Gratitude List 2018


The older I get, the more grateful I get. And part of the reason why I’m getting more grateful (apart from the simple fact that I have more freedom, and peace, and adventures, and…stuff) is because, about 25 years ago, I was taught the power of cultivating gratitude by some pretty wise and funny and remarkable people. And I’m still learning.

So, while you’ll see there’s lots of “luxury travel” on this list. I certainly didn’t start out as a “luxury traveller.” In fact, my writing career started when I’d sailed to the island of Antigua (as a deckhand on a yacht) but didn’t have enough money to get home when we arrived. I ended up living on an abandoned boat in the mangroves in English Harbour. And I’m so grateful I did…

But enough about that. And instead of telling you all the myriad ways I’m grateful for my beautiful wife and our little one, I’m going to stick to the journalistic side of the 2018 list.

Returning To Our Beloved Barbuda

Returning to the special place we were married on Barbuda after it was completely destroyed by Hurricane Irma reminded us, yet again, to remember what is important.

It’s only fitting to start this year’s list with the trip we made to the devastated island of Barbuda since there is no more special island for us. We were married at the Coco Point Lodge in 2007 and have come to love the island, and more importantly, the people of Barbuda since then.

…but, this was not one of my normal lux-travel stories (in spite of the fact that I’ve just returned from visiting Barbuda during a weeklong crewed yacht charter from The Moorings).

And after spending several days with the people of Barbuda (and being one of the lucky few who’s experienced Barbuda’s special charms anchored off it’s pink sand beaches and at the now totally destroyed Coco Point Lodge first hand), I hope to help by sharing their story of destruction and the inspired grassroots efforts would help these kind people.

This is simply because the fate of the nearly 2,000 native Barbudian’s that were devastated by the terrible destruction of their homes, schools, churches, and boats caused by Hurricane Irma is more important than other more luxurious endeavors—at least for now.

Fist Bumping The World’s Best Sailors

And I was there, (and had dinner with Peter Burling and Blaire Tuke) thanks to a generous invite from Omega Watches.

Tough is the only word to describe the sailors and race boats taking part in the Volvo Ocean Race that recently concluded its only American stopover in Newport, Rhode Island.

Cycling With Tour De France Legends

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

I’m extremely grateful that my work brings me to beautiful places where I often sailcycle, and hang out on superyachts and in luxury hotels with interesting and influential people. And sharing their stories, and loves, and passions, and insights, and humor (and sometimes mine too) with you kind readers means the world to me. But after participating in the Best Buddies ChallengeHyannis Port recently, my whole concept of gratitude and service and friendship and community has been energized in ways I was not expecting. And better than that, by participating in the Best Buddies fund raising ride from Boston to Cape Cod, I joined in with a talented and committed organization who are really making a difference for people who have big hearts, and lots to give, in addition to having intellectual and developmental disabilities. In fact, the Best Buddies Hyannis Port Challenge is probably the most inclusive exclusive event I’ve ever attended.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

…amazing shot was taken yesterday after I’d spent about 4 hours interviewing Gabby Reece and Laird Hamilton (at the special site of the house they are building in Kauai and in their sauna and ice bath too) for a story I’m writing for @oceanhomemag. It’s amazing because it shows exactly what I saw: they are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. Gabby is in her late 40’s! Laird is 54. They are accomplished, and influential, and super fit and famous. They inspire lots of people to get out and experience the wonder of the world, and to eat right, and exercise, and take risks and take care of each other. And they’re totally fun. I usually go for the fist-bump selfie in these situations, but since I’m 5’9” (they are both 6’3”) and we’d just got out of the ice, and I’m shirtless and have winter white skin and cyclist arms, I said, “I want to be in the middle looking like a badass.” Then Laird who was generous with his time, honest attention, and hospitality says “you”ll have to do more than stand next to us” in a smiling, direct and good natured way that was hilarious, and awesome and right on the money!

Playing Golf With Don Cheadle In Hawaii!!!


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

Kohanaiki is one of the newest private residential communities on the Big Island of Hawaii. And as I found out during a visit that included a round of golf on its Rees Jones-designed golf course, it’s also one of the most exclusive. Since only club members are allowed to play on the immaculate yet relaxed course, and club membership includes a healthy number of VIPs, my all-too-kind playing partners were not surprised when Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle joined our group on the back nine.

Returning To My Beloved London To Monaco Ride Part Trois!

I write about super yachts, ultra-exclusive coastal homes, and luxury travel in my day job so, at first blush, writing about a trip that’s brought me and a passionate group of cyclists from Calais on the shores of the English channel to the gritty town of Roubaix in Northern France may seem a bit out of character.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

But the irony is, there may not be a more “exclusive” event that leads up to the Monaco Yacht show simply because the number of royals, A-list celebrities, members of the super yacht community, and companies that have donated significant time, talent and money to help the Blue Marine Foundation continues to grow.

Hanging With The Prince In Monaco

As one of the lucky 7-day riders who experienced the all joy, headwinds, humor, hunger, and most of all, the meaningful community that formed on our week-long romp through 8 countries, the stiff TAILWIND we enjoyed all the way from our resort hotel in Loano, Italy to the Prince’s Palace in Monaco had a special meaning.

David Churchill

Of course, we were all tired. But the 20-knot tailwind that was literally blowing us to the finish took the sting out of those last kilometers.

Monaco Yacht Show!

It was amazing to finish the London to Monaco ride and jump right into “luxury land” as usual. But getting aboard the 5 largest yachts at the show such as DAR (pictured below)

and Illusion Plus (pictured below).

In fact I thought I was in lux overload…until…

Tahiti: The Brando

There may be no better introduction to the seductive power of French Polynesia than to begin at The Brando on the Tahitian atoll of Tetiaroa.

And while these photos do somewhat capture some of the mesmerizing colors at this wonderfully exclusive resort that I’ve been invited to write about for Ocean Home Magazine.

I’m still looking for the words to describe the peace, solitude, privacy and the soothing soul of the place. But the photos are a good place to start.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

Of course, you might imagine that anyplace that has its own private plane to whisk lucky VIP’s away to a remote atoll off the much more populated Island of Tahiti would be peaceful and oh so luxe. But what really captivated me about the Brando was the soul of the place. The place, and the people have soul. And as you can see..amazing bathrooms.

Tahiti: Grand Prix Pacifique des Jeux

For most of us, the swaying palm trees, intoxicatingly iridescent blue water, white sand beaches, and warm people of Tahiti and other South Pacific islands define “paradise.” And anyone who’s ever swam in Bora Bora’s famous lagoon in person, or stayed at one of the ultra-luxe, over-water villa resorts the island is known for will agree, IT IS paradise. Add the fact that Tahiti is only an 8-hour Air Tahiti Nui flight from Los Angeles and you might think it couldn’t get any better.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

But that was only a taste of Tahiti’s special charm. I soon realized that sailing aboard a fully crewed Tahiti Yacht Charters catamaran from Tahiti to Bora Bora, and being an active spectator in the inaugural running of the Grand Prix Pacifique des Jeux (an innovative, high performance trimaran race circuit between the islands) turned out to be even more exclusive (in a way) than relaxing at a private resort that caters to the likes of Barack Obama, Lady Gaga and other A-Listers.

Bahamas: Bakers Bay Via Sea Plane

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

Bakers Bay in the Abacos is simply off. the. hook! Stay tuned to for the upcoming story.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Bill Springer (@billyswizzle) on

Just imagine what 2019 is going to be like!

Written By
More from Bill Springer
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *