I’m not a big YouTuber, but a couple years ago a friend introduced me to an Australian couple’s YouTube journey around the world while living on a sailboat. I was immediately hooked. With over one million subscribers, Elayna Carausu and Riley Whitelum, otherwise known as Sailing La Vagabonde, have developed a unique following throughout their seven years of living on a boat. I’ve come to realize that their success is based not only on the “dream” life they live, but also because of their incredible social media presence.
I was initially intrigued to their YouTube videos for a variety of reasons. I love their accents, the background music, the beauty of the places they travel to, their calm aura, the simple life they live and how connected they are to the earth. Elayna and Riley dropped their careers, left home, hopped on a sailboat and began creating content while traveling throughout the world. Each video shows them catching fish to eat that day, snorkeling and free diving, exercising on the boat, talking about their travels and giving advice to others raising a child on a sailboat. They’ve developed genuine relationships with other sailors and often feature them in their videos. One of my favorites was when they sailed with Greta Thunberg across the North Atlantic Ocean for 19 days.
After watching video after video, I began exploring their Instagram accounts and other content. Much of their success comes from the way they manage their social media channels and connect with their audience. Primarily, Elayna and Riley post YouTube videos weekly. None are the same as they are constantly traveling and up to something new. Followers know when their videos will be posted because they’ve been doing it consistently for years now. In addition, they provide useful, easy-to-access information for sailors like a sailing guide and specific products they use to maintain their boat. They interact with the community by doing Q&As, welcoming fans on their boat and talking about climate change. Because they are supported by patrons who donate to their brand, Elayna and Riley show their appreciation by connecting with their audience in genuine ways.
Sailing La Vagabonde remains my favorite YouTube channel because of the ways in which it effectively connects with its audience, gives back to the community, provides useful information to other sailors, speaks about critical topics and promotes a unique way of living.