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Riley Side photo with baseball cap

Just a boat living, pint sipping, gluten eating, good time seeking, beard growing dude. Meet Riley Paterson, our first United & Free Brand Connector. One afternoon with this guy, and his carefree state of mind will transfer itself to yours. He’ll have you in stitches as he tells you stories of his adventures overseas … ask about “that time in Thailand..."
28, and living on a cruiser, moored outside of Vancouver, British Columbia, Riley is working to set himself up for a life of freedom. He’s currently in the “unknown” in terms of a “career,” and it’s evident that Riley is willing to do what it takes to make a living without losing his soul.
We caught up with Riley, and learned a little more about his life, where he’s from, and where he’s cruising to.

 Riley standing on a bridge
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Charlottetown, PEI, an OG East Coaster like Brandon and Kaleena, and fellow Brand Connector, Lacey Koughan.
What was your childhood like?
Wait? I'm not a child anymore? Shit. Well, when I was younger, my parents and I lived overseas because of my Dad’s job. He worked as a Superintendent for a construction company. I was fortunate to go to a private school in Hong Kong for a bit, and being one of maybe three white kids in the entire school was pretty cool. I distinctly remember, us singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” in the mornings before class would start. It was different than “Oh Canada” that’s for sure, but I think they’ve got it figured out there. We moved back to Canada, and I finished elementary and high school in Walnut Grove -- better known as Dub G to the locals. Ha.
Thanks for the permission to come aboard! Can you tell us how you came to become the proud Captain of this 35’ Chris Craft Catalina Cruiser?
To be honest, it was a pretty split second decision. I kind of always knew I wanted to eventually live some sort of alternative lifestyle. I bounced around the idea of doing the whole #vanlife thing, but I always really wanted to live on a boat full time. Then my parents came home one day, and said they were selling their house, and moving onto their own boat. This definitely got my wheels turning. After seeing just how simple and relaxing it is living on the water, I knew it was for me. There was a boat for sale at the marina my parents lived at, which I had my eye on for months. People started to show interest in it, and I began to see my opportunity of living on a boat fading away. Then I thought, fuck it, and I bought the boat, packed up my apartment in the West End, got rid of about 90% of everything I owned, and here we are.
Riley's boat sitting at dock
Is the boat a fixer-upper? What projects do you have in store for this beauty?
The boat is actually in really good shape. The only thing I want to do is modernize the interior of it a bit. It had a total 70's vibe going on when I first got it. She's coming along though, slowly but surely. Another top priority is figuring out how to install a full keg and beer tap. Suggestions?
Riley drinking a beer
When and where is the first place you’ll cruise to?
That’s the burning question. I'm aiming for Spring time. Living on the West Coast of Canada, we have so much to see in our own backyard. I really want to spend some time exploring the Gulf Islands. Who knows, Alaska?
You talk about wanting to make a living without losing your soul. What does that lifestyle look like?
I just want to wake up each morning knowing what I'm doing is actually making me happy. I know, it’s super cliché, but it’s true. We live in such a crazy time, where the internet and social media are allowing people to live out whatever dreams they have, and actually make a solid income. All I know, is that come Spring, I’ll be cruising and documenting along the way!

Riley taking a photo wearing United and Free's snapback baseball hat
Your Instagram stories are hilarious … clearly you’ve got a few comedic bones in your body. What comedians do you love? Would you ever do stand up comedy?
Haha! I wish I had the guts to get up on stage. Maybe one day, who knows. I have to say Louis CK, Bill Burr, Bryan Callen, and Jim Jeffries are my favourite comedians right now.
What’s your go-to podcast?
Joe Rogan for sure. I have that playing almost all day in the background. Bill Burr’s is hilarious too.
What books are you reading?
Man’s Search for Meaning and Sailing Alone Around the World.
Two books on a counter top
What keeps you up at night?
Knowing there is a gang of raccoons, creeping around my boat and planning an ambush. Other than that, I sleep like a baby. A bearded baby.
We’re not going to lie … it was your beard that initially attracted us to you and prompted us to reach out. When did you start growing it? What tricks do you have for keeping it so fresh and clean?
Well thank God having a beard and a Dad bod became cool for a bit, or else I think I would have been screwed. I'm sure if you dug up a Grade 8 picture, you could see my face forest already coming in full speed. I don't think I’ll ever get rid of it. I wash it everyday, and in between visits to my barber every few weeks, I keep it tight with United & Free Unity Shave Lotion. It’s like my own version of raising a child, except my beard doesn't keep me up all night crying. 

 Riley with united and free's products, shave lotion, body and face moisturizer, facial cleanser
What’s your spirit animal?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
That's tough to say. Either sailing around the world or appearing on an episode of Locked Up Abroad -- both fitting for epic stories.
What does “the free life” mean to you?
Life's short. Let’s not take this whole thing so seriously.
Riley sitting on the side of a bridge
Want to follow the adventures of Riley, his boat, and beard? Check him out on Instagram @icecoldpints, and yes he’s down to meet up for a pint or two!

Interview by: Liz Hammond

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