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Using Social Media Influence as a Multiplier for Charity- By Brian

Sailing across the Indian Ocean way back in 2015 we listened to a podcast about Tom’s Shoes.  This is one of our favorite indulgences on passage, and it’s a great way to pass the time while we lounge around half asleep to the gentle rocking motion of Delos.  One eye on the horizon and an ear tuned into whatever happens to be playing in the background. 

The on watch crew has control of the entertainment, and in this case we were on a marathon session of “How I Built This” by Guy Raz.  The podcast featuring Tom’s Shoes popped up and the story of creating a profitable business that could still have a positive impact on the world rung true with us.  Then and there we decided that we would try and use whatever social media influence we had to not only promote our project and way of living, but to also try and help those less fortunate than ourselves.

Based on these ideals, when we wrote our articles of incorporation for “The Delos Project” we decided to do a few things.  First off, we decided to use the money from our Buy us a Beer fund (some, but not all! Ha Ha.) to actually pass on the love and buy other people beers.  You have no idea how much fun it is to buy random strangers in a bar a round of beers.  They look confused at first, probably wondering “What do you have to profit from buying me a drink?  What do you want in return?”  

Eventually they smile and thank you, to which we reply “Don’t thank us, it’s a gift given to us by someone on the other side of the world.  All we ask is you enjoy the drink, and if possible do the same for someone else down the road.”  It’s a concept of paying it forward, and of course this often results in many more rounds and great conversation during which we do our best to explain our lifestyle, and how we support it by sailing around the world and making YouTube videos.

Even more important than buying random strangers drinks, we decided to set aside a percentage of any financial gain from The Delos Project and put the money towards ideals that focus on the areas of humanity and the environment.  In fact, here is a snippet from a document entitled “The Articles of Chagos” which we wrote in the middle of the Indian Ocean in the remote, uninhabited archipelago of Chagos.

Articles of Chagos

Drafted on August 13th, 2015

Karin Syren, Josje Leyten, Brian Trautman, Brady Trautman

Mission statement:

Delos is about inspiring people, about encouraging people to live in the now.  We hope by doing this others will take a few moments to relax from the typical rushed pace of life and consider just what a special planet we live on.  Just a small step back from the typical consumer lifestyle will have positive impact and healthy side effects on the planet and humanity in general.  It can be as small as giving someone a much needed break from the dreary work day, or as large as actually inspiring someone to do what’s necessary to live their dreams.  We intend to do this by giving people a glimpse via social media into an alternative lifestyle of sailing and traveling around the world.

So what do we want to accomplish with this?

First and foremost the purpose is to establish a sustainable lifestyle focused business that allows freedom, flexibility, and enough income to live comfortably.  We will then use this sustainable business to accomplish our mission.

I will spare you the legal mumbo jumbo we mostly copied from Legal Zoom to create an LLC in the US, however I think this excerpt from further on in the document is very poignant:

“…20% will be set aside for charities, donations, causes, and the future growth of the Delos Mission.  Of this half will go to charitable causes outside of Delos, the other half will be used for Delos charity and future growth of our project…”

So, from the onset of our project we built in a way to make sure we incorporated the concept of giving back and paying it forward.  We have been able to support many environmental and humanitarian efforts because of this, which brings me to what I actually wanted to talk about which is the completion of a very successful project we helped with in conjunction with Andy and Joanna from SV Bamba Maru, entitled “Sailing for a Smile”.  Their project focused on humanitarian and rebuilding efforts for those affected by the devastating hurricanes that recently struck the Caribbean.  They loaded their catamaran with relief supplies and personally delivered them to those affected by the natural disasters. 

The CALLS center in Dominica after the storm.

Recently they had focused their efforts on Dominica, a Caribbean island that was decimated by the ferocious hurricanes, and even more specifically for efforts to help schools and kids that had slipped through the cracks of the other larger relief programs.  For this project instead of simply giving a percentage of our proceeds we decided to try and use Social Media as a multiplier for that money.  We asked the Delos Tribe to match our money, promising that we would match any contributions made to this project 100% for the first $1,000.  In other words, if we got $1,000 in donations from the Delos Tribe we would kick in another $1,000 and double the efforts then donate 100% of that money.  Well, the Delos Tribe absolutely blew us out of the water!  We got hundreds of individual donations ranging in size from $1.00 to $500.00.  Using social media we  turned $1,000 into over $15,000 dollars!  If you’re interested here is the YouTube video that kicked off the project.

You might be wondering why not create custom, one-off shirts for such projects?  Certainly people are more likely to donate when they get something tangible in return.  We did in fact look into this but after a few calculations decided that given the cost of making and distributing custom shirts, especially if they are printed on demand, it’s very likely that most of the money would go to the printing and distribution of the shirts rather than to support the effort itself.  For example on our own Delos shirts we sell in our shop our profit margin is about 20% before fulfillment.   To raise the same money we did with direct donations we would have needed to sell $75,000 worth of shirts!

Andy and Joanna at the St. John’s Primary School in Dominica.

 

SV Bamba Maru was anchored in Dominica identifying specific schools that still had significant damage and were not receiving help from other organizations.  Our plan was to bypass some of the bureaucratic losses that unfortunately occur in some larger charity organizations and donate the money directly to the schools themselves.  This meant tracking down the school principals, discussing what work they required, and finally  getting the wire transfer information so we could wire the money directly to the school bank accounts.

 

Mahaut Preschool getting a new roof.

 

We decided to make many small donations, both so that we could ensure the money was being used properly, but also because we learned if money wired into a school account exceeded a certain amount it must be transferred to the Dominica school general fund.  At which point we would lose the ability to determine where and what the money was actually used for.  This also gave us the ability to donate directly to pre-schools and adolescent organizations that were outside of the government funded system, but still vital to the entire ecosystem.

 

The new kitchen in the CALLS center after repairs and new equipment.

 

No more rain in the MAHAUT preschool!

It took about 6 months, but using this method we were able to do major work on a number of buildings.  This work ranged from full roof replacements to structural repairs to window replacements.  In some cases we purchased kitchen equipment to get school cafeterias back in operation.  Who wants to learn on an empty stomach?  Not this guy!  The Delos Tribe even stepped up personally to deliver school supplies and sports equipment purchased in the US and delivered it by sailboat.

I would like to express my thanks to everyone that made this project successful by donating. You know who you are!  And especially to Andy and Joanna from SV Bamba Maru for doing the grunt work on the ground.  It wouldn’t have been possible otherwise!

Please check out the video below that Andy and Joanna put together that sums up the project!

Delos Tribe Courtney handing out school supplies in Dominica.

 

Delos Tribe Courtney handing out sports equipment in Dominica.

 

Well said sir, well said!

Season 3 – Crossing The Indian Ocean – YouTube Sailing Videos

Season 3 – Crossing The Indian Ocean – YouTube Sailing Videos

The crew is back together again! Brady and Josje finish their Super Yachts jobs and join Brian and Karin in Thailand to begin getting Delos ready for our most intense crossing yet- sailing across the mighty Indian Ocean! Our 3 newbies, Babs, Frida and Max had never sailed before. So this time in Thailand was our shake down cruise before the open ocean. The season starts with a major kink in the plans. During a routine rigging inspection we find some broken rigging strands and our entire rigging needs to be replaced. We’re quoted 1 month of work and $20,000 euros by a local rigger. We say to hell with that and decide to do the work ourselves. With Delos ship-shape we leave Thailand behind and set sail for the remote Andaman Island, actually part of India. We cruise the Andamans for a month meeting crazy local people, scuba diving, and actually anchor right under a live volcano. With the time pressing on we must leave the islands and set sail South and West to try and avoid the worst of the changing monsoon season. We find ourselves in the tropical paradise islands of Cocos Keeling and Chagos before finally ending up in Madagascar after 7 months and 7,000NM of hard core sailing. This season contains 47 YouTube Sailing Videos.

Youtube Sailing Videos – Sailing Around The World – Sailing Vessel Delos

Youtube Sailing Videos

A few years into our sailing adventure the cruising kitty ran dry, and we stopped sailing to work for a year in Australia.  A fellow cruiser gave us the idea to document our travels with YouTube Sailing Videos so we purchased a small camcorder and started making our own homemade sailing movies about our adventures Sailing Around The World.  To date we’ve published over 200 videos on sailing, scuba diving and traveling around the world by sailboat.  We’ve poured our heart and soul into them, and hope you enjoy watching as much as we did making them!  The videos are all FREE for you to enjoy!

We release a new YouTube Sailing Video every Friday, so be sure to subscribe!

 

Season 5 – Sailing The South Atlantic – YouTube Sailing Videos

Karin, Brady, and myself are sitting around chatting about the next season. We’ve done two laps in the Indian Ocean, and our next season will take us from Africa to South America and into the Caribbean. Karin mentions how it’s been a bit of a sausage fest on Delos lately, and how she would love to sail with more girls. Brady and I don’t have a problem with it so we decide to invite an international all-girl crew to join us. Elizabeth from England arrives first, followed by Lisa from Austria, and finally Alex from California. After getting Delos ship-shape and installing a new generator we leave South Africa and our beloved Cape Town behind. After a few days and about 750 NM of sailing we find ourselves anchored along the Skeleton Coast, Namibia. Delos is nestled amount massive sand dunes in a harsh but beautiful dessert. A few weeks of exploring amazing Namibia and we are set our sights on the big challenge- 5,000NM of sailing to reach our goal, the continent of South America and BRAZIL! We make port in St. Helena Island where the scenery and amazing hiking and scuba diving take our breath away. Next up is Ascension Island, a small speck of volcanic rock in the middle of the South Atlantic. We party at the local military base, Liz falls in love with a French Sailor, and we have some incredible scuba diving encounters with Galapagos sharks. Before we know it our time is up and the next stop is BRAZIL, which we reach after one of the chillest 16 day passages we’ve ever had. We explore the Brazilian coast making stops in Rio De Janeiro and before we know it 6 months has passed in Brazilian waters. Time to sail to the Caribbean!  This season contains over 50 YouTube Sailing Videos.

Season 4 – Madagascar Bound – YouTube Sailing Videos

After an amazing time exploring Cape Town the Delos Crew is fired up for our next adventure. For the past few months we’ve pondered our next plan. Should we wail across the Atlantic to Brazil and the Caribbean, or go back the tough way around the Cape of Good Hope and revisit the Indian Ocean for another lap. Over a few beers and sushi lunch we suddenly all decided “What the hell, why not go back to Madagascar?” Totally stoked with our plans we decided to run a crew competition where The Delos Tribe would submit videos. The theme- tell us “Who would make the best Delos Pirate” in 60 seconds or less. We got some amazing videos and chose a number of winners to join us this season. Our first crew was 100% South African, none with any major sailing experience. We leave Cape Town behind and set off on a grueling sail to La Reunion Island, nestled in the middle of the Southern Indian Ocean. We battle storm force winds and waves for weeks and finally make landfall. After exploring the remotest islands of the Indian Ocean we finally make landfall on the magical island of Madagascar, where we spend a few months sailing and diving the most remote places on this gigantic island. This season contains 36 YouTube Sailing Videos.

 

Season 3 – Crossing The Indian Ocean – YouTube Sailing Videos

The crew is back together again! Brady and Josje finish their Super Yachts jobs and join Brian and Karin in Thailand to begin getting Delos ready for our most intense crossing yet- sailing across the mighty Indian Ocean! Our 3 newbies, Babs, Frida and Max had never sailed before. So this time in Thailand was our shake down cruise before the open ocean. The season starts with a major kink in the plans. During a routine rigging inspection we find some broken rigging strands and our entire rigging needs to be replaced. We’re quoted 1 month of work and $20,000 euros by a local rigger. We say to hell with that and decide to do the work ourselves. With Delos ship-shape we leave Thailand behind and set sail for the remote Andaman Island, actually part of India. We cruise the Andamans for a month meeting crazy local people, scuba diving, and actually anchor right under a live volcano. With the time pressing on we must leave the islands and set sail South and West to try and avoid the worst of the changing monsoon season. We find ourselves in the tropical paradise islands of Cocos Keeling and Chagos before finally ending up in Madagascar after 7 months and 7,000NM of hard core sailing. This season contains 47 YouTube Sailing Videos.

Season 2 – Sailing Through SE Asia – YouTube Sailing Videos

After sailing from Australia to Indonesia the Delos Crew finds themselves in the waters of The Philippines! We where supposed to stay there for 2 months, but sailing is this part of the world can become addictive. We loved it so much we stayed for 8 months, and the 7,107 islands of The Philippines took our breath away! We start out by exploring the city of Davao and attending a marine university to get our STCW 95 certifications. The Delos crew then set sail north to the heart of the Visayas islands finding secluded diving and surfing spots literally all over the place. Our funds are running low from months of sailing so Brady and Josje leave Delos to put their new STCW certificates to work as Super Yacht crew. Brian and Karin carry on north experiencing all this incredible country has to offer. We work our way up to Manila before heading south and sailing to the amazing Palawan region to SCUBA dive some of the most incredible WWII wrecks we have ever seen. We get lost in this area for weeks at a time just snorkeling, diving, and enjoying time along and best of all being naked for weeks on end 🙂 This season contains 19 YouTube Sailing Videos.

Season 1 – Sailing The Great Barrier Reef and Indonesia – YouTube Sailing Videos

This season is where we really decided to put some effort into our filming and editing, and I hope you will notice the improvements in the Sailing Videos and Sailing vlogs in this playlist! After a year of working in Australia the crew is ready to set sail again! We start out the season with 20 solid days of boat work to get Delos out of her moth balls and ready to sail. When our work is complete we start heading north, sailing and scuba diving along the Great Barrier Reef. After nearly two months of sailing we have rounded the northern tip of Australia and make a brief stop in Darwin. Our next passage is to Indonesia! Brian, Karin, Brady, Josje, Brady, and Nina leave Australia in their wake and set sail for the Spice Islands of Indonesia. Indonesia is fantastic and the crew does some amazing Scuba Diving in the fabled Raja Ampat Island, gets escorted to a holy cave, gets lost and sails an entire day to the wrong island, and meet a local guide that shows us Ternate, the sultans island. This season contains 23 YouTube Sailing Videos.

Season 0 – Sailing The South Pacific – YouTube Sailing Videos

The beginning of our Sailing Around The World Filming Adventure! We decided to call this Season 0, because these videos are so much different than the current ones. This was a time before we really started putting effort into our normal sailing vlog and sailing video series. In this series The Delos Crew (Brian, Brady, and Erin) leave Mexico and set sail across the Pacific Ocean. It was a huge jump, about 3,200 NM and took us about 19 days. That’s a loooong time out on the open ocean! 🙂 We make landfall in French Polynesia and decide explore the incredible islands of the South Pacific! So many untouched beautiful spots hidden everywhere! We found ourselves emerged in local cults, naked on top of volcanoes and drinking at least 20 other men’s spit. This season contains 15 YouTube Sailing Videos.

Heavy Weather Sailing – Sailing in Storms

We’ve sailed across the Pacific Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean. Most of them more than once! During our 70,000 miles at sea we’ve seen some heavy weather. In this playlist you’ll find videos of Delos and her crew doing what they do best when the wind starts blowing and the waves start building.

How To Keep a Sailboat Ship-Shape!

This is a series on the inner workings of a sailboat. Here you will find videos about how we keep the systems ship shape on Sailing Vessel Delos. Videos on Electronics, Navigation, Mechanical Repairs, and so on. I hope you learn something, I sure as hell did! Capt. Brian

Avoiding Storms with Modern Weather Routing

How do you cross an ocean using the winds and currents to your advantage? We cover this topic and talk about some of the modern forecasting and communication that is available on sailboats.

Scuba Diving Around The World

If you are a Scuba Diver, then this is for you! This playlist is a collection of the incredible dive sites we’ve visited including the Great Barrier Reef, Raja Ampat in Indonesia, the Philippines, The Indian Ocean, Madagascar, South Africa, The South Atlantic, Brazil, and many other places. We also discuss how we run a mini dive shop off SV Delos.

Sailing at 18 KNOTS down the WILD COAST of South Africa! SV Delos Sailing Ep. 102

After chilling out in Richards Bay waiting for a good weather window to sail south we finally get what we’ve been waiting for! 30 + knots of wind, 5+ knots of current and some big seas rocket us south along the Wild Coast of South Africa! Brian has to visit the local Dr. because of a strange bite on his hand, and we set sail once again to continue our passage! View More