Imagine being on a well appointed cruising boat in an impossibly perfect tropical paradise with two hot blonds, two handsome men, tons of toys (from drone to dive gear), a moonshine brewing still, a thousand beers and a penchant for all things fun. Sounds pretty awesome, right? Yeah. Such is the life of the s/v Delos crew. These four have perfected the art of living harmoniously "in the moment".
If there is any crew in the whole wide world that I would want to join and sail with for a good long while, it is this one. Not only are they accomplished sailors who've logged an impressive number of nautical miles from Seattle to Asia, they are people after my own heart and I'm pretty sure their sailboat acts as a sort of portal to personal enlightenment because everyone who steps off s/v Delos seems to have changed permanently for the better. Or maybe it's all the alcohol they brew. Either way, I want in.
When we started blogging back in 2009, there were no where near as many blogs as are out now, but there were a few, and Delos was one of them. We've been online "friends" since our blog's inception and their site has evolved from blog to vlog - and a really, really, REALLY fantastic one at that. If you have not checked out their amazing videos, you should (subscribe to their YouTube Channel >>>>>HERE<<<<<). Not only are their episodes excellent dream fodder, but candy for the eyes as well. They've really honed in their techniques over the past few years and each crew member brings something unique to the table. I want to be friends with each of them, for real.
(Brian) That’s the really amazing part of this for me personally. I didn’t start out with a vision at all…. I just wanted to take some time for myself, sail, travel, explore, a bit of soul searching and discovery. Along the way my brother joined and we met some fantastic, amazing people. In fact we’ve had over 35 people sail on Delos! Some for only a few months, others for years. Everybody has left their energy and added to the experience in their own special way. To me this has been the most awesome aspect of the voyage, and has really helped to shape the vision of Delos. Which is pretty simple actually- just have as much fun as possible, and show others what a beautiful place this world really is. If we can make someone smile then we’re doing a good thing!
(Brady) I was ‘treading water’ at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. I spent the semesters convincing myself that I really needed the Environmental Engineering degree I was working towards and I spent my summers down in Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, teaching scuba diving and playing with boats! I spent Christmas and New Year of 2009 sailing with Brian in Mexico and had an awesome time diving and cruising around. That’s when they asked if I’d like to join for the passage to the Marquesas in March of 2010. I asked myself “Go back to finish a degree just for the sake of finishing or go sailing to this far away mystical place called French Polynesia?” Let’s just say the banks who gave me my student loans to go back for the spring of 2010 weren’t happy. I was supposed to be on for the 3 week passage, hang out for a few weeks then fly back home from Tahiti All of a sudden we were about to sail into New Zealand 7 months later… I knew at that point I had permanently switched to the University of Sailing the World.
3) Josje - (I think you are the one behind the animation of the videos?) - you are wicked talented - was this something you always did (video editing) or is this a talent you discovered underway?
(Josje) We all take turns at editing the videos which you can tell by who does the voice over. When we started making them in Australia, it was just sort of a hobby so when we got our hands on a decent editing program, we all just sort of taught ourselves! It was a huge learning process but really fun! Still learning heaps even now. So I guess I was never ‘into’ editing before but it’s definitely a skill I highly value and appreciate now. It’s so awesome to be able to whip up a little something with music and the whole works! Haha in terms of most of the effects in the videos, Karins gets the credit for this! She’s been teaching herself a program called ‘after effects’ where she’s able to do all the awesome effects like in our intro for the vids. I also really like the fact that we take turns at editing the videos, it makes it really unique in the fact that we are all able to portray our experiences through our own perspective. And I think people can pick up on those sorts of things which is really unique!
(Karin) We all edit the videos, which I think is awesome, and everyone has different styles and ideas. The animation part really started with us wanting to create a new cool intro. I looked into stop motion and really loved it!
I did some small video projects during my 3-year degree as a landscape architect, but this was on a different level. And so much fun!
In the beginning I did the old school camera on a tripod, take a photo, move the object then another photo. This was extremely time consuming! So I looked into After Effects, after a week and dozens of YouTube videos later I knew enough to make a small intro. It’s a fascination program and I’ve only started to scratch the surface of what’s possible.
*Editor note: Sorry Karin!! I thought Josje did the stop motion - SO FANTASTIC. Love it. I stand corrected.
4) You all seem to have a good dose of "hedonist" in you - is this something you always had in life - or was this cultivated by living on the water, being free and just letting go of social constrictions that the US sort of imposes?
(Brian) I think it’s probably a mix of lots of things. Society in general has this idea of what is common, and what is out of the ordinary. For me that really changes when we go sailing. It’s a very different life spent in a small space with people you really care about. You’re more than just friends- you become a family of sorts. So things like partying a bit, skinny-dipping, and showering on deck that in a city would be considered way out there are just part of the norm for us now. We’re all in committed relationships and care deeply enough that we all respect personal boundaries so that helps. So, I guess yes and no at the same time. What may be crazy for some is just a shower in the rain for us ;)
(Brady) Haha well after googling hedonist I can say that I have always had a strong belief in the power of pleasure and have always searched for it and surrounded myself with pleasurable experience.. (winky face)… I guess what I mean is I have always thought that you should put your happiness and pleasure first (as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else in a negative way). Life is short so eat well, drink often and laugh a lot. Delos has definitely brought out more hedonistic tendencies though. We often gorge in alcohol, food and other pleasures to the point of it being a bit much…Nah, never too much…
(Josje) Haha this question is great. I think it’s definitely something that I’ve always had a craving for and being on Delos has definitely been a space where being free and open is the norm. No we don’t all have sex with each other or anything, but going for a naked swim or taking an outdoor shower while the others read a book in the cockpit is totally cool and accepted. It’s a boat after all!
(Karin) I don’t think I’ve ever really seen myself as an adventurous, living in the now person. And it’s definitely taken me some time to be able to really live in the present and not think so much about all the things your “supposed” to do in life. So the sailing life style has definitely changed me as a person, only for the better. I will always remember one thing Brian told me when we first met “you will never look back and wish you worked more.” – so true!
5) Josje and Karin - both of you joined the crew of Delos as girlfriends (I think?) did you ever picture yourselves living on a boat or did the love of the Trautman boys lead the way to the sea for you? What finally made you both realize that, yes, you would live on the boat as sea gypsies and was the transition hard?
(Josje) Haha yeah I guess thats pretty bang on. I met Delos in 2011 in Fiji and Brady pulled the old “wanna come sailing for the weekend” line. Its been four years of sailing on and off since then! Sailing had never been something I was remotely interested in before I went travelling. My dad actually put me through sailing lessons when I was about 10 and I absolutely hated it! Strangely enough, 10 years later, I was cruising around. I think the moment I realized that yes, I would live on a boat as a sea gypsy, was when I first met Delos. They were young, fun and totally about living simply and free, everything I had been craving. I knew I had been searching for something, not quite knowing what, and when I moved on board Delos I knew I had found it. So I guess the transition wasn’t so hard, I still miss life on land, my friends and family. Ive come to realize its all about balance!
(Karin) I met Brian in Auckland, NZ in 2011. He asked me if I wanted to go sailing for a weekend and here I am 4 years later. I grew up above the polar circle in a small town in Sweden so I’d never sailed before. It had never even crossed my mind that I could do something like this and now it’s something I could never live without. I loved it straight away- it’s an incredible feeling of freedom and self-sustainability, the ultimate way to travel and it’s now my whole life!
6) Videography seems to be your platform of choice - and your Delos episodes are so well done and entertaining, they are practically television-worthy. What made you decide to go the "vlog" route when so many sailors are doing blogs? Was it a conscious decision or was it more organic?
(Brian) I was actually sitting with a guy in a bar in Mexico enjoying a few Pacifico’s. He had inherited a fortune from his family and had been traveling around for about 7 years through South America and Mexico. I thought his life sounded really interesting. When he asked what we were up to he lit up and said “Wow man, that’s really cool! You should be capturing everything on video!” I thought if this guy with a fascinating life felt our experience was interesting then maybe others would as well. So I bought a cheap $200.00 camcorder and starting messing around. This sort of stuck with me and over time we started taking videos of what we were up to. As we got better gear and more into the project it sort of evolved over time. We love writing the blogs and taking photos, but video brings such a different perspective. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video must be worth a million right? Plus it’s a whole lot of fun, and we’re really looking back to seeing these 30 years from now!
(Josje) From my perspective, it was definitely more organic. I remember when we started to make the videos, it was like a funny joke almost, like we just had a bunch of footage of us doing random, stupid stuff and thought if we threw it together, 30 years down the track we could all meet up, drink some wine and watch them and have a giggle about the the 'good old days’. So when we started getting a big following and lots of support and interest from the videos, it turned into something more which sort of got the ball rolling to where it is now. So its definitely been a wonderful and interesting journey, but still learning and growing, always!
(Brady) Thanks so much for the compliment! We really have an awesome time doing the videos. It has been a totally organic thing. We started making them because we thought it would be funny to look back and watch them 30 years from now. We also thought it was a great idea to show our family and friends what we were actually up to. Writing is a really great way to tell stories but video footage is even better. Unless you’re a wicked writer like yourself! (*Editor's note: Thank you Brady!) While Josje and I went off to work last year Brian and Karin did an awesome job making the videos on a regular basis and helping to keep the momentum of everything going. We still do a bit of blogging but it has definitely taken a back seat to the videos. Maybe we will write more on this next season!
(Karin) When I want to learn new things or get inspired I find it easier to watch rather than read. Therefor it came naturally to start filming, we wanted people to be a part of our lifestyle. It’s a great way to connect with your audience and the whole experience becomes more alive.
7) Your blog has been around a long time - you are actually one of the few I followed from the get-go (as you know since we have emailed back and forth almost yearly since 2009)...from my perspective, it seems like your blog has changed - you've obviously gained a ton of popularity with your awesome videos, but I feel like there has almost been a sort of "enlightenment" amongst your crew and the way you share your life - do you agree, or have I drank too much wine tonight?
(Brian) Is there such a thing as too much wine?!?!? Certainly not if you can still type ;) There is no doubt that this experience has changed us in ways that we are still just beginning to realize. I’ve often wondered if the places and people we visit get more fun, beautiful, and interesting as we sail West or are we changing as people and are now better able to absorb the experience more fully? Perhaps it’s a little bit of both. In any case I think our perspective on things has changed, and this has come through in our sharing of the experience to others. We are so lucky to be able to do this and sharing the experience with others only adds to it.
(Brady) First of all, there is no such thing as too much wine! Is that a hedonist statement? Haha. Yep, we have definitely e-mailed back and forth over the years. One day we will anchor together and finally meet! (*Editor's note: YES! And by then our kids will be old enough so we can party a little harder - ha!) Yea, we have changed the way we share our lives and it has just been a natural progression of the blog. You can really SHOW people what goes on while sailing through videos. I think videos really reach people that normally wouldn’t be searching and reading blogs. We got an awesome email from a trucker that would get together with his trucker buddies at a rest stop on the highway each time a Delos video came out! How crazy is that?! It is really inspiring to be able to reach so many people.
(Josje) Firstly you definitely haven’t drunken too much wine tonight. There is no such thing as too much wine. Secondly, I agree with your statement. I wouldn’t go so far as to say ‘enlightened’ because I don’t consider myself a monk or buddha, but I’d definitely like to think I’m on that path of love and all things positive. Everyone brings something different and unique to the boat and I think over the years, as we have travelled further, pushed the horizons and expanded our minds, I feel we’ve definitely become a lot more content and understanding with the world, with each other and most importantly with ourselves. I think from sailing on Delos, we’ve all realized how to slow down and realize whats important in life. I’ve definitely seen a lot of mindfulness and meditation books being read on the boat!
(*Editor's note: See!?!? I told you they were after my own heart. All of them mention that there is no such thing as too much wine. My love grows...)
8) This question is for each of you - if you could sum up how Delos has changed you life in five words or less, what would you say?
(Brian) It has changed my DNA!
(Josje) (This is so hard!! Ummm….) Opening eyes, heart and mind
(Brady) Poor Materialistically, Rich Spiritually, Grateful
(Karin) Value of freedom!
9) You guys have mastered the art of cruise - break to work - cruise break to work, and this has obviously been a good formula for you. Do you ever see yourselves being called back to land? Is there ever the urge to "settle down" for any of you?
(Brian) Wow, great question! I only intended to sail for 2 years and we’re moving onto 6 years now! One of the toughest things about cruising is being so far away from family and friends. So the thought of having some sort of a “home base” on land is attractive. Plus, I’ve found that after leaving Delos for a few months to visit home it creates a new level of excitement looking forward to the next season of sailing. It’s not in the immediate future, but a definite possibility to sail for a few months a year then live somewhere awesome the rest of the time. Come home to visit with family and friends, then return to Delos when the time is right. We’ll just have to see. For now we’ve still got a few more years I reckon though! Plus it would be really sweet to have someplace to set up all the awesome things we’ve collected in the islands so far!
(Josje) Haha definitely. There is something about the mountains and being surrounded by the forest that just resonates with me and I definitely miss this while sailing. When I am home and surrounded by it, its definitely hard to leave. But I wouldn't say an urge to ‘settle down’ just yet. I love to travel. And to travel by Delos is the cherry on the cake. Actually it should be the cake!
(Brady) A few years ago I would have answered this question with “Nope, I will live the rest of my life as a pirate”. As time has gone on I realize that just as much as I love sailing and traveling the world, I really love having a home “base” where friends and family are not on the other side of the world. I will always sail but maybe it will evolve into a 3-4 months sail then the rest of the year in a bad ass house with a garden, dog, a place to keep all the carvings collected, and of course friends and family..
(Karin) I have always said I will sail until I run out to money or until it stops being fun. I have run out to money a few times already and the more I learn about sailing the more fun it becomes. So at this point I can definitely see myself doing this for many more years but I try not thinking too much about what the future holds.
10) Will there ever be any mini Delos sailor thrown into the mix? (And, yes, I am talking about babies - sorry, but - come on, look who you are talking to here!!)
(Brian) After meeting so many awesome kids cruising on boats it’s really opened my eyes to just how cool of childhood it must be! So that’s a definite maybe, when the time is right of course! ;)
(Brady) Haha hmmmm nothing on the Horizon for Josje and I at the moment….Maybe a little half Swedish half American sailing spawn from Brian and Karin?!
(Josje) Haha good question! I think this one is more suited for Brian and Karin, they’re kind of that age where there is subtle hints of thoughts and possibilities. As for Brady and I, not in the forseeable future right now. Haha I’m 22 this year, got a lot more life to live before I feel totally cool with bringing another little being into this world!
Haha cheers for the questions brittany!! After answering all of these, I asked Brady to read his answers and literally laughed out loud when I realized we had written so many similar things!! So its not like we talked about them first, it just happened! Shows how connected we are haha.
(Karin) I could definitely see myself having a family in the future. And I’ve met so many awesome cruising kids out here, what an awesome way to grow up!
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Thanks so much for taking the time to interview with me you guys, we are sending nothing but LOVE and positive thoughts your way and can't wait for our wakes to cross one day.