motherhood: elayna carausu
Elayna Carausu is a new mum to Lenny. Originally from Australia, Elayna and her partner Riley have documented their travels on their YouTube channel. She shares with us a bit about life abroad sailing the world, and how she intends to navigate this with a new baby.
I’m Elayna. 25 years young and I recently gave birth to our little boy Lennon Foster in December...
I never knew I could love someone as much as I do Lennon. My partner Riley and I met by chance around 5 years ago in Greece and we’ve been together almost every day since! My partner had bought a sail boat, having no clue how to sail and he asked me to join him only a month after knowing each other. It was one of those things where I knew I had to say yes just to see what happened. I had no idea how to sail either, but I did know that I really liked Riley and for that reason I was game enough to take on the challenge of learning how to sail with him. So I quit my job in playing guitar and singing for a travel company on a Greek island and we sailed from Europe to New Zealand (what an amazing country!!) over a few years and we documented the entire voyage on YouTube. This somehow eventually became our full time jobs. Travel Vlogging. I guess people liked the rawness of our videos and there’s a kind of “if we can do it, you can do it” underlying theme to them. So work for us is sailing the world, hours of editing videos onboard and most recently, raising a child!
We live on our boat for 9 months of the year...
The boat moves around as we please, but we tend to stick to the places with palm trees and we chase the summer. Our boat La Vagabonde is currently in the Caribbean (surprise surprise). I’m originally from Geraldton, Western Aus and Riley is from a tiny country town called Whyalla near Adelaide, South Aus. A fun fact is that Geraldton is something like the third most windiest place in the world and growing up on the coast meant I constantly had windburned lips and some days you had to avoid the beach at all costs, or the sand would sandpaper your skin off!
Our life onboard is what I would consider quite.. messy...
We never know what is going to happen the following day and our moods are influenced so much by the weather. We might spend a week in a protected anchorage with the hatches shut, reading books while some bad weather passes feeling sorry for ourselves and annoying each other, or we might be cooking up fish with our boat neighbours onboard drinking wine and appreciating the heck out of a sunset and life in general. One thing I say to people when they ask what it’s like to live on a boat I always say how one day can feel like the best day of your life and the next day, the worst. The unpredictability of life on the ocean can be quite stressful, but it also makes me feel the most alive. It’s so exciting and I definitely couldn’t go back to living a life on solid land. Over the years, we’ve become much better sailors and we’ve upgraded sail boats which is why we decided to bring another little soul into this world. We can’t wait to show Lenny what’s out there. As far as we can tell, not much will change other then a few minor alterations to the boat as he gets older (harness, nets on fences, locks on hatches etc). We’ve met a fair few sailors with kids onboard so it can definitely be done.
The greatest challenge would have to be being away from my family and friends year after year...
I miss out on weddings, birthdays, baby showers.. and I can’t help but feel bad for creating a life for myself abroad. But to be honest as soon as I left school I knew living in my home town was not going to be ‘it’ for me. So I had to leave and see what the world had to offer me. My parents are nothing but proud of what we had achieved over the years and they want nothing more than the best for me which I’m so grateful for. I just can’t help but feel bad now more than ever, seeing as Lenny is my mums first grandchild! She says it’s okay and she’s happy with Skype calls and receiving baby spam over Facebook messenger.. but I would love to be able to see them for more than a few weeks every year. So that’s been a big challenge for me. The greatest reward has got to be all the lessons I’ve learned. I feel like each year that goes by, I grow so much both physically and spiritually. The things we see and experience sailing from country to country year round is more than some people will experience in their whole lives. I feel like I am an entirely different woman to who I was when I first set off on our around the world adventure.
The most valuable lesson for me was learning that no-one is going to change my situation other than me...
When I first hopped onboard, I was still under the impression that if I complained or cried, Riley or someone might help me. Kind of how a young girl might cry to her dad to come and chase the monsters away at 2am (only I was 20 years old). After a few weeks onboard I quickly learned that there was no time for such nonsense and I just dealt with each situation as best I should. When the weather is bad, sometimes I have to run out in the rain fully clothed and pull the sails down. No one is going to do it for me. I feel like I could do anything now. A road block is only a road block if you let it be. I basically learned how to “get sh*t done!”.
Advice for parents wanting to travel with babies or children...
I don’t think I’m in any place to give out this kind of advice just yet. But Lenny is 6 weeks old right now and he’s already been on 2 flights, a fishing trip and a roady.. so I guess I could say one thing. I think you’ve gotta just do it! (here I am with my ‘Get Sh*t Done’ attitude again… haha). It would have been so easy for us to have stayed indoors on so many occasions because Lenny was screaming his head off, or he was doing something else rather inconvenient that new borns do. But someone we met told us before I gave birth not to change our lifestyles too much because of him, and instead to let him adapt to our lives as they are. We have really put this to the test and we’ve become so much more confident as parents and we’re keen to take him anywhere. However, if anyone has tips on how to not feel embarrassed when your child is screaming in public please let me know. I still can’t stop the rosey cheeks from making an appearance!
Your favourite place you’ve travelled to and why?
It’s so hard to say, I definitely have a few. But today I’m going to say Los Roques. An Archipelago of islands above Venezuela. They’re mostly deserted with the bluest water and white sandy beaches. The coral and sea life is something to see and we spent more time wet than dry. The only town on the main island is covered in colourful traditional beach shacks and you can go out to one of the two restaurants for fresh ceviche and a mojito for under $10. The locals welcome you into their homes and treat you as family. I get such a good feeling in my heart when I think about the time we got to spend in Los Roques!
Lenny brings the fun to our family...
He’s only new, but he has just taken over our lives in the best way possible. We spend the whole day laughing at him. His innocence is so beautiful and he brings us endless fun and joy. There is not much routine in our days right now other than a morning coffee together as a family (Lenny get’s the boob). That’s all we can manage right now, the rest of the day is usually mayhem.
A day in the life
I LIVE… in the now, and not tomorrow. Or at least, it's a conscious effort to try!
I AM CURRENTLY READING… Waking Up by Sam Harris
I OFTEN FIND MYSELF COOKING… Oatmeal
I’M LISTENING TO… John Lennon (can you guess where the inspiration for our Childs name came from?)
I CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT… Riley and Lennon. They’re the loves of my absolute life. It hurts my heart just thinking about them hahaha I think that might also have to do with my rollercoaster of hormones lately but whatever, they’re just the best.
Thanks Elayna for sharing your incredible and adventurous journey with us. We hope little Lenny will love sailing the world with you! xx Nb