A yacht for business, pleasure and leisure
Jamie Waller is juggling multiple businesses and a busy family life – but he says there’s no better place for it than a superyacht.
Jamie Waller has landed on the perfect name for his superyacht; Balance. After all, he has achieved the perfect work-life balance on board – juggling his numerous business ventures whilst exploring the world with a young family. It’s a lifestyle many would envy – and Waller is well aware of how blessed he is. “Every country I go to, I get this buzz of how amazing it is to be able to do this with my wife and children,” he says.
The family is currently exploring the Med and have ticked off six new countries this year alone. “I have conversations with my three year old now and they can tell me how to order a bill in Italian and how to say good morning in French,” he says. As Waller acknowledges, this is all a far cry from his own childhood, spent “cocooned on a housing estate in Bethnal Green.”
Today, the 39 year-old credits London children’s charity The Imps with much of his success. Waller joined at the tender age of five, and became one of the youngest members of the charity’s motorcycle display team, performing up and down the country for over a decade. “We’d be driving through places like Chelsea and all these other pretty neighbourhoods en route to our performances,” he says. “I’d sit gazing out of the window and it really opened my eyes and inspired me. It showed me there was a big world out there.”
Today, with a string of successful business ventures under his belt and his own charitable foundation, he has become one of The Imp’s main sponsors. “I realise now that one of the best things that happened to me as a child was getting into something where I was fully focused and not hanging out on the streets,” he says. Through his sponsorship, he hopes to help others in a similar way.
Waller finds similar focus on board Balance, where he has just written a book, Unsexy Business – about the appeal and potential of ordinary, ‘unsexy’ businesses. “It was inspirational writing the book in different locations and different boat environments,” he explains. “One day I might sit in the saloon brainstorming – another day I might do three hours up on the flybridge where it’s quiet. Some people just sit at one desk and type for 12 hours a day; I am not sure I could have done that.”
Whatever the task, Waller works late nights and early mornings to ensure that he is always ready for family time from 10am onwards. “I’m fortunate enough that my commitment is as an advisor and investor rather than a doer. As long as I have a phone or a laptop with me I can work,” he explains. As such, the family have settled on a schedule where they spend three out of four weeks every summer month on the yacht.
It’s a far cry from the lifestyle Waller feared would be thrust upon him when he had children. “One of the things that scared me about starting a family was the mundaneness of activities,” he admits. “So we agreed that if we did have children, we’d sail the entire Med with them before they turned five.”
One of the highlights for Waller was their very first crossing, sailing between Mallorca and Barcelona, but this year the French Riviera and Italy have also been vying for a place on the list of family favourites. “I taught my child to swim in quite frankly the most beautiful sea I’d ever witnessed in my life off the islands of Sardinia,” recalls Waller. “I get so much out of these experiences.”
The children aren’t yet at school age – but Waller already sees value in an early childhood spent at sea. “They visit a different park or playgroup in a different country every other day all summer long,” he says. “Going up to a bunch of Italian children at a beach playground and sharing your toys is far more challenging than a local playgroup where you see the same faces every day.”
Waller hopes that in years to come the kids will share his passion for the sea – and by the time they are 8 and 9 years old, he and his wife plan to take them across the Atlantic to see the other side of the world. “My ambition is that by the time they are 18 – we will have visited every safe country in the world with them,” says Waller. “To go through the Panama Canal with the children – that’s the big one.” Given the fact that they only picked up their latest yacht this August and have already completed 1100 miles around the Med, this is perhaps not an unrealistic goal.
Beyond the destinations themselves, Waller points to a special community that can only be found at sea. “The world is quite small when you’re sailing – you bump into the same people over and over again,” he says. “There are people just like me out there – people who have worked hard, made some money and are now planning to enjoy it with their family, children and friends.”