From Life at Sea to Fatherhood | Q&A with John Dunaway

We recently sat down with brand enthusiast, John Dunaway to pick his brain about topics ranging from life as a merchant mariner to becoming a dad and how that has changed his outlook on life.  Check out the whole story and be sure to take a look at what's on his list for Father's Day this year. 

BB: Tell us a little bit about your career as a merchant mariner

JD: My career has its earliest roots from a toy my dad gave me as a small kid. It was a tug and barge made simply from hardware store lumber, with nails at each end and some string so that I could attach them for towing purposes. Years later, when the concept that this was actually a paying career, I set off for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy aka Kings Point.

For the last 10 years, ships have taken me to over 35 countries in 6 continents delivering goods of all shapes and sizes to a range of ports from the most advanced to incredibly rudimentary in their nature. I have ridden on the back of motorcycles through West Africa to dining on some of the finest cuts of meat in Argentina. Sailing across the oceans as Captain of a cargo ship is one of the most rewarding experiences in my life, leading sailors to these locales with vast sums of cargo in the most professional manner possible.

BB: What sparked your passion and love for the outdoors?
JD: There was never a hesitation that time outside of school was going to spent within the walls of our home. My parents sent us out of the front door with two simple rules:

1. Watch out for your brother.

2. Be home before the street lights come on.

BB: Have you found ways to share this passion with your daughter? 
JD: My wife and I impart these same lessons upon Harper from the beginning. We start the morning by taking her on the back porch to look at the trees long before she had any sign of cognitive reasoning. Upon my last return from sea, we loaded up an RV for a 4100 mile roadtrip around the American West. Although she probably won’t recall the details, Harper visited 4 National Parks with us and even walked a 0.5 mile trail at Canyonlands jabbering her 15 month old language with a huge smile. As she grows, we’ll continue to expand her exposure so she can find her own value in the outdoors.

BB: What is one of the most valuable lessons you learned from your father and how has it presented itself throughout your life?
JD: “When you perform a task, you only do it once, to your fullest capability otherwise it was a waste of time.”

It established my respect for the effort put forth in any venture. I don’t consider anything to be “hard-work,” it’s just simply work because the level of completion has no other outcome. You do the job or you don’t. My dad made it clear that there will always be people out there whom are better, but you weren’t going to be forth less effort. Skill will come, effort is in your control.

BB: What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned from being a parent?
JD: That you must always lead by example. Children are a little sponge, absorbing their surroundings so they will be a direct reflection of your actions. Beyond that, you are always learning. Ditch the ego and keep your mind open.

BB: How has your life changed after becoming a father?

JD: There are far less wild excursions on a whim. I consider my decisions of risk far more because I am responsible to someone else now, just not myself anymore. In all of it, being a father is the greatest sense of responsibility one can be granted, one I do not take lightly.

BB: Any must have gifts on your Father’s Day list this year?

JD: Where do we begin? As summer is nearly upon us I have my eye on a few key pieces. The Anorak 2.0 is such a classic jacket to have in the query. Early mornings going fishing it knocks down the wind while a mid-afternoon shower beads right off the canvas. It rolls up nicely to be toted for any excursion. A trusty pair of the new 6 Point Shorts in Sanded Twill also packs a mean punch from the boat to a sunset cocktail. The cut is timeless, making them the definitive choice for spring or summer. Heck, I have a pair on right now.

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