Rileys Bio

autobiography |ɔːtəbʌɪˈɒgrəfi|
noun (pl.autobiographies)
An account of a person’s life written by that person. He gives a vivid description of his childhood in his autobiography.


When asked to do a “Bio” I was a bit concerned. How much should I give away? There is always going to be a bit of self analysis and introspection involved which can be uncomfortable. Should it be about who I am as a person or what I have done. Or both? An account of ones life is a difficult thing to attempt I think. This is what I have come up with so far;

I grew up in a few different places but really when I think of growing up it was in Cowell which is a small country town in South Australia of about 1200 people when I was there, including the farmers, and in Alice Springs which is in the middle of Australia *kind* of near Uluru (Ayres Rock.) I used to play football and enjoyed camping and fishing trips. It was my father who inspired my outdoors side and not worrying about doing it a bit tough (I slept on a swag for a year at age 25 because I thought buying a bed was a waste of money) I eventually bought a bed when Dad came to visit and mentioned that I should probably just get a proper bed. This held me in good stead for leaky yachts, having to stay awake for 36 hours during a storm etc. My parents split up when I was 5 which is why I lived in different locations. I think Mum inspired my adventurous side, she has an adventurous and hippie spirit and incidentally is by so far the biggest fan of SLV (Sailing LaVagabonde). I have a little brother who I am trying to convince to come on the boat but he only wanted to go to Cuba. He’s a bit of a Communist. I was pretty naughty at school and in general fairly difficult to parent I think.

dad hot

I went to boarding school in Adelaide which was amazing. A lot of my best friends I met here. It was like living with 15 of your best friends. The only thing I don’t like about the whole sailing thing is I can’t spend as much time with my mates and family. It truly is a shame to not be able to hang with these people every day as they are pretty much all just really funny. We laugh a lot. I think about them and miss them every day.
After boarding school I went to university (college) and failed. I failed so bad that in order to re-apply ever again they said that I would need to write a letter to someone, I can’t remember who. I was too busy playing backyard cricket a lot with my mates and partying. It turned out that because I managed to land the job offshore this was the best thing that could have happened, the failing Uni thing. Lucky and very stupid Riley.


I think I drank too much from the age of 22-26. It was almost becoming a sport or problem depending on which way you look at it. I certainly didn’t want to leave any stone unturned. I was petrified of looking back from age 50 and thinking that I had missed out on something/everything. I like older people for the same reason I like older music they/it seem/s more authentic. I would listen to older people, my parents friends, uncles etc (not my parents obviously, who listens to them?). If there was a general theme from these people it was always along the lines of have kids later and do as much as you can when you’re young. This was also why I travelled a lot.


I like people who are a little odd or interesting and good stimulating conversation, quoting obscure lines from movies, lyrics or favourite lines from books and spaghetti Bolognese. My friends think I’m a hypocrite but I feel as though I have a complicated moral code that has evolved according to my age. An odd thing I do that I feel really helps alleviate my own personal stress and frustration; if I’m waiting in line somewhere, usually customs, and people are just sitting around blatantly ignoring the customers, talking amongst themselves etc, most people would be familiar with the situation, the people behind the counter slowly attending to you in their own time and appearing to take some joy out of having made you wait, I will pull out my kindle and sit down somewhere peacefully and just wait to be served pretending not to notice their poor customer service. I’m sure this actually hastens the eventual service and sometimes I will ask them to wait until I have finished my chapter.


The picture above is me working on an offshore drill rig and on a barge offshore. I did this for 8 years to save up for La Vagabonde. For three weeks we would work for 12 hours a day and its f**kin hot because you’re working on a large metal object that is sitting in the sun. I have mixed feelings about my time offshore, I made some life long friends and it gave me money and time to travel but it can be really difficult. I hope that I don’t have to go back, I think we would look at chartering first (might need a bigger boat!) When the atmosphere is bad offshore on the Rigs there is no escaping and its oppressive, it is mentally and physically draining. I managed to move into construction instead of drilling later in my career which was infinitely better. Heavily unionised, better conditions, less pressure = better atmosphere = everyone happier = happy Riley. Yeehah! In my time off I liked to travel and between jobs I was able to go to a lot of different places while the Yacht idea was taking hold. I recently filled my passport and had to get a new one.

The two big events from then were buying the yacht and meeting Elayna. I won’t go into too much detail here suffice it to say that I love her more than anything, she is the best thing that has ever happened to me, she can sail to windward at like almost 30 degrees and can hold her own in 5m swell and gale force winds, one helluva boat. Elayna is also good.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 11.27.41 AM
On La Vagabonde I like to free dive, fish and spearfish. I think that as we get better equipment that the movies will be able to show a bit more on this. I can dive down to 30m, Elayna can do just over 20m and is a much stronger swimmer and more comfortable in the water than I am. She’s basically a fish. Learning to slow your heart rate and mastering your bodies physiology and natural instincts in order to free dive is really calming and its something I wish I could do every day instead of chasing up some odd piece of broken and crucial yacht equipment in a foreign country. Eating a freshly speared snapper is a good thing.

The photo below is from when I broke my neck travelling through Brazil and had to have spinal surgery over there. I spent 6 months recovering, whilst 16 of my best mates went on “The best trip ever” (I keep hearing) an RV trip up and down the coast of The States. At different times I was told not to move my neck or I would never walk again and later that my voice would never recover enough to live a normal life, like socialise and go back to work eventually. It all turned out OK though, over a hundred grand hospital fee that travel insurance picked up there. I could go on here, I wrote about half of a book on my experiences whilst I was recovering because I spent little to no time talking, as instructed by my pathologist, for 4 or 5 months. The first 18 days was strictly no talking and then I was allocated 15 words an hour or something for I can’t remember how long, months.


I also like to pass the time aboard by reading. David Foster Wallace is incredible obviously, but others I really like are Jonathan Franzen, Knutt Hamsen, Don DeLillio and John Fante. I will get heavily wrapped up in a particular subject, for example, I read a psychology textbook on the Atlantic Crossing and would read the most interesting parts to Jack and Elayna during our enforced ‘meetings.’ I am maybe not insecure but slightly preoccupied with a permutation of my life’s path. Not having been to University (read passed) and having had a mundane and unacademic career for the last 8 years I think about occasionally and I tend to compensate by using big words. Like Tautology. And Permutation. I’m obviously not too fussed about grammar. Another, I suppose, odd thing I do is that because I thought that sections of the Psychology text book were poorly written, boring or even attempting to morally persuade the reader, which I don’t think it was their job to do, I struck entire sections with black pen and even tore out some so that when I read it again on the next big crossing I won’t waste my time with the bad parts.

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Music: At the moment I’m really flogging The Drones, Neil Young, Nick Cave, Colour Haze and Pink Floyd. Getting deep into the backlogs. Tangled thoughts of leaving, Elliot Smith and I’m always listening to Jack White. If we are having dinner we can even go for some jazz or instrumental. A bit of an odd grouping but I feel as though one must keep it eclectic if nothing else mustn’t one? Haha. We download Aussie music onto Spotify and try to agree on songs we like and then compile playlists. This is good fun.

The last thing I should mention is that I’m pretty excited about our sailing channel. Elayna spent 4 months back in Aus making websites, honing editing skills, making an album and writing a recipe book. I can’t believe she made a website! How do you even do that? We are a bit of a professional outfit these days and it feels good. At this rate it looks like we will be sailing around for YEARS!!! Thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way you are making the vids and trip a reality. We love you.

That’s me.

Comments 120

  1. You free dive to 30 meters? No wonder you have an ear infection, My friend Steve, who could also, and did, free dive that deep, suffered from them as well.

    1. Been spear fishing on free diving mode since I was 10, and I’m 56 now. I fish anywhere between surface and -35m, and I’ve never suffered from an ear infection, ever . I don’t think there is a correlation between depth and ear infections.
      Signed: Ex-oilfield trash

      1. I managed to qualify as a ships diver for the Royal Navy as a side qual from my main job marine engineering petty officer. I used to have issues with my ears all the time because of the diving. It does have a connection with depth because of the pressure acting against the drum of your ear etc and trying to clear your ears etc. I always managed to clear my ears underwater but did occasionally get ear infections. Hope this helps.

        Adrian North

        1. I am not sure that ear infections are related to depth although getting your ears wet quite obviously raises the risk.
          You clear your ears when the difference in the pressure between that inside the drum and that of the water outside becomes too great. Once your passages are clear the regulator should keep the inner ear pressure equal to the water outside.
          I had to give up diving due to a skull operation. Since that time I only snorkel. As a snorkeler I have had many more infections than when I was diving, although it is true that most of my diving was not in the tropics whereas most of my snokelling has been.
          I had a colleague whose son became deaf because of an ear operation and since the colleague told me about that I have been very careful about what treatment I allow to my ears. I had a perforated ear drum as a child but it seemed to have healed. Neverthess when i got an infection in the Seychelles I carefully read the instructions for the drops the doctor prescribed and it said not to use when there is a perforation. I dumped the drops an went to another doctor who did a great job in finding drops that claimed to be okay with a perforation. The ear got better. I can’t be sure that the drops were harmless because it may have been that my drum had healed.
          Moral of the story: be very very careful.

          1. Question re above…. True infection vs Accumulation of fluid in the middle ear and the resulting inflammation and pressure on the drum?
            Treatment …. 1-2 oz dropper bottle with 2:1 alcohol (99%) to ascetic acid (white vinegar) …. used liberally can “dry out” the middle ear.

  2. You are a very interesting young man Riley. And you and Elayna are a wonderful couple! Just know that us old, married couples are living vicariously through you (no pressure) and are dreaming of the day when we can live aboard as well ! Fair skies & calm seas to the both of you !

      1. Ditto, ditto! Live that life as long as you can. You’ve got plenty of time to worry about whats down the road. Us oldies still can do it just a bit more reserved ambitions.

  3. Thank you, I have anxiety and don’t trust people to much, knowing there are nice ppl like you and your gf out there with easy reading story’s (and videos) dose really help me xx
    You both give me a smile with your videos. Thanks again xx

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      1. Amen to that. I’m a pretty anxious guy, land locked in the middle of Canada (still a lively place). Followed your vlogs for a while now, and I enjoy them a lot.

        I’m actually moving to Aus in August 2016 for a Masters program and to try new things.

        You guys definitely provide viewer’s with a great motivation to follow their dreams, enjoy life and explore.
        For that I’m thankful!

    2. The world is full of good people. I hear what your saying, but don’t lose out on good friends. I can count my true friends on one hand and they are all family. Sometimes you need to be a little open to find good friends.

    3. I get that. Some of the the other sailing/vagabonding vlogs, it’s like “That’s a nice boat, but this vlog appears to be about being rich, drunk, and obnoxious in the third world.” No mentions of David Foster Wallace. Riley and Elayna are the sort of people that you hope to, and thankfully so often do have the joy of getting to know and share adventures with when you travel. Thanks for sharing Riley, and may I say it’s a damn sight refreshing to see another self made, blue collar, DIY cultivator of the mind, out there making their adventure happen.

  4. Amazing Riley. You’re both an inspiration to so many people. I show your vids to all of our family members and get excited every time you upload a new one!
    Good luck to you both and keep pushing yourselves.
    Hopefully one day we’ll see you someway around the world next year, when we start our own voyage
    Big love x

  5. Only recently found SLV , love your videos , looks like ya’ll are having the time of your lives , I would like to ask a personal question if I may , how much did the boat cost , and was it cheaper because you bought it where they are made , sail on my friends , living my dream vicariously through you , thanks

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  6. Good stuff Riley, I really enjoyed getting to know a bit more about your life. Don’t sweat the lack of school bit, ’cause most of the smartest and happiest people I’ve met in this world had only basic schooling , but a hell of a lot of common sense and curiosity about most everything. Take good care of that fine partner of yours and you’ll have a happy life man.

    Cheers til the next time,

  7. Keep up the great work. I ve been following you guys for awhile now and really enjoy all of your material. you both seem like great people and I applaud you for having the courage to pursue the life path you are on. doing what makes you happy. best of luck from Boston. take care

  8. Just wanted to say thank you both so very much! I live the city life same shit different day work eat sleep and all over again the next day and the day after that. I feel like a fucking robot but when i saw a video with u both sailing la vagabonde and i fell in love with both u. Uve inspired me to do the same. I’m saving everything selling everything and I’m going to learn to sail and experience the world like u. Now I’m totally stoked. I hope some day we’ll meet and even sail together now that would b awesome! Thanks and keep being urselves

    1. That line got me as well.

      I applaud your willingness to open up and share more about yourself and upbringing. Keep on keeping on

  9. “Not all who wander are lost.”
    – JRR Tolkie

    The world is such a better place with such inspirational people as you Riley and Elayna. All the best.
    I wrote this a little while back and it kinda reminds me of you two.

    The Surreal World of Raven Rippen Ripstorm
    Raven Rippen Ripstorm drew out his switchbroom and waving it high under the frosty diamond sky became entranced by the warm campfire glow. Swiveling swiftly, Ripstorm focused his attention on the dark form just out of reach of the rippling light. Two forces starring at each other on this frosty night. Both asking the same question. Who are you? But how do you ask that question of yourself? Ripstorm just pondered. Then without hesitation he sang out in melodic musical harmony. Who’s at the other end of my attention? I feel a presence! Why it’s your fabulous flashing imagination, come to steal you away into the mysterious night, the night of wanderlust imaginings. Bring your switchbroom and meet me at the edge of the moonlight shadows. Imagination could hardly be contained, his exuberance caused him to launch into cartwheels and somersaults; so excited by the prospect of his forthcoming joyous jaunt through the realm of the Jitterbug Universe they were about to enter. But …. Ripstorm was frightened, frightened to leave the world he thought he knew so well. To cross into Imaginations shadow realm gave him pause. Take the dive, take the plunge, a thousand sights you’ve never seen, a thousand sounds you’ve never heard, all waiting in the Mystic Jitterbug Universe. Intoxicated by Imaginations joyous, jubilant frenzy, Ripstorm cast his fear over the horizon and took the leap. Now you’re with me Imagination gleefully laughed and the glint his eyes assured Ripstorm this would be an adventure only Mystics could understand.
    Scott Humphrey-MacPherson

  10. Well done guys
    You are such an inspiration
    The wife and I drop everything the minute one of your videos come up
    Keep the wind in your sails and enjoy life

    Mark and Karen
    NSW Aus

  11. Thank you for sharing your story it’s breathtaking to hear you’re holding onto the things in life that are passionate. Everything after that is secondary. I let the love of my life go many years ago when I was in my twenties ( I’m 48 now ) and have lived ever day living someone who isn’t there. Riley and Elay I see that love I had between the two of you. It restores my spirit that love lives on in the world. My praises to you both for grabbing and holding onto your ability to live and love !

  12. Hello. I have been married for 20+ years and she still is my “Gypsy Soul” hence the name of our boat. Everyone on the internet wants to give you advice and all this other crap. I have watched your videos and followed as you have posted things from various locations which My wife and I truly love. White bay in Jost is my favorite as I have had 11teen too many pain killers there. Post your videos, live your life, and be y’all. Yes y’all. That’s what makes it work. I would say some fair winds and calm seas bullshit saying, but we all know that changes hourly! Haha. keep going. Capt. Jack

  13. You remind me of someone . He also lives life . He does not conform to any mold. He is real. Enjoying the wisdom of older generations…

    I’ve often said people who go out and live a “different ” life from the 8-5 Mon-Fri house, taxes and kids , are the people who discovered America, electricity, and these devices that we have become conditioned to!

    Sailing is fun, hard work and can be dangerous. You meet many people from all walks of life. That is your education. A degree does not ensure happiness or employment. It does give one a sense of accomplishment. It is personal. No one can give it to you. You earn it. If you choose to get that piece of paper that says Graduated .. It’s never to late.

    You two inspire the imagination of many! Stay safe….travel on! Thank you for sharing with us!

    Keni (landlocked in Arkansas) oh yeh , with a degree in nursing achieved at the ripe old age of 38.

    1. I’ve been watching your videos forever but somehow never made it to this part of your site, Riles. I agree wholeheartedly with the comment above. Not too long ago university and higher learning were not necessarily things done with books but instead situations with mentors. You have a few wonderful mentors – the sea, La Vaga, Ely, and those you meet on your journey. Having lived 56 years on this earth and being a vagabond myself (and dragging my husband and kids along with me), I’d say you’ve learned a lifetime of knowledge that those in Uni will never have the opportunity to touch. You really can’t underestimate the incredible benefits in psychology, maths, english, foreign languages, biology, sciences, etc., you are reaping from sailing and traveling. 🙂

  14. Hi Elayna and Riley, I’m sitting here watching the sun come up At Narromine, ( central NSW).
    Its now the new year here and I can only wish you both all the very best with lots of safe sailing out there for 2016.
    I’m originally a coasty from Nambucca Heads NSW, grew up there and did a bit of sailing as a young fella. Love your Bio’s and the videos.
    Always excited to see a new down load.
    Something that I’ve noticed through life, and seen often to confirm this, is the saying, “behind every great man there is a great women”. Its all about team work.
    Take good care out there !!!!

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    2. Really enjoy following your adventures. Since you like to challenge yourself in reading material….you might want to consider reading some of C.S. Lewis.

  15. Well said and enjoyed! Over time, I think we will learn more like ( how you broke your neck) but as perhaps the details are not important. I like the way you two treat your fans/supporters
    by keeping it interesting with different ways to communicate with you and to be part of your journey.

    Last summer I saw a movie about David Foster Wallace.. ‘THE END OF THE TOUR” it’s a true account of the time David Lipsky from ROLLING STONE mag. spent with David while on a book tour” Starring Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel. Almost an uneventful film but interesting.

    Sail on ………

  16. I love your videos, they are really really well done. YouTube is frequently suggesting other sailing videos for me to watch and yours and SV Delos are so much better than anything else I’ve seen.

    I really admire the lifestyle you guys have chosen; it’s so much more fulfilling than what most people choose.

    Gotta love Patreon! It’s awesome that Patreon funds so much of your lifestyle now. I happily contribute to a few other YouTube channels and think it’s great that Patreon enables and motivates them to keep making great videos.

    I love sailing but don’t get to do it very much. Maybe this summer I can play hooky from the family for a couple weeks and find someone who’s looking for crew.

  17. Right on bro!You and I are kindreds.I too have done a bit of traveling.Thats why I support your channel.As well as other nomads.I am disabled now.Due to gun violence.(I was walking home from a laundry mat when a car drove up beside me and pointed a shotgun at me while a negroid shouted “die cracker!” and blew a hole through my left leg.)Imagen being the type of person,that NEVER sat still and was always seeking adventure and sporting,being shot down a few days after turning 18.I too came from a broken home.And the dysfunctional environment made me choose to leave home at 15.I worked at all the shittiest jobs known to man.But my favorite jobs was working on a dairy farm.It was hard work and long hours.But very rewarding in terms of solitude and animal husbandry.I graduated from school via a g.e.d. and travelled pretty much all of america.I took every mode of transpertation known.Including hopping trains.I did quit travelling due to my desire to serve mankind and contribute to the progress of our species.So I served a formal 4yr carpenters apprenticeship.I went on to build many homes,churches,businesses,greenhouses,dog houses and chicken pens.Until the long term effects from getting shot caught up with me.I have suffered with pain ever since getting shot.But once I had suffered the effect of shrapnel moving through my body and some of it resting in my hip and spine…it was game over.I now have degenerative hips and spine from my body growing unevenly.When I got shot I was just entering into a huge growth spurt.I was always the smallest(yet bravest!) person throughout school.After getting shot I grew to be one of the largest people on the planet.So that was strange to get used to.Anyways,the trauma to my left leg caused it to stop growing as fast as my healthy leg.This caused my hips to be uneven and therefore my spine as well.As I grew to enjoy the strength of my enlarged body I pushed myself in all things to be as big and strong as I could be.I lent my size and strength to many many causes.And it all caught up with me.I wont go into what all is wrong now but I will say that without your good health life is a drag.I did however go from being a learner via physical activities to that of a ceribral learner.I have been reading pretty nonstop for the last decade now.Which has been VERY rewarding in terms of being able to advise people and how to provide basic needs instead of hiring others to fix things.I am currently teaching myself robotics and perhaps create a new kind of wheelchair that will make being handicapped not so bad.In terms of being stuck in a wheelchair.To have wheelchairs that float and a doc octopus type of spine support.I am rambling now.
    It was good to read a bit of your time here on planet earth.This is a truly amazing medium.To learn that people on the other side of the planet make the same or similar conclusions about the challenges we all face.Its really thersputic because many people are defeatists who allow their adversities to dictate who they are.They develop a nasty attitude because they witnessed or experienced someones nasty disposition.But there are a handful or two of us who defy the negetive and forge our destinys in spite of the weakness of playing the victim via self loathing.I seek only the universal truth.And thats why I began this text with the statement of kindred spirits.You do as well.And have been very successful in finding a few of those precious diamonds in the rough.And for that congrats and I too wish you and your lady all the best.

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  18. Hi Riley & Elayna

    Happy New Year 2016 to you both.

    Great to see that you are now back on the water and travelling. I have enjoyed watching your video’s and the many different locations and adventures, and look forward to the next one.
    Do you have any travel plans re bucket list? Do you find Elayna’s cooking enjoyable as you always have this smile on your face when eating. Safe sailing.



    Take care

  19. Riley,
    Bravo for your life and willingness to live.
    Thank you for sharing and showing us how to.


  20. Hi guys

    Happy new year & good bio Riley
    I love seeing your episodes, but one thing worries me. I’ve never seen either of you wearing a lifejacket or harness. Please be careful guys, I’d hate for anything to happen to you and ruin my viewing entertainment.

    All the best for your further adventures

  21. Great to finally read about you, friend. I’m sure your dad would be proud of you, I certainly would be. I’d probably be nagging you to let me come along. I understand that you and Elayna keep your private feelings private, but I’ve wondered about that and I’m glad to know how you feel. I’ve often thought what luck it is you two found each other and realized it. It always makes me smile. You have my deepest, most sincere envy for your choices and adventures. I can only thank you for inviting me to share any bits you do!

  22. “Elayna is also good.” … hahaha!
    Was nice to read about you Riley.

    All the best wishes for 2016 guys

  23. Love you and Ela!

    My wife and I are nearing the finish line for our plans to buy a boat and sail around the world for as long as time and money will allow. Your videos help keep us focused and excited for the life we are slowly marching towards,

    Hope you have a safe and excellent 2016

  24. Well said !
    I also would like to thank you for the videos . Best wishes for a successful and safe 2016.
    Looking forward to more videos

  25. Thank you Rile. Born to be an adventurer. Question? How long did it take you to learn sailing, before you could just take off sailing. Have you two ever encountered sharks, to the point you had to spear one? Do you have a book on what fish, you can or can’t eat? I loved the video where you were casting your line under water, hahaha that was funny. I guess there are loop holes .. I’d never seen that done before. I used to go motor yachting with my father. He had a small , SunSeeker yacht 56. We only traveled along the, west coast, California to Washington and Catalina Island. He lost his yacht to a dock maintenance worker. He offered to fill the water tanks for our next venture, And ended up filling the boat up with water and it sank in berth. This was Port of Los Angeles / San Pedro. Anyways, we don’t motor yacht any longer, but he’s looking into sailing. Thank you for posting your adventure. I enjoy them and can’t wait to see what’s in store.. Happy New Year 2016..

  26. Let me know when you’ll be by Anguilla again. My island friends and I will spoil you rotten, in the best way.
    Love and Hugs, Clare

  27. Mate, like your stuff and understand the joys of the offshore, was only a few miles from the Spaghetti pipe layer you were aboard a few months ago. Every fay is a good time to go sailing when you’re out there.
    You and Elayna have been a real encouragement to me since you’ve been doing your thing and now I’ve finally got me a mistress as well.
    Hope to cruise with you guys in Un Zud one day.
    Happy sailing

  28. Hey Riley & Elayna

    Dagon here

    just thought I would remind you that all my little fishes are watching you, and as god of the fish I’ll just mention Ciguatera, it was my little joke. Go easy on my friends

  29. Great biog Riley! You two are an inspiration to a lot of people in all kinds of ways.

    I skipped doing a degree for a bunch of reasons beyond my control, and obsessed about it for far to long. But it did motivate me to do the kind of things that others only talked about and in many ways turned out to be one of the best things that never happened to me.

    Agree with what the man says about every man and his dog trying to give you advise, but – do us all a favour though and wear your harnesses and tethers when you should! Imagine how many people would be pissed off if the videos stopped coming……

  30. Riley,

    It was great to be able to learn a little more about you and your background. Just think, if you had succeeded in University you probably wouldn’t have ended up on the boat or with Elayna and that would have been a bad thing. You’d have most likely gotten some boring job making something useless that the world really doesn’t need, and we all would have been much poorer with you and your videos. I look forward to each and every one! You both do a great job of entertaining and educating us. Some day I hope to join you in traveling around the world seeing new and interesting places, until then I have your videos to keep me alive!

    Hope you guys can come to New England at some point in the future. I’d love to meet you in person. You should consider giving lectures on your travels to raise additional funds for your travels. You must have so much knowledge that you can share with us (the less fortunate). I live not far from Yale University and they’ve had several long distance sailing people come and lecture. All have been both interesting and entertaining. I’m sure you and Elayna would be naturals at it!!!

    Till then, good luck, fair winds and following seas!

    Bill S.
    Meriden, CT
    Wanna be world traveler!

  31. Thanks Riley a good read, thank you, let me know when you start the Riley School of Sailing..!!

  32. Riley and Elayna
    Keep the stories and updates coming.
    I am land lock here in Indiana, USA, but I love to hear from you and follow your adventures.
    I am saving for a boat, maybe some day. For now, my adventures consist of distance touring
    on my BMW K1200LT and backpacking.

    Ron from Indiana

  33. Very interesting life! Thanks for sharing you videos! If You ever sail to California look me up.

  34. Hey Riley

    ” Comfortably Numb”
    We are just 50mins nth of Cowell and know franklin harbour well . I spent 9 years, a little before your time though, at Arno B .. I love the place..
    We sail on our 35 footer (regularly)and plan to unfurl the sails in a few years time to go way beyond the spencer gulf, and liv aboard but on a larger boat…. We have been on the water for 10yrs now and we enjoy learning from your experiences . Pausing the clip to discuss how you have gone about things . Clearly you are a natural at being on the sea.. Along with your sense of humour makes great entertainment ..We love the can do cheeky attitude you display . I suspect that is part of the real attraction ,between you both. making a great team

    if you are looking for something different in music . Cuban Jazz – Ernest Raglin ” below the base line” It is magic on a calm balmy night bellowing from the saloon while having sundowners watching the sun set.
    Fair winds , be safe , as we continue to be fans

    Leanne and Andrew

  35. Thanks for sharing…..i grew up not far away from Cowell in Cleve, recognise a great country boy!….when are you going to marry that beautiful woman? She’s awesome! Thanks for the videos

  36. Now i understand how you become a traveller…the way that your parents lived when you were young!!! It is nice to see how you achive your dream of sailing. Keep on and enjoy it as much as you can…sharing with the person you love the good thing s of life.

  37. I’ve been following both of you for a while. Introduced you to my immediate family as well. We love you both. Keep going but explain this to me. How the hell did you break your neck? How does one survive with broken neck and become fit again to cross Atlantic with sail boat?
    Keep sailing, will meet you some day.

  38. Hi Elayna and Riley

    Just joined up – first time for this type of thing. The one thing you have really brought home is the reality that I did not glean at your age, the fact that life is short. I love the videos that I stumbled across and will now watch all of them.

    Keep sailing and enjoying the life you are building. Hope to catch-up in person in a distant harbour.


  39. Your story is exemplary, have enjoyed the sea as you wanted. How do you see your near future say 5 years? matromonio, children, more travel? I have followed for 3 months and I’m coming to get my first sailboat, a 28 feet to start. Thanks and I send hugs and congratulations to both.
    PS: I would like to hear more singing Elayna offshore.

  40. Beauty of a write up Riley. I would have procrastinated along time to write one as well. It would have drove my wife crazy. We are currently saving to buy a boat and take off with our son (2 years old) I’d say we are a couple years off. Can’t wait to get cruising. I am in school for Web and Mobile application development at the moment. One of my projects includes a website/blog for our travels. We used a WordPress blog when we did our one year round the world trip honeymoon. It was great showing our friends and family photos, as well as the random people that would find it. I get a lot of joy reading your website and following your blog/videos. What you and Elayna are doing is very special, and I only hope we can create something as entertaining as you have.

    Safe Travels and Happy New Year to you both
    See you on the seas


  41. Beauty of a write up Riley. I would have procrastinated along time to write one as well. It would have drove my wife crazy. We are currently saving to buy a boat and take off with our son (2 years old) I’d say we are a couple years off. Can’t wait to get cruising. I am in school for Web and Mobile application development at the moment. One of my projects includes a website/blog for our travels. We used a WordPress blog when we did our one year round the world trip honeymoon. It was great showing our friends and family photos, as well as the random people that would find it. I get a lot of joy reading your website and following your blog/videos. What you and Elayna are doing is very special, and I only hope we can create something as entertaining as you have.

    Safe Travels and Happy New Year to you both
    See you on the seas

    Joe & Alicia

  42. My lovely wife of 30 years and I love SLV and are currently making the transition from land to sea and thank you both for all the tips.
    I read the poem in these comments the first time and thought it was just hippy shite, then I read it about 3 times and I really really like it good on you Scott Humphrey-MacPherson, love your work mate. I also have 1 question Riley how did you bust your neck?
    You two are the best.

  43. Riley-
    I love the way you write! I have been following you guys for some time. You all are such an inspiration.

    Happy sailing and optimal winds!

    – Forrest

  44. I’m so happy I found you guys. Not many people in this world inspire me. Maybe Jim Carey and perhaps Dave Grohl, my biggest inspiration in fact up until now has been Alan Watts. Now there’s you guys. I’ve been thinking about sailing around the world for a long time but was scared of being alone and even more scared of being bitter old and alone! There is love in this world. You guys show it. Thank you for being an inspiration to me. Forget worrying about being ‘a dropout’. You’ve helped changed my life for the better. I don’t know any rocket scientists, hedge fund managers, Prime Ministers or PR Gurus that could have done that.
    Thank you – enjoy every moment


  45. There is much to say, here is part.
    Congratulations on your wonderful life!
    But, you should keep in mind, wherever you go, there are untold numbers of people who wish they could live as you do, with similar effort that you have put into it. There are also untold souls who put out much more who never realized the dream, and countless others who never will, even as they follow and maybe even support you in your quest.
    I suspect you will travel the seas and visit mostly the least expensive places you can in your travels. I suggest you look closely at the people who live in those places, as they will likely never venture from the “paradise” you sail into, and I suspect they won’t feel about those places in the same way you do.
    Many of them may all look at you as a dream they can never live.
    I am happy for you and Elayna in that you have pulled yourselves up from the life of “common” people, and made something better of your lives through self effort, and social media to live the dream millions of us want to live as you do but will never be able to accomplish. Just keep in mind that everywhere you sail into, there are many more living poor who dream of your life than the wealthy who support you from their dream-about lives from their comfortable homes.

  46. Keep the wind in your sails and enjoy life, and have a very good New Year, Following wionds and calm seas. Hugs from Paulo, from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.

  47. Books for you and Elayna to read:
    Free to Choose by Milton Friedman (Also on You Tube)
    Cosmos by Carl Sagan (Also on You Tube)
    Civilisation by Kenneth Clark (Also on You Tube)
    Testament by John Romer (Also on You Tube)
    Shock of the New by Robert Hughes (Also on You Tube)

    All easy reads, softbacks, fast moving and very valuable; so no excuses.

  48. Rock On Sailor Aussie. My husband and I just joined the bandwagon of cruisers (from Boston MA US) and stumbled across your blog. Great stuff Thanks for sharing and I love the videos!
    I’m a poor swimmer at best but I’ve been jumping in every day for the past week. I’ve gone from (don’t laugh, we all start somewhere) 5.5 meters to 9.3 over the past week! We’re in Guadeloupe and hanging out in the Leewards for now. If you find yourself heading this way let us know! We’re *trying* to keep a blog Cheers!

  49. Good fun to read. Love the boat comment “…and Elayna is also good”. Looking forward to more “real” entertainment from you both. Book suggestions: 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, just about anything from John Irving, The Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped Out The Window and The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonassen, Wicked The Story Of The Wicked Witch Of The West… and if you love a great Aussie crazed life, Shantaram by David Gregory Roberts, an epic adventure based on his real story. A MUST!

  50. Riley,
    I’ve been through your videos twice and have enjoyed them very much. There are a couple bits that I would like to pass on on the chance that you might find them helpful. First, regarding the care of your ears, if you use a small dropper full of rubbing alcohol (Isopropanol) in each ear, it will mix with the water and allow it to run out. There are commercial preparations that also have some boric acid in them, but I have been using rubbing alcohol for 60 years and it has never let me down.

    The second comment is in regard to your looking for a way to remove rust stains (iron oxide). There is a mild acid (Oxalic Acid) that is not difficult to handle, that happens to have a great ability to dissolve iron rust. You can obtain it under a variety of trade names. (I just went to Google and searched on “Buy Oxalic Acid”) and there were many different products.

    I will close buy wishing you an Elayna, safe passages and good fortune in your travels.

  51. Hello .. I’m from Brazil!! How did you brake your neck? Which state did you stay?
    My husband and I had been watching you guys, and I even purchase Elayna’s album, I love her songs in the end of the episodes!! I hope you have a safe trip! and Keep us posted! I’m loving to watch you guys!

  52. Riley,
    I am currently sitting in an office in NYC waiting for a snow storm this weekend the media keeps harping on. 20 years ago my wife and I honeymooned on a bareboat charter out of St. Lucia on a 43 ft. Beneteau. We sailed to Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The following year we chartered in the BVIs with another couple which was also incredibly fun.

    Since then we’ve owned a boat but I long for the experiences and adventures that only come with living on a boat. We live a happy life but admit at times it can feel like serving out a sentence and look forward to the day our son finishes school so we can pick up where we left off.

    You’re living an amazing experience and are an incredibly lucky man. I have to reiterate what others have said about the videos being inspirational. The girl is not bad either. “Youth is wasted on the young” does not apply to you my friend. Sleep easy with the decisions you’ve made.

    Cheers mate!

  53. You 2 are a breath of fresh air and much better entertainment than the cable in my home. Thanks for the honesty and absence of sensationalism we see from every other media outlet. I think many people long for simpler times when hunting and gathering a meal was living, or raising money to accomplish one goal was a major accomplishment. I’m always excited to see what kind of fish you 2 bring up or how you plan to pay for your next adventure. Thanks for allowing us to step outside of our often routine lives and see the world. Also thank you both for keeping it clean and respecting your relationship in front of the camera. Keep up the good work and God Bless.
    PS. Do you ever want a cheeseburger?

  54. Just discovered your youtube channel. Really like it. I am 55. Yes, live life for fun always and you will have no regrets. My regrets are the travels I have not done but am making up for it in how I live my life now. Have you read ” The Voyage” by Sterling Hayden. One of my favorites and I think you may enjoy. Good luck, stay safe!

  55. Good old facebook! it’s funny who you stumble across, you video’s and free spirited travels are like meditation…

    I’m hooked 😉

  56. I’ve sworn to heaven and hell never to get another ear infection after my last one, when I dove in the Caymans and got water in my ear. Ever since then I have used Swimmer’s Ear anytime after diving / snorkeling, and not got another infection. Check it out at any pharmacy, or just make your own for a few pennies; it’s simply 50% rubbing alcohol and 50% white vinegar. Trust me; it works!

  57. Hi guys

    I agree with the poster above about most blogs from yachties being from overprivileged geese getting pissed in the third world. Good on those kindred spirits like you two who keep it real.

    In 1895 our poet Henry Lawson wrote ‘The Vagabond’. The first stanza –

    ‘White handkerchiefs wave from the short black pier
    As we glide to the grand old sea –
    But the song of my heart is for none to hear
    If one of them waves for me.
    A roving, roaming life is mine,
    Ever by field or flood –
    For not far back in my father’s line
    Was a dash of the Gypsy blood’

    Although it is 120 years old the poem still rings true today. It’s about a bloke sailing with his best mate. You may find yourself reflected in the words, I know that I did.

    Fair winds

  58. Nice meeting you Riley. I’ve followed you and Elayna since I found you. This was probably because I am one of those people who are now looking back and thinking, why didn’t I follow my dreams when I was younger. I am a year younger than my retired wife and at 62 trying figure out if I can retire early. She had some back problems that have since been fixed and would entertain the idea of sailing. Told her I would tie her to the helm and that would be her responsibility. Anyway I recently bought a 2500HD Silverado to pull a fifth wheel around the US. This is where we will start and probably finish. Still may have a small sail boat, 35, maybe. I have tried to make her feel at ease in thinking she will be able to see our 22 grandchildren more often. Anyway maybe in a year or so we will bump into you along the US coast somewhere, I hope so. Cheers mates, gods speed. Be Safe. From Fort Wayne, Indiana

  59. Great read Riley. Lots of ear experts. 40 years of swimming and professional diving has taught me to respect and take care of the ears. Use alcohol products very carefully. They will dry out the ear canal and cause the skin to flake off and trap water etc. causing what you are trying to prevent. Vinegar is great. Just a little.

  60. Stumbled across Elayna’s instagram just last night which led me to the youtube channel and so on. Very cool lives you guys lead indeed!
    I wish I could help donate, but I am a struggling musician who plays yidaki (didge) and got laid off my daily job.
    Sending good vibes and blessings though. Stay safe and keep being you!

  61. Riley:

    I’m a big fan of your adventure and inspired by both of you. To avoid ever getting ear infections again after diving, try putting a cap full of 3% (not 30% ) hydrogen peroxide in both of your ears for a few minutes after diving…works like a charm.
    Best of luck and safe travels to you both.

    Fort Myers, FL

  62. Very nice write up. You remind me of a work friend back in Washington State. He thinks like a fish, it is a fond memory I have of fishing with him-Salmon in Puget Sound and in the rivers of the Olympic Peninsula. He and I worked in Environmental restoration and hyrdaulic engineering knowledge helps.
    I just went through your youtube videos here in Bar, Montenegro. We watched it on big screen TV-using Chromecast. Me, my kids and wife are also traveling-started in early 2014 and we’ll still trudging along. We even visited Australia-who knew Australia grows the best mangoes in the world.
    I’m always analyzing when something appeals to me and in this case why your videos appeal to so many people across the globe. I think it is because you guys have this art of observing ego figured out. It can be taught, or faked but the good examples are when people have it figured out internally-like a natural process. I think that’s the quality within your laughter and your story that appeals to us.
    The videos are Netflix material-great channel. I hope you guys make lots of moola to continue your travels. You must count in the Pacific Northwest into your plans, hit it in October and get a boat load of fish.
    I had set a 10 yr plan set out to start sailing with my kids-8 yrs left on that plan now. I might just have do it much sooner after learning about your story-look out for a boat named the Tibetan Nomads. It’ll have a crew much influenced by your journey.
    One question I have is why don’t you make Sushi? Seems like a quick way to get good food-all you need to do is steam rice.
    Tashi Delek from a Tibetan fan.

  63. Hey Riley!

    Some things to add to your reading list:

    Trustee From the Toolroom (Nevil Shute)
    On the Beach (Nevil Shute)

    (C’mon dude, this guy practically died a bloody Australian!)

    Twilight For the Gods (Ernest K. Gann)
    Captains Courageous (Rudyard Kipling)
    The Golden Ocean (Patrick O’Brien)
    The Shipping News (E. Annie Proulx)
    All The Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy)
    The Crossing (Cormac McCarthy)
    Cities of the Plain (Cormac McCarthy)
    The Ra Expeditions (Thor Heyerdahl)



  64. Riley – Thanks for opening up, I think you two have come a long way in becoming a team. I have just finished binge watching ALL your videos over the last couple of weeks (even at work, I hope I don’t get fired).

    Keep up the great work, as you know someone once said “Cruising is just working on boats in exotic places”, thanks for documenting it, and passing on all the things you have learned along the way.

  65. After Vietnam and college, I bummed around Europe, Africa, and S America. What I was doing, and what you are doing, is what they call a Wanderjahr in German. You may not get a diploma written in Latin at the end of your journey, but if you read books, go places, and meet people, you will indeed be educated in the true sense. Bonne chance.

  66. Hey Riley,

    Nice bio. What was your sailing experience when you bought the boat? I presume it was a steep learning curve? You definately seemed more confident by the time you reached the Caribbean.

    I presume being as you met Elayna in Greece, you were planning on sailing alone. That would have been a totally different trip. You must have been stoked to be able to share the trip with someone.

  67. Good on you Riley and Elayna. I am totally addicted to your webcasts of voyages. They are great. Very inspiring to an old 44 year old father of three little tackers. We are water people, love sailing and kayaking on Sydney Harbour and diving on Barrier Reef or snorkelling at Fairlight Beach in Sydney. I am trying to convince my wife to get a boat and follow in your footsteps – will happen some day. We watch your adventures in awe of what you have achieved and seen and caught and eaten etc. We are living a conventional life, me barrister fighting the good fight, my wife also a solicitor. We kayak round Cockatoo, Spectacle and Snapper Island every weekend, sometimes to Balmoral – not quite on your scale of adventure. Your creativity is a great tonic for us. Elayna’s smiling face, music and sense of humour and your tips on all things sailing, insights on life (Hemingwayesque) and footage of snorkelling are fantastic. Loved watching your Atlantic and Pacific passages. If you need somewhere to stay in Sydney close to Woodford Bay (Longueville) on Lane Cove River (suitable for mooring) let me know. Go for it.

  68. Pingback: Sailing La Vagabonde: Adventure Awaits | Trevor Jones

  69. That’s not an amazing bio… except for the part where you meet Elayna and sail around the world. That is fucking amazing and you are the luckiest guy in the world. The two of you are truly an inspiration and I thank you for it and do and will support your efforts. Maybe I will see you on the water some day even though I have zero experience sailing as of now. I have taken an interest and saving for the boat and learning all I can to be prepared. I don’t see how I can not do this… seeing all the beautiful places in the world and not worrying about how my time is spent seems like a good way to live. In the meantime, just another slave scheming an escape.

  70. Thanks for the ride Riley!, I was randomly browsing “you tube”and 2 days later I felt like I took a vacation! Really liked “all” the videos and the website too! You and Elayna seem to have something very special, and you both work hard at making your adventure look so fun, so thanks for that. My family always exchange Christmas presents every year, I’m 61 and not materialistic at all…. this year I want the cash to become a patron to SLV, and to see my new beautiful friends with a little more wind in their sails! Also….I don’t need anymore fucking socks!
    Peace and Love!

  71. Been following your adventures for some time now and never saw this page! Anyway, wanted to say thanks for the updates throughout your journeys. While deployed overseas with the military, I eagerly awaited your uploads to see where you guys sailed to and landed next…for about a year, your videos were my 10-20 minutes of getting away and there’s no price that can be paid for those brief periods of sanity. Keep up the good work and adventures. Hope to see you on the water one day. Cheers!!

    Fair winds and following seas,


  72. Found your YouTube channel and binge watched every video, now I’m sad cause I have to wait for more! I really love your adventure and think both of you are fabulous and great spirits. I know that there are probably many moments of hard, but love that the overall feeling of your videos is positive! you are inspiring to many of us, and that inspiration is infectious!

    I live/work onboard my boat, the lovely Dovekie. A 1952 wooden gem, it’s my version of adventure and living a creative life. I would encourage you to come to this part of the world someday on your travels. It’s the west coast of British Columbia (Canada), north of Vancouver. So many inlets, bays, so much history, and wildlife…pretty sure you two would love it.

  73. Ditto. Ditto. Adventures and experience as well as meeting people worldwide is what fills a heart and soul for a lifetime. This great-grandpa, now a paraplegic, almost “experiences” your adventures with you in your videos. I love them all. I’ve watched them all twice!
    If you’re ever sailing in Oklahoma, stop by. 😉

  74. Love what you guys do! Glad i found you late so i can binge watch. 🙂 keep it up. Maybe one day ill see you out there.
    Incidentally, did you know David Foster Wallace is Jonathan Franzen? Same person! Crazy right – but when you have time on the hard look in to it. Maybe its why you like them both.

  75. Riley: thanks for sharing. Good to know the man behind Elayna’s addictive videos. Those years working and saving for your dream, also honed your determination and drive. At first I thought you foolhardy, setting sail with little or no experience. But now I see you were prepared mentally for the task. Finding your “adventorous mermaid” was a great bonus, especially with her skills at documenting your progress.
    I’ve been a keen sailor most of my life, and designed the Spinlock jammers you use each voyage, but I lack the “balls” to live from the sea like you guys. It is great to see you both as happy under the ocean, as on it. While I’m jealous of the huge lobsters and fresh fish, I also know you have earned these treats. Respect the sea, and stay safe. Wishing you both all the best from a cold and damp UK

  76. not sure whether you see these now or not – but i found this bio to be very articulate and informative. I enjoy your sailing adventures and at 76 my sailing was done years ago with a 15 Montgomery I would take out of Dana Point Harbor with my two children – 5 and 7 somehow on days when the flag was orange or red. It was only later I found that my ex had instructed the kids to drop my beer overboard. I must admit it is the wonderful relationship that you have found with Elayna that I find most enjoyable – My ex hated the water and when we would go out with my powerboat she would – as soon as we were in a port – get off with the kids and take a rental car back home. Its amazing that my son loves the ocean and now lives in Miami and enjoys boating. Well, I have many of your old episodes to watch so I had better get back to the laptop. safe sailing.

  77. Riley: I particularly like the first picture or you with french fries and a cold beer? You started early mate. All good, love the info. Barney

  78. “The two big events from then were buying the yacht and meeting Elayna. I won’t go into too much detail here suffice it to say that I love her more than anything, she is the best thing that has ever happened to me, she can sail to windward at like almost 30 degrees and can hold her own in 5m swell and gale force winds, one helluva boat. Elayna is also good.”

    I swear I laughed so hard I damn near peed myself. You’re right where you belong in this world, keep it up!

  79. The first cmoment I left was in response to that short excerpt from a book or whatever that Scott something or other Macphereson wrote! I get the connection. Saving for our boat now, not easy to do on gov’t disability lol……you two are inspiring and really keep me stoked about all the stones I’ve yet to in turn in my 59 yrs……..I appreciate you both!!!

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