We Are Sailors

Today is sort of our anniversary—which we celebrate from July 1 (Canada Day), through July 4 (Independence Day), to July 6, which is the date we actually had a wedding. In honor of this, the Adventurer wrote this week’s blog:


“Dad, why don’t we have a sailboat?” This is how my 4 year old greeted me one morning this week. I kind of felt bad that we don’t have a boat right now, considering all this started because I said yes to a race.

The fearless crew of Night Train. Adventurer, second from the right. MYLIFELIST FILE PHOTO

You see, nine years ago today, I sailed into Marblehead, Mass., aboard the C&C 40.2 tall rig Night Train. It was a tougher-than-usual delivery, with fog our constant companion as we sailed from Saint John, New Brunswick. After we cleared customs, we found ourselves a good pub awaiting us, Maddies Sail Loft on State Street.

Maddies Sail Loft is on the list of top sailor bars in the world. MYLIFELIST FILE PHOTO

The place is a must for any sailor doing the Marblehead-Halifax Ocean Race. For that week, it is alive with sailors getting ready to race. After a few cleansing rums, I noticed a very pretty girl in a black dress (not normal sailor bar gear) and soon I was sitting next to her. She was there after the funeral of a great aunt but found herself drawn to our adventure and laughter, so I introduced her to Mount Gay rum and My Life List.

That moment nine years ago changed my life list forever. Having just launched the social network, I was quite the cheerleader for finding awesome experiences. But one thing I believed was that life must be better shared. And this girl was the one I was going to share it with.

My wife is also known as Tickets, an Australian expression that indicates confidence, as in “selling tickets to my own show.” Here she is driving into San Diego. PHOTO BY BILL STARR

We were engaged two years later, (VIDEO PROOF: she said yes swinging from the mast). We married two years after that and I became a Bonus Dad to Radar. A year later, the Captain joined our family. We moved three times, ran a few businesses and had some far-too-rushed vacations. Hardly the shared life either of us dreamed of.

I’m sure many couples just survive the hustle of raising kids and move forward one school year after another. But my wife—she remembers the sailor in the bar and what I said nine years ago. She boldly declared that she would not let us forget what we both dreamed of. She re-launched MyLifeList and we are now planning multiple journeys with the kids. Radar, 15, even decided she would absolutely jump from the world’s highest bungee if I went with her. (Yikes, I thought once was enough.)

My wife kicked the housecat outside and now our whole family is going to benefit from this new mind-set.

And in case we ever need a reminder, there is always the Captain. “Hey Dad, let’s go outside in the rain. It can’t hurt us. We’re sailors!”

Bill Starr is a Boston-based Canadian chartered accountant and lifelong adventurer. With his journalist wife, Shelagh, he chronicles the crazy stuff his family gets up to in their quest to find the awesome. Come along. #mylifelist #findwhatmatters

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Read more about our story at MyLifeList.org

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