautiful. And cheap.

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Moved to Cairns and worked as a Dive Master on the Great Barrier Reef. Which to be honest, was BEAUTIFUL, but in comparison to the adjacent coral reef on the other side of Australia the ‘Ningaloo Reef’, in my opinion, it just doesn’t compare. Ningaloo has the same abundance of marine life, including monstrous whale sharks that migrate up the coast each year and colourful coral, MINUS the thousands of tourists and divers who walk the jetties like they’re on a runway. Plus the Ningaloo has the adventure of driving 8 hours from the nearest airport to get there and camping is a must.

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After a season there, I was browsing the internet and stumbled upon a job offer to work on the Greek Islands Dive Mastering. I applied and was lucky enough to get the gig! So I flew to Greece for the season. Turns out, the island I was working on is known for its crazy nightlife party scene. I was taking mostly drunk or extremely hungover people diving and I quickly become sick of it. The diving itself wasn’t too flash either. Freezing cold water, even in the hot summer, which meant gearing up on the boat in a 5mm wetsuit before jumping in you were sweating bucket loads and became quickly irritated by everything. Vis was good though, somedays it was 30-40m!

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HI

After a few incidents in the water with drunken/hungover open waters, I didn’t want that responsibility anymore. So I quit that job and ended up working at a nightclub for the remains of the summer. I ended up having the best summer of my life with incredible people who I still now call some of my best friends.

PARTYHowever, I barely got paid more than what I could find hunting for coins in a telephone box per week and it hurt my organs a lot. I only recovered yesterday.

After my summer in Greece was over, I flew back to Australia to work again. Lucky I had a return flight booked and already paid for before I got stuck over there and had to hide out in some old greek ladies house eating olives and drinking sangria until next season.

This time I had no car (sold it to go traveling a year ago), no house (mum and my step dad left to travel Australia in their motor home) and no money (I spent it traveling, dah).

I moved in with my lovely aunty Deb and uncle Pete that were nice enough to have me stay with them not to far from my home town. I was surprised on arrival with a van my step dad had left for me. It was a part of his business he had down the wharf painting/stripping boats that he sold before they left to travel Australia in their motor home they spent their life savings on, after I was old enough to leave the nest and fend for myself. I was over the moon about this van.

First thing I did was paint it. My uncle (used to be a drummer in his days, now his straightened up a bit and likes his Earl Grey teas) came home and took one look at it, his jaw dropped and eyes widened. He said “I don’t know if you’re allowed to drive that on the road anymore”. I drove it alright.

VAN

This van immediately gave me some sense of adventure again, despite coming home to no money and feeling pretty down because of it. As much as I hate money and how it can make people sometimes, you really do need it. At least to get you started.

This van quickly began to feel like ‘home’ once I had really made it mine. Screen Shot 2015-08-11 at 10.21.02 PMI would drive it to the beach and lay in the back on a mattress, play guitar and watch the sunset by myself. Or I’d bring a friend and we would try and drive it on the sandy beach when the tide was out (it wasn’t a 4WD, but ‘Gary’ could fly on hard sand). This was my favourite thing to do for months while I worked and saved up to drive it around Australia. Driving around Australia was always on my bucket list and I thought, what better time than now? I’ve got this van, no plans for this year or any responsibilities. I just need some of that stuff we call money.

So I worked at a bar and restaurant by the beach for a few months. I was lucky enough to have the coolest staff to work with and so were my boss’ Callum and Sonia. When it got busy on the weekends, Callum would let me jump on the guitar and have a jam for everyone for an hour or two for some extra cash and to get away from the beer taps.

I saved up enough money for fuel to get me around Australia. I spent a month with a friend who helped me renovate the van so I could live in it. We built a bed from scratch. Completely messed it up the first time and had to build it all over again. Got some storage containers in there and very basic kitchen gear, threw a bike and some surf boards on the roof rack and I was ready to go. I’m terrible at surfing, I look like a Yeti on a board but I planned to get better during the trip.

I decided I would invite a friend along. Eden sprang to mind because she loves the ocean, was into long boarding and super chill. It only took a message:

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Elayna – “Oi Eden, do you wanna drive around Aus in my van with me for I dunno how long yet? Just pitch in for fuel and feed yourself and you can come. We can go bin diving if we run outta money. I met these people in a van that take all the food out of the Coles bins and it’s good stuff they just THROW out.”

Eden – “Yeah I’m in, but I’m not eating out of a bin. Can we go to Byron Bay? When do we leave?”.

11374561_1616060278676235_1927475379_nWe packed up all of our stuff. Halved our clothes. Halved them again… and seriously had to sit down and HALF our clothes. We began our 5 month trip around the Australian coastline. We didn’t have to eat out of bins, but came very close to it. We drank and ate the cheapest stuff. Spent our days exploring and swimming in the ocean. Eating a LOT of tin Tuna. By night we parked the van to sleep wherever the park rangers didn’t check for ‘freeloaders’. Met some incredible people and had a fab time.

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Eden left me in Sydney as she ran out of money and flew home to WA. I continued on all the way up to Noosa QLD where I was planning on starting a new life (a home base) for a while. I lived with two gorgeous girls I had met overseas a few years prior. They were nice enough to let a fellow gypsy live with them for a while until I figured out my plans.

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Not long after parking Gary up in Noosa for a rest, I got a job opportunity for a travel company in Greece playing music after posting a video online. I couldn’t believe my luck. The job description was, I would play guitar and sing for the group (and public) at a few bars and restaurants. Where ever the group would hangout, I would be there playing music. It sounded to good to be true. I had no money for flights over there and back and my boss (to be) way nice enough to help me out there and I signed a contract saying I would work for them for a few months and they would fly me to and from Australia. The kindness from strangers truly amazes me and forever continues to.

Off I flew a few weeks later with a huge smile on my face. Actually I remember that flight, and I don’t think I was actually smiling. The flights were some budget airline and the aeroplanes were like those little DIY toy planes you get in boxes and stick together with glue. It took a few days in the air and a painful ferry ride to get to the Greek islands. But who am I to complain. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity in the first place!

My job was great, I loved it and the people I worked with. I was reunited with a few great friends on the island who cannot resist but to fly back each year for the summer in Ios.

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This is where I met Riley. I saw his moustache first and immediately thought to myself, “that’s a serious looking moustache that boy has right there”. His eyes were next and then when we got talking, it was his shoes that I then fell in love with.

After a month of spending a lot of time together, him watching me play music on the island, and us sailing around a bit, he asked me to leave the island (and my job) to continue hopping the greek islands and head towards Turkey… So I took the chance.

It was quite a big decision for me. But I couldn’t not take that chance with him, and the boat. I didn’t know if I would love life on a lean, but I knew I really did like Riley. I would rather say ‘yes’ to everything in my life than ‘no’, and then spend my time wondering what might have happened if I did take the chance. I see a lot of my dad in me the older I get. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything as extreme as blow up a milk factory (yes, that part about my dad was actually true), but I have the tendency to take risks and do things that put me well out of my comfort zone. I am constantly seeking that feeling, and I can’t help it… nor do I really want to… If that makes sense?. Mum certainly wishes I took more after her, although she is used to me doing these sometimes ‘crazy’ things now, but when I told her I would be “attempting to sail around the world with a guy I just met and he barley knew how to sail… love you mumsy”, she was ready to kidnap me, put me back in her womb, fiddle with the genetical code and re give birth to me in hope of me changing my mind. But that’s a whole other story. Sorry mum, the hard part is over and now we can both call ourselves ‘sailors’, I am safe! Love you.

So yeah, after spending a few weeks on board, it was only then I realised how very little Riley actually knew about sailing. I laughed when he told me he had bought the yacht initially having no clue of ‘how to sail’. Turns out this was in fact very true! But I was happy to learn with him, make the mistakes and work with him in trying to figure things out. 10729268_669032429876654_291842628_n

Little did I know, after a year and a half later we would end up sailing thousands of miles together, across an entire ocean, and be on an adventure I for one never thought even in my wildest dreams would come my way. It hasn’t been easy, it isn’t ALL beautiful sunsets and perfect sails. We have had some pretty wild times out at sea and had a lot to deal with in making a relationship work whilst learning to sail AND trying to get La Vaga around the world… I would imagine having a yacht would be similar to having a pet, or maybe a child. It requires a lot of our attention, time and money.

Riley had a brand new camera on board still sitting in its box, a Canon G1X Powershot. Very basic camera. But it was sitting there in the cabin and he never used it. So I picked it up, claimed it as my own and gave it a new life (apparently a life it hadn’t even lived yet). I started filming some of our sailing and adventures on land and put together a few movies to share with friends and family back home in Australia. I had always made little movies of my travels that I shared with my friends and fam, so it was nothing completely out of the blue for me to do. My video editing skills were near none, but I didn’t care and just did the best I could with what I had.

Before I knew it, the videos had a lot of hits and there was this pressure of making more. I wasn’t sure where it was all going to lead, but I LOVED making these little episodes and sharing our journey with the world, so I thought, why not give it a go. Without even realising, I had created the roots, the ‘start’, of my ‘dream job’ I had bought my first international plane ticket in hope to find.

And now here we are!

A few YouTube subscribers suggested we create a ‘Patreon’ page, which Riley and I had no idea what that even was and never bothered to look as we were sailing quite a lot and internet was hard to find (an ongoing problem for living onboard). And when we DID have internet, we did the rounds of letting our parents and friends know we made it safely, maybe post some photos and check the weather again.

Patreon is a crowd finding site, where independent artists doing all sorts of creative things are able to continue doing so, with the help of the general public. People donate X amount of dollars per movie, comic book, painting, whatever it is, out of the kindness of their own hearts so these artist don’t have to ‘sell out’ to huge organisations, and can keep doing what they love.

So I signed up, and more and more patrons started joining in and pledging anywhere from $1 per episode I make to $50 an episode! I couldn’t believe it.

In the beginning, making $200 an episode wasn’t enough money to keep us floating in the right direction. It was not a lifestyle we thought we could keep. Sailing, and the sailing life can be very expensive at times. So Riley and I never depended on it to survive, but it was helping us out a lot in paying for things like groceries, customs clearing fees and so on.

We were running low on money, and nearly actually ran out before we took La Vagabonde out of the water in Grenada W.I for the hurricane season. We flew back to Australia to work again and try and get some cash together to help fund the next leg of our trip.

Now, by the looks of things, Patreon is at a number where we can maintain this sailing lifestyle. We are over the moon about it. It was our Patrons that got us here, and without them we would struggle to make it the rest of the way around the world. It’s a great feeling to know people appreciate my work enough to donate towards this adventure we are on, so I can keep the movies coming. Yewww Patrons! Seriously, THANK YOU.

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Anyway, thats me. I hope you enjoyed reading my life story!

Love Elay xo

Ps. If you would like to become one of our Patrons and put a few dollars towards my work, that would be hugely appreciated! You are helping to keep this dream of ours alive.

Click here to become a Patron!

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Comments 88

  1. Nelson Baez

    Woo, I founded your videos on Youtube by chance and I couldn’t stop watching them until I did all 21 episodes plus your video on Bali
    I congratulate you and Riley for what you have done and wish you all the best on your future adventures; your videos give me a sense of serenity it calms me down it raises my spirit; can’t wait to see you guys again sailing “LA VAGABONDE ”
    I live in Miami Beach FL if you guys decide to stop by one day it be a pleasure for me to meet you in person
    Please do not allow anything or anybody from changing that way you think; if more people would think and view the world like you do the world would be a better and more peaceful place
    Let nature be your guardian angel and your spirit would be richer then any material thing
    love and peace

    1. Woody

      I agree keep up the great work .
      I’m from the uk and just pulled the trigger on a 46 ft boat in the keys to follow our dreams too .
      It’s easier than you think .
      Nelson I’ve a Catalina 30 now sitting in big pine key it’s a great start to this life style. It’s on a free mooring and ready to go .
      Face book paul William woodcock and if there’s anyone that is going to use it to it’s full potential I’ll do them a great deal and even take them out on it free if they want to buy .
      Follow your dreams , we only live once .
      Woody

  2. Dan Driskell

    I knew you were a scuba diver!!! Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun and excitement in your life! I hope it continues, and I hope to see more of your vids! Thanks from S/V Ripple Effect, Marathon, FL via SXM!

  3. Josh

    Diving is amazing! Basically forget everything else that’s going on in your life for the time you’re down there. You guys need some scuba gear on la vaga, would make cleaning the hull easier.
    Good read at 2.30 in the morn!

    Thanks

  4. Timothy

    That was an interesting read . Thank you , I actually came across Sailing La Vagabonde from watching fishing videos . I spied your picture it was a ” hot chick ” spear fishing , sweet I said and have been watching since , my wife Loves it also . Thank you for your videos we really enjoy them !
    Ps . I think She like watching Riley’s butt too . Happy sails , the Ross Clan .

  5. Bob

    my kids (ages 8 and 10) are fascinated by your adventures. me too – although in my 20s i was in war-torn places 🙁 So its great to live vicariously watching you two!

    I hope my kids catch your same awesome spirit that will take them into this big beautiful world ! Thanks and luck be with you!

  6. ruben

    Bought your album, think its great listen to it all day long , really like the one about dancing , got your stickers put one on my sailing bag and one on my car , buying t-shirt next , will be sending money soon , need some sailing vid’s for my fix . Hope to see some soon , love ya ruben

  7. Steve

    Thank you for sharing this little glimpse into your history. I was curious about how you two got to where you are since I’m in a similar place, trying to figure out how to keep sailing. Although the details are different our stories have a lot of similarities.
    Keep smiling, having fun and sharing your stories,

    Steve

  8. Jim P

    Elay, that was a very cool recap of your very cool life to date. See if you can beat a similar story out of Riley. I love you guys and look forward to our boat paths crossing some day.

  9. Merrill

    Love the cook book! Have you ever done any rig diving. (drilling platforms)? Here in the Gulf of Mexico the quantity and variety of life can take your breath away! (Never an empty spear)Poor Caribbean looks empty or is that a false impression? You guys don’t let the boat sit to long. Of the 5 video blogs I am following, three are on the hard.

  10. Ralph Holiman

    Great story. I ran across your videos several months ago and quickly got hooked. You and Riley made me laugh and made me wonder why I wasn’t out cruising. I have a 42 foot sloop that had been sitting at the dock since I had returned from my last cruise in 2011. I started getting it ready, and watching your videos, and showing them to my wife. We left on September 2 and are on our way down south. And, as thanks to you and Riley for getting us off the couch and back sailing, we became Patreons for Sailing La Vagabonde! All the best to you two! Ralph and Laura

  11. Clare

    I really, really enjoy your vids. You are living the dream and sharing it with us, thanks!
    I’ve sailed a little bit in the Atlantic and Lake Michigan in the states. Love sailing! Food tastes better, music sounds sweeter, life on a boat is the best! If you stop by Anguilla again let me know and I’ll buy you a meal and give you a tour. I have a new home here and will celebrate moving in this New Year! Happy sailing, Clare

  12. Steve "Morgan" Morgan

    Thanks for taking the time to share all this – your life story. Keep going as long and as far as you can. I’m 65 now and am so thankful for all the years of adventuring that I’ve had. Keep saying “yes”.
    And stop by if you are ever on Kauai.

  13. Bill

    GREAT, newsy bio, Elay!!
    It was fun to learn more about you, and your accounting of yourself sure seems to fit your persona on LaVaga! Yes, we’ll be expecting something similar from Riley. I’m anxious to “see the West Indies” from your perspectives, as you get on board and sail south.
    Fair winds,
    Billy G
    SV La Otra Mujer

  14. Paul

    Elayna:

    I found your videos whilst recovering from back surgery. They are wonderful! I also follow the SV Delos series. My wife & I have a home on St. Thomas, USVI. We plan to retire there in 2021, so if you & Riles are in that neck of the woods, we’ll buy you dinner! Keep up the great videos, and best of luck with your CD’s. Your music is awesome!

    Cheers,

    Paul

  15. Chad

    Great bio Elayna. You have a great adventurous spirit. Looking forward to more sailing videos from you and Riles. You guys are very uplifting and inspiring.

  16. Tony Page

    A great life tale Elay. That’s one of the great things about life. Almost everyone has dreamed or at least had thoughts of choosing your life style at some point. Some (yourselves) just do it and the majority continue to dream and this is where your videos come in, they make the dream more real.
    My wife and I are off to Greece next year for a quick sail around the islands of Kos, Kalymnos, Leros, Patmos and back to Kos, who knows what will happen from there, maybe we’ll cross paths with you and Riley somewhere. One thing’s for sure, your videos have pushed us over the edge. South Africa will always be “home”, but its time for us to make the lifestyle change we have always dreamed of and venture out there, wherever there may be. June 2016 is our jump off date.
    Hurry back to La Vagabonde and keep the videos coming.

  17. Rui Cris

    Awesome as always….congrat..
    See you soon in Portugal…
    Kiss and regards for you both…and…good winds

  18. Beni Rodriguez

    Great story! 🙂

    Amazing to see how one thing leds up to another, and how a thing like water, started it all, and still you end up in the water!! 😀

    btw.. now we know your part of the story!.. how about Riley’s? knowing that part too, would be great!.. cause the whole thing of buying such a yacht is what gets me wondering.. how?! 😛

    Buying your cd a month before its release, I just had time to listen to it yesterday!.. lovely voice, nice work! 🙂

    Hope you guys will be back on the waves again!.. but until then, you’re doing great keeping us informed and entertained!

    to all of you who don’t have her cd!… what are you waiting for??… GET IT!!

    Kiss to you Elay, and a handshake/hug to Riley 😛

  19. Jared

    Fascinating videos, great post. Perhaps you’d consider writing a book, which is a bit easier than you might think if written in chunks rather than straight-through. You have a great story — two young, attractive, people on an adventure that resonates with many people — that could provide a steady (if not huge) stream of royalties. I keep thinking of Robin Graham’s book about his sailing alone as a mid-teenager and I believe his book is still in print several decades later. But most importantly . . . continue to enjoy life, especially while you’re young. And foolish. And amazing.

  20. ian

    hey guys,

    good to hear of your life before sailing.

    have you thought of hosting tourists ? now that your “famous” and have a huge fan club I m sure lots would choose you guys over the other couples offering cruises in the carib …. it d be like celeb cruises … now there s a good name …. they charge big bucks per wk ….

    next may i m taking my cataina 34 down the tennessee river to cuba …

  21. william

    Elayna that by far was an extraordinary read about your life in a nutshell. I can only imagine by my own account, living in cramped conditions and finally feeling free on la Vega. I was sad to see you two part ways, but getting back together shows you two (and I mean riley and not the camera, ha) have the same desires my wife and I have. God bless you both and I will try and do a better patreon for you. Love and hugs…

  22. David

    WoW,
    Nice to read how your Life’s taken you where you are now.
    To be honest i think evryone’s a little enveous of wat Your doing (because Your doing it) but it sounds fantastic and good on ya!
    I love watching your episodes and I’m looking forward to the next.
    I’ve done a bit of that bumming around on the beaches of QLD and wil never forget it ( especially that wounds don’t heal wel in the tropics haha) in fact that’s where I met my Dutch wife.
    Keep up the good work!p
    Greetings from Holland
    X

  23. Nic

    You are a true Vagabond and very creative. Your clips are well done and inviting for us all to live through yours. Thanks for sharing your lives with us. With that being said, time for me to become a Patron 🙂

  24. Estelle

    Thanks for sharing what brought you to La Vaga! Really enjoy all your videos and keeping up with your adventures!

    Cheers from Washington, DC!

  25. mark b.

    Elayna – such a great read. And a life well lived! Hopefully your mom is ok with your whimsical plans by now…

    Every time I tune I to your YouTube channel I know I’m guaranteed a good laugh. Absolutely love Riley’s laugh!

    We have the boat – are learning the ropes – and plan to cut the lines full time within two years. Fair winds and happy adventures to you both.

  26. Mark

    Thanks so much for writing this up and sharing it with us! I know a lot of YouTubers like to keep their personal lives separate from their YouTube life but it’s hard for us fans to develop a kind of friendship with you through the screen and then not learn more about you guys as people! As someone else commented, it would be really fun to get a similar write up from Riley. I wish you all the best as you follow your dreams and continue to inspire all of us to seek ours!

  27. Henk Hiensch

    Thanks for sharing your story Elay. The world would be a shallower place without adventurers like you and Riley. Great to read how you followed your dreams instead of the crowd, and also an eye-opener to those who think it’s easy, all fun and games.

    Hope you both stay safe, healthy and happy.

  28. Tony & Jenny

    You’ve had quite the adventurous life! I was a sailor for 10 years, however my adventure was due to my enlistment in the US Navy. Now my wife and I want to embark on a journey with us calling the destinations and lengths of stay.
    Thank you dear for the cd (digital download). Your voice is sunshine and we pray to God for your safe journeys with Riley. Now we need to hear his life journey, including the neck breaking accident. Peace and long life. BTW, we are Patreoners for yoy two!

  29. Mohamed

    its great that you shared this with us. I have always dreamed of doing this..to travel around the world, but money is the problem here and working and saving isn’t really going to help much so I can only keep dreaming and trying to fulfill my dreams even little by little, however I get to live part of my dreams following people like you guys who share their travels and stories with us. so thank you very much.

  30. Connor Dane Powell

    My best friend and I have really taken akin to your stories! We are Kansas boys in our early 20’s and travel the world whilst we study in university. It is difficult but if you want it bad enough you can travel anywhere or do anything you wish. You guys are a real inspiration to us and we wish to invite you to check out our website where we catalog our experiences and help reveal that anyone can see the world, if you want it bad enough that is. Please, keep inspiring people with your writing and videos, we enjoy and look forward to all of your posts.

    P.s. We would like to feature a story about your experience traveling in your van on our website. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram and our website http://www.istumbl.com message us on any of those platforms if you’re interested.

    THANK YOU, seriously.

  31. Christian & Patty

    We love the videos! I can honestly say that living through you two has inspired us to seriously consider doing the same thing. I have a little over 2 years to retirement from my career. We want to start our new life adventures on board a sailing vessel. We wish you all the support and safe sailing wherever the wind may take you. I’m sure we’ll come across La Vaga someday in our travels. Elayna and Riley, you inspire the best in so many people. Carry on and sail away!

  32. Alma Hansen

    I absolutely LOVE watching each and every second of your videos. I would love to do the same thing. I have been reading “sailing” magazines for about five years even though I haven’t actually been sailing – at least the real sailing that you are doing. I have a proposal for you. When you need a change of pace, come to Utah where we have Lake Powell. It is an incredibly beautiful place. We have an 85 foot houseboat that is probably at least a four star boat – well equipped with big screen TV, dishwasher, granite counter-tops, large freezer, large fridge, five bed-rooms, etc. I don’t know sailing but I do know house-boating at Lake Powell. It is not always calm, but always an adventure. I truly believe you would LOVE a week on our boat. I would love to trade a week on your boat for a week on our boat. We will take you waterskiing, wakeboarding, airchairing, skyskiing, and fishing for striper bass. I guarantee you will love every minute. Just think about it. It would provide you with some great new footage and a little variety too. I will be 60 in a few weeks and my wife is just behind me. I think we could keep up with you and provide a great week. I’m pretty good at cooking prime rib and filet mignon. Let me know if you have some interest. It would be awesome to meet you two and have some fun together.

    Alma Hansen

  33. Steve

    Hey Elayna, love watching your videos. After reading your bio, was wondering when your girlfriend and you were bumming around Europe, did you drop in on any of your relatives.

  34. Bob A.

    Elayna,
    I have immensely enjoyed your videos and have watched all the way through twice in the last week or so. Eventually, I started looking around at your other media sites which lead to my finding your story.
    While I had a corporate job, my first love was also scuba and I got NASDS certified in 1969. I was working on the PADI Master Diver Certification when my first marrage broke up and unfortunately, I never got my that act back together enough to finish it.

    The thing that I have come to really enjoy about your videos (other than those great bikinis) is the great way that you guys have of dealing with the situations and each other especially when things are not going well.

    One question that I have is in regard to Radar use. I though that I remembered seeing the antenna at on point, but I don’t remember you guys talking about it. Riley mentioned a course plotter that got wet. Can you explain that situation ?

    Thanks and Best Regards,

    Bob A.

  35. Tom

    Thank you for sharing your bio, it adds to the experience of watching your videos. I envy your courage and perseverance. You are both young but have lived more than many who are much older. I live in far northern U.S. and we have long, very cold winters. Seeing the beautiful places you travel too and the awesome diving is a welcome break from our frigid climate. I look forward to future adventures and wish you both good luck chasing your dreams!

  36. Billy J.

    Hi Elay & Riley,

    I’m so glad that you two are able travel the world leaving out your dreams. I really enjoy watching your videos and plan on contributing so that they may continue to infinity and beyond. I as well as others would love to be giving an insiders guide to the best spots to sail to where their aren’t so many tourist.

    Well Wishes!

  37. Razvan

    Cheers from Canada! your adventures have been most inspiring and have provided much needed entertainment during my night shifts this week. I am so glad i randomly came across your channel and i am really into your adventure right now. it’s always been a dream of mine to do smth similar but i always thought i would do it later in life when i will have saved up a lil. you guys proved me wrong so hopefully something will come of this.

    Domnișoara Cărăuşu, i hope to see more of you singing and just about anything. Mad props to you, i wish i had so much to say about myself 8 yrs ago when i was 22. We share half a common background – i had a feeling before i read you bio and it turned out to be true. Riley, you’re a champ, mate. I like your style of humor and your positivity and spirit of adventure. Take care of Elayna, she’s a keeper.

    Requests (i dunno if you will even read this but her eit goes) – would love to hear more about your costs/finances if you don’t mind, while traveling to all these places. Also any technical details for a nerdy engineer are welcome. Also logistics, how you cover your basic utilities and these lil tidbits that we take for granted in the western world in a normal city… I bet it’s quite different if you’re at sea going through all kinds of countries.

    Bravo and cheers from the land of friggin frost. Brrrr.

  38. Muir

    When you said you painted Gary I knew what it would look like. Just about every country I have been to I have run into an Aussy that was traveling the world one bit at a time. Being from California I have had many friends that have never been out of the State. I have been to more countries than States ( been to 49 States ) mainly by myself and have enjoyed every minute. I love to hear stories from fellow wanderers.

  39. Christopher Paul

    Dear Elayna

    As it is I stumbled across your videos on YT by chance. Actually I watched your “fasting” thing first and then went on to begin watching your adventures at sea. Incredible. I am currently with you in the Grenada. It was a bit emotional for me as my wife and I where married in Grenada sailing the Caribbean from the Bahamas south about 20 years ago. All those Places you and Riley are exploring we have been to and wish I could visit again under the same circumstances. Sadly however an accident ( hit head on by a car on my bicycle in 2000) has left me paralyzed from the chest down so scampering about topside and trimming sails isn’t an option now. That being said I really am so impacted by the adventure you both are on and doing so under sail which for me was one of my greatest passions. Also love your voice and music. (music my full time profession) Look forward to more posts and many blessings for now to you both. PS: just scored Riley’s book and will get some more LaVag things soon. Thank you again soooo much for sharing your adventure.

  40. Harry Tuttle

    Well done… both of you. I haven’t finished all vids yet but you both make me laugh. I think the secret to sailing or life is having a good partner who understands that life is not always easy and both can make the best of it.

    Night sailing looks challenging for just one person.

    You both made the right decision not to go to college. I have a Masters Degree and found it is just a bunch of hoops to jump through for a piece of paper. The real education is what you do with your life.

    Try to find sponsors willing to donate equipment and money while back in Aussie land.

    A couple of links to music:

    Faun
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITv0jCsMm1s

    Joe Satriani
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkfFfqTkneY

    James McMurtry
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dh-9UyJfWxs&list=PLk1cl7VpPpcmPtfRfoJmphE1rja_MAW-V

  41. Alina

    Hei Elay!

    I heard about your journey blog from TV. You’re on the Romanian News. It’s a pleasure to read ya’.
    I wonder where your father was born ? The city, I mean.

    Kisses from Romania.
    Good luck!

  42. Pingback: Девушка, недавно познакомившаяся с парнем, бросила все и уехала с ним в кругосветное путешествие « Тревел Обзоры

  43. James

    Thank you so much for sharing your story! I have watched all your youtubes! You two have inspired me to follow my dreams!

    Sailing question? What do you and Riley think about self furling masts (mainsail)? Thanks

  44. Theo

    Hi Elena and Riley,
    Been lookin at you flogs and really enjoying them. I took the working / girlfriend/ kids / house option but sailing has always been one of my favourite hobbies thanks to my dad who learned me.
    This year we’ll be sailing on a rental in Greece were we’ve been before. Time and money is aways an issue and I love your choises and learning how you 2 cope on the water with la vegabonde. I would love to sail on the big waters one day and arrive on some nice shore 🙂
    Take care and keep your spirits up. Save sailings and lookin forward to your next episode
    BTW jumping of the mast had me worried but it looked awsume 😉
    Bye, Theo, Leiden, Netherlands

  45. Theo

    O dear, just saw your dental predicaments in Colombia….You looked so painfull..Hope youre better now. wish u Good sailing 4 the 2 of you 🙂

  46. Jeff

    Loved the background story. I’ve always wondered how you two met.
    Keep exploring the dream:)
    Fair winds!

  47. Steven Saylor

    I’ve watched all your and Riley’s videos from the beginning and just now read you bio. Thank god you made the decisions you did when you did. I’m the one who feels blessed by you guys being humans too. And thank you for sharing your life and stories with us all of us.

  48. mark

    i thought before that this kind of life and adventure is only fantasy, that it only happens in the movie. Gosh! i was wrong. With this beautiful lady with all the talent to sing, play guitar and enthusiasm to wander, explore and conquer depths…its a perfect package…she really is enjoying her life..a simple life with nature..
    I wish you more happiness in your journey…:-)

  49. Joe the Computer Guy

    I am touched by the story. I am thinking a movie will come out of this too. The world is your oyster. At 50 I am retiring here in the US to an RV lifestyle. Love your music and think you have a love of creativity and talent in you. Bought your album and wish there was more. 30 Minutes just isn’t enough. More more more please! I’m pulling fro you guys to spend a lifetime of happiness together. Keep following your dreams…

  50. Peter Duce

    Haha!! I knew you guys had just met before you two were sailing. I found it interesting trying to guess about the insights of your relationship. lol. Well I think you two are AWESOME! I was planning on sailing around the world before I stumbled upon your youtube channel. But now it is nearing the place where I can do it. I just graduated college, and this is what I want to do with my life. My buddies always joke, that I am silly planning on doing this without a girl and I always tell them, “if I buy the boat, the girls will come!” Glad you guys have proved me right in a few ways. Either way! Wish you guys well!

    When I have money I plan on sending some your way!

    Best wishes,
    Peter Duce

  51. Zach

    Very inspirational story, thank you so much for sharing it! I really love your videos and hope to travel like you guys in my future (I am 18 years old). Travel isn’t very popular at all where I live (a small town near San Antonio Texas) and when I have expressed it to most of the people (parents included) they almost seem to take it as that I hate this town or maybe even them… ever since I was young I have always been fascinated with traveling the world and Australia. So your channel is a perfect for me! Haha I just wanted to say thank you so much for inspiring so many people with your amazing adventures and what seems to be extremely genuine personalities! Stay safe out there! P.s. could you please do a “not so brief bio” by Riley?

  52. Jay

    I came across your videos on You Tube. The more I watched the more I became part of your adventure! Thank you! Keep the videos coming! You can see how much you’ve grown in making the videos!

  53. Krieger Conradt

    I stumbled across your videos on YouTube and got hooked. I never was into sea travel, preferring to keep my feet on the ground, but I really enjoy watching your sailing adventures on my 55 inch TV. I’m pushing 65 years old now and agree with you that it’s easier to travel the hard way when your body is young. I roamed all over Latin America and Africa for many years while in my twenties and thirties doing things that my old knees can’t handle now. Thanks for sharing your adventures with the world.

  54. Ashley Breanna

    I’m already an avid La Vaga fan, almost caught up on all the episodes, & just wanted to leave a little note for you here. You both are a true inspiration to me. Elayna, your healthy habits are a true goal of mine, and I think you are stunning! I wish you all the best, and all my love, Ashley from Minnesota, US.

  55. Ron Nevels

    I was looking up sailing videos on Youtube to see if there was information there that I could use to fix up a sailboat in a few years when I retire and cruise the Caribbean. I found your videos and have binge watched all of them. When I got to the last one, I had to see more so I signed up to contribute every time you post one and I also bought a tank top from your website. I love your videos and now that I am caught up on them, I can’t wait for more. I like your latest one where you show the highs and the lows. Please keep that up. I can be inspired by the highs and learn from the lows.

    You an Riley are great. I hope you can do a bio on Riley too.

  56. John Whiting

    Elayna,

    Your bio backs up what can be seen in your videos. You are smart. There is a lot of physics and physiology to be mastered in achieving a Master Diver’s License. Even educated people fail to achieve this certification. You have abviously been able to learn in spite of educational system’s pedological methods, and have not let that hold you back. Experiential learning is more valuable than most people give it credit for. Your facination for things in front of you will propel you onward. May you always have an adventure.

  57. Nick Hollings

    Well done guys. As an amateur sailor myself, currently at anchor near Split in Croatia, I know that sailing is by no means plain sailing (doh!) all the time. Crossing the Atlantic and Pacific takes big cojones, massive respect!
    Would be interested to know what your WORST sailing moment has been?

    Keep up the good work, am sure you will,

  58. Lawrence

    Holy Blue Water! It used to be I was first to offer a comment or one of the first three after your posts and now I have to scroll down through dozens and dozens of your fans to get some writing space. I write and photograph for a living, but you are turning it into an art. That’s as much fun for me to see as your adventure. I had no idea you were so skilled (diving), talented (writing, video, photography, editing, sailing) and adventurous. You’ve got a life, girl. Good on ‘ya. Cheers from land-locked Canada where real cowboys really do exist. Cheers. Good post. Keep ’em coming. Your fan base is growing!!!

  59. Shane

    I’ve been a Parrothead since college and on the water in powerboats since birth, but only recently learned to sail, which is ironic since I live half a mile from the third largest yachting community in the US!

    I recently started crewing on a local regatta team and soon thereafter found your videos. Now I’m hooked and I love your book as well. I’m a Director in a 501c3 non-profit focused on children and we are working to introduce more youths to sailing.

    I also have a startup team that is launching an organization to train entrepreneurs. You and Riley are the quintessential entrepreneurs, and I would love to include your story as well as incorporate sailing into our curriculum. In addition, if you ever reach the Texas coast, we would love to host you to speak to the nonprofit as well as our entrepreneurs. Contact me at swg@aroundtheworldforlife.org if you ever come this way.

    Over the next few weeks, I will sign up the nonprofit to support you guys on Patreon, and when the nonprofit sets sail with a fleet of entrepreneurial youths, you will be one of the first to know!

    Best of luck,
    Shane

    p.s. if you ever need legal help in the U.S., hit me up 😉

  60. Jon kallenbach

    The classmate I bought my little dinghy together with is called Steen Christensen, was also much into diving, but he joined the military (civil forces) I didn”t. I also enjoy diving, but for the time being I can”t find my gear consisting of only,- in Danish “snorkel og dykkerbriller”. In pools I enjoyed the girls losing their bikinis when they head-jumped”
    Greetings Steve Pig,- one of my many personalities

  61. Jon kallenbach

    The classmate I bought my little dinghy together with is called Steen Christensen, was also much into diving, but he joined the military (civil forces) I didn”t. I also enjoy diving, but for the time being I can”t find my gear consisting of only,- in Danish “snorkel og dykkerbriller”. In pools I enjoyed the girls losing their bikinis as they head-jumped”
    Greetings Steve Pig,- one of my many personalities

  62. Tom

    Love your story ! AND I am in the business of selling testing equipment for grains !! Who would have thought !! So I know exactly what you experienced on those grain harvests and station testing labs. I just recently found your YouTube videos, first starting at a more recent one and now have backed up to follow your chronology.

  63. BRACK L COCKE

    God Bless and Fair Winds!!! What a very inspiring and courageous story. I have watched 32 videos in
    less than a weeks time. As I watch, I think of my daughters who are young teens and think “wow” no way in the world they would have the courage to strike out and experience the world as you are.
    I am going to start watching the videos in the family room from here out to secretly inspire them to take risks and chances in life. I know not everything goes smooth or easily, but I wanted to express how inspiring the two of you are.
    Riley is a very lucky man, and at this moment, one of my favorite things from the stories is to hear his quickness to give a deep belly laugh. (Loved the Cricket vid also)

  64. Kevin Beriault

    Been following you guys since the third video ,
    .. very well done , amaizing lifestyle choice . Really nice the way you guys get along … keep it up .
    Kevin (Costa Rica )

  65. Scott Bayer

    Riley…….put a ring on her finger….which is
    attached to her beautiful spirit and soul…..
    Kudos…..

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  67. Daniel

    Country Chicks are always the hottest! – I say it’s in their nature.
    Wife and I want to do this same adventure in 6 months, with a 9 month old. Our first big camping trip (with lil bub almost 3 months) last week boating to a deserted tropical island, spear fishing off the beach, we learnt a lot like BRING A BABYSITTER. I’m now reassessing what size catamaran we now need and the extra hard work, but life is for living.
    We’ll take you out for dinner if you ever sail past. (before april 2017 anyway)
    Cairns, Australia

  68. Diana and Kike

    Hi Elena and Riley,

    We just discovered your channel last week and we are hooked!! You guys have have replaced Netflix in our house jajaja. Keep doing what you are doing, its working!

    Diana and Kike from Miami, FL.

  69. Brittani Cachine

    Hi! This is an amazing story! I love it and I am so jealous for the adventures that you made happen just by taking a risk. That is something that I have craved but never had the means (money) to venture out for any length of time. My friend, Nikki, shared your blog with me because she shares this desire to travel, sail, etc see the world. Any pointers on how to make it happen? Thanks for sharing!! Adventure on 🙂

  70. Skip

    What an inspiring story. Helps me understand why my son ran away to the Virgin Islands (the American ones not BVI where you were) two years ago. As Riley would say good on ya!

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  72. Phil

    Just recently found you guys from an article in Boat U.S. Though there is endless miles of ocean to explore if you ever feel like you are running out of ports to visit, don’t forget the Great Lakes region of the USA. Love the little “movies” you make. Keep it up.

  73. Trevor Norris

    Elayna and Riley, I watched all your video’s on U-tube in a rather add hock way, then realised I had made a mistake in not following the story episode by episode so I started watching them all again, glad I did as it then all made sense. Elayna I think you are a budding Lorna Croft, having read your story, clearly you are! I was much relieved to see Riley was at least wearing a safety line at night the AP as he knows will just sail on if the unthinkable happened no mater how much he shouts bilgy come back. I watch your video’s on a smart TV and the quality is great, also the continual news about Brexit and the American politics would have driven me crazy by now if it wasn’t for both you and Riley’s light hearted and comical take on even the trying problems such as the continual AP saga. I wish Abbey a smooth transition from land to water, watching her trying to climb the inflatable rock face, I guess she will not be climbing the mast any time soon. Do you have a CO detector on the boat as at one time going from the carbon produced by the gas burner you could have gassed yourselves. Stay safe and thank you for the pleasure you bring to so many.

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