It is March 30th, 2018 and exactly one year ago I was on a flight half way across the world from my home state of California towards Cape Town, South Africa. The year since then has surely been one of the most challenging and therefore beautiful of my life. For months, I have been contemplating about how to write down what it has meant to me- a grand summation of all I have learned about the earth and myself… but every time I begin brainstorming, my mind gets lost folding into a million different thought patterns. So, in this final moment and in true Delos style, a few rums deep, I will do my best to make it short and sweet.
What are the major moments and lessons that stick out to me after having spent a full year living, sailing and working aboard SV Delos? I suppose the first thing that keeps popping into my head is that we crossed the entire Atlantic Ocean with nothing but the wind in our sails. Something I didn’t even know was possible, probably because the thought had never even crossed my mind. But you can imagine the plethora of lessons and epiphanies that come along with that journey. All of which seem to tie back to the stunning reality of all that can be discovered with a sailboat. The far off places it will undoubtedly lead you, the camaraderie that comes from learning to be crew, the things it teaches you about the sky and ocean, the way it changes the way you look at the world in its entirety. These are lessons that I will carry with me through life, and will always get a bit welly eyed when I think about how much Delos has anchored herself in my heart.
We met a couple on the beach the other day who I think summed up living on a boat quite well, in that there are only extreme highs and extreme lows without much balance in between. I have to agree that this year has been just that for me, with many highs- like setting sail out of Cape Town with a group of strangers that would become my family, filming dolphins from the bow off the dune filled coast of Namibia, time traveling in St. Helena, diving with sharks in Ascension, falling in love with Brady in Brasil, and landing in the Caribbean just in time for Carnival and the best party of my life. But I have also struggled immensely with being half a world away from friends and family, being the rookie sailor, suddenly putting my personal life in front of hundreds of thousands of people, and stepping out from behind the camera to be in front of it. I have faced brutal moments of intense self-doubt, straight up failures, judgements from strangers and many emotions on the spectrum in between. But from all of that, something quite special occurred within me. I learned the things about myself that I wanted to change in order to grow into a better person, versus the things that, no matter how much anybody didn’t like or misunderstood about me, I wouldn’t change for a million bucks. It’s a fine line and an artful balancing act, but it feels dang good to know the difference.
Which leads me to what actually brought to me Delos. My compass, my best friend, my voice unto the world – My Camera. When I look back through the last year at all my camera has seen, I feel so very proud. Proud of how my Blue Vue has evolved to capture many diverse aspects of this life. It’s no longer just beautiful sunsets or snow peaked mountains that get me excited, but it is now the spark in a child’s eye or the story filled lines in an ancient person’s brow that inspire me. It is no longer enough to only focus on the endless beauty of paradise but now to focus my eye on capturing how marvellous broken down or seemingly boring things can be too. My favorite part about it all is how the relationship with my camera is never stagnant, it’s always evolving and challenging me to look at things, people and places in a fresh perspective. No doubt, the ever-changing landscape from the bow of Delos has provided me with an incredibly rich soil in which to grow these skills.
I truly believe that you are a reflection of the things you choose to surround yourself with. People are so easily morphed and influenced, it’s one of the dangerous yet incredible things that makes us human. So, to find myself in the middle of an ocean surrounded by waves, clouds and flying fish, I couldn’t help but smile at the clarity of my mind. No billboards, no ads, no frustrating traffic or cell phones ringing. No meetings to be late to. Just me, and whatever I wanted to focus my thoughts on. This love for the ocean grows exponentially each time I slip into her waters and am humbled by the chance to experience an entirely separate world that seems to be out of sight, out of mind for most people. I have seen first-hand the consequences that human actions have had on this environment where both our past and future lie. And so, I have made a personal vow to never again take anything out of the ocean and to attempt to share its beauty with others in the hope they may grow to feel the same way.
I think one of biggest changes for me in the dynamic of it all, has been learning how to transform from an independent individual to a crew member. Having worked for myself for the last six years, traveled mostly solo, and always prided myself on doing my own thing- I’ve never really had to consider other peoples opinions that weren’t on the same page as me. Then I found myself living on a 53-foot boat with six other people from different countries, cultures, religions, and family backgrounds- and I quickly had to learn to care. To train myself to not judge, to not take things personally, and to constantly remind myself that my opinion is solely my opinion and that my truths are not absolute. And in return for my efforts, I have learned so incredibly much from my crew mates and for that I love them each in very unique ways.
One of the things that I appreciate most about Karin, Brian and Brady- is the integrity in which they have earned and continue to run the Delos Project. It would have been quite easy for them to sell out in countless ways for a quick buck- but instead they have chosen to create their own rules and do what makes them happy. To see how many people this has inspired, is absolutely mind blowing to me. I cannot count how many people we’ve met that proudly admit Delos is a huge part of the reason they are out cruising. There are heaps of incredibly personal and sincere messages that come in daily about how the videos brighten people’s hospital days or have helped them through hard times. I always say that ‘people just want something to believe in’, and in some miraculous way, Delos has provided an alternative ideology for people to throw their hearts into. And how so? Simply by proving to people the magic that occurs when you do what you love, do it every day, and have the guts to toss the lines to a pre-fabricated life and write your own destiny.
It seems appropriate now to end with a quote from a journal entry that I wrote exactly one year ago on a plane flight over the Atlantic Ocean…
“It’s a powerful thing when you find your people, the ones you share a dream with, a like mindedness that you can’t even begin to explain to a person who doesn’t share the same vision. I think this may be one of my favorite moments of traveling- the very beginning. When you look at yourself and know that along the journey something inside you will change. You will understand the world in a way that your current mind cannot fathom, meet people that will challenge your heart to grow, and witness places that the most creative imagination could not whip up on its best day.
So, cheers to living no normal life, to keeping faith in the dream, to making a plan and breaking it, and to listening when the universe is calling your name.”
Mad mad love to the Tribe for supporting Delos in such an impressive and heartfelt manner, and for allowing me be a part of the journey <3