Gratitude List 2020

We’re all looking forward to putting the political schizophrenia and the suffering the global pandemic of 2020 has caused in the rear view mirror. And I know I’m not the only one who feels the sadness and isolation and loneliness, and the freefloating fear (of the unknown, of the virus, of other people etc), and the never-endingness, and the “unpresedentedness” of 2020 has been a painful slog.

But, reflecting on 2020 (like I do every year) has been healthy for me because it not only reminds me that everything…absoultly everything…changes. And eventhough most of 2020 has felt like a Dystopian Groundhog Day, I find life is so much richer (and honestly easier to bear during the inevitable hard parts) when I focus on all that I have to be grateful for.

And just so you know, living a gratitude-based life was hardly my idea! In fact, I was taught to cultivate gratitude by some very wise people who helped me (and continue to help me) recover from some pretty significant challenges in my life. In fact, gratitude is a skill much more than a virtue for me. But, I’ve found the effort required to celebrate the people and things and events and lucky breaks I expierence requires hardly any effort as all…once I get started. And needless to say, the gratitude I feel for my job that brings me all over the world to write about superyachts and luxury travel is even more profound after being grounded for most of 2020. However, I had no idea what was coming in January before the world locked down.

The Big Island of Hawaii

I knew Hualālai was special from the moment I arrived, although tired and jet lagged after a long flight from the mainland. But, as soon as I stepped out of my taxi at the welcoming entrance of the Four Seasons Resort, I felt like I was home. And as I would soon come to learn, that was no accident.


Anyone who loves Hawaii knows each island is unique. For some, Maui’s beaches, surfing, and world-class resorts represent the ultimate vacation destination, while others are attracted to the volcanic power of the Big Island, or even the cosmopolitan hustle and bustle of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.

But none of those islands are quite like the lush and low-key island of Kauai. And that’s just one of the reasons Kukui’ula on the South Shore of Kauai is so special.

This ultra high-end residential community is centered on a robust private resort, which includes a large central clubhouse, golf, ocean adventures, a working farm, a spa, and superlative dining, shopping, and entertainment. But nothing compares to some of the ocean view lots they have available—except for maybe the architecture.


I love origin stories. Like imagining what it was like to be one of Apple Computer’s first employees. Or what it was like to see a soon-to-be-famous band just before they get “discovered.” But I think the best origin stories are the ones that glorify the golden days of beachfront destinations before they became “destinations.” Like Hawaii in the 50’s, or Malibu in the 60’s, or the Caribbean in the 70’s or… Cabo San Lucas in the late 80’s-early 90’s.

Brittish Virgin Islands

I cried like a baby when our son was born. I bawled my eyes out when he rode his bike without training wheels for the first time. And since I was a skier before I became a sailor, I burst into tears when our cute little begoggled-toddler rode a chairlift for the first time. In fact, that’s why I wear white sunglasses all the time—to hide all the blubbering!

But none of those tears of gratitude-inducing moments will ever compare to waterfall of emotion that washed over me when I witnessed our 7-year-old drive a RIB for the first time in the BVI last February.

The sun was hot. The air was soft. The water was BVI-tourist board blue. The mooring field at Manchioneel Bay on Cooper Island was crowded with charter boats. He and I had already done a couple of dingy training runs around the marina at the Sunsail charter base in Roadtown. And he’d helped me steer our ultra-comfortable Sunsail 454 catamaran in 20 knots of breeze across the Drake Channel the day before.


I have to admit, after 6 solid years of travelling all over the world, I was ready for a bit of rest. So when the world was thrust into the craziness of the coronavirus, and staying home was the “safest” thins we could do (for ourselves and others), I was pretty greatful to have some time at home. Not that it was all that restful since “Zoom School” and “being trapped at home” soon became a thing. Good thing we have a fireplace.

And good thing I had lots of wood to split. Man did that help with the freefloating anxiety.

And we did some “pandemic stockpiling.” Toilet paper was still the hardest thing to find because American’s are simply…crazy.

Toilet paper became so rare that I used it in my “art.”

But I can also say, it was pretty nice being able to sit in the sun with my family all at home too.

Escape to…the pool. Being able to swim in this amazing outdoor pool a short walk from our house took the sting out of lockdown too.


And being able to escape to Maine (and quarantine for 2 weeks) was another distraction we were all grateful for!

And boy was I grateful to be able to get some sailing days in as Fall approached.

Top Secret Bahamas

And then I got a phone call that put a whole new spin on the Fall…and beyond. I can’t go into too much detail now, however, I can say, I ended up taking my first comercial flight after lockdown in late October. And I must admit, it was kinda weird. But, my destination in the Bahamas (and meeting the people I met who’d be quarantined together in a very cool and remote place) was totally worth all the precautions I took to get there (and back) safely. As a result, I’m finally getting my dive certification…

and fishing like a madman too…

And gonna be doing a lot more down there too. So I’m gonna stay safe, stay tuned and stay grateful!


And I hope you will too.

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