Get out there with adventure tips from the guys at Just Like Papa
Snap your laptop shut, log off, check out. Now stick a pin in the map and go there. Take your time taking a time out... Because it's by venturing into the unknown that we not only discover a new place, we find ourselves.
This is according to two friends, Thomas Ferreira and Davide Locatelli Rossi, normal dudes who while drinking whisky had the epiphany that they'd never be the men that their fathers and grandfathers were. They decided to do something about it, and with soft hands turning more calloused as the call of the wild lures them into new adventures they've since inspired other men to do the same.
Just Like Papa pays homage to their mentors and heroes, has the gear that allows them to get out there and celebrates heritage, craftsmanship and doing it yourself instead of getting someone else to do the dirty work for you.
If you feel you'll end the year by taking a baseball bat to the office printer, then not only will Just Like Papa help you to pick the perfect baseball bat, but can advise as to where you should take your severance pay.
Which is why we rolled up our sleeves to chat with the guys who "live, breathe, eat, sleep, fist bump, high five, air punch adventure" in order to share with you the tips you need so that instead of ordering another cocktail at the poolside bar this summer, you might enjoy a flask of single malt under the stars instead. (If you'd like to know how to drink your own urine like Bear Grylls does, keep it moving tough guy, nothing to see here).
Thomas: I'm The Landscape Hunter and have travelled to Patagonia, New Zealand and a large chunk of my work comes from the states and South Africa. I'll do the Pan American highway in December. I want to travel and I'm a photographer so the two work perfectly together. It's not just for the photo. I'll camp and explore little towns and have fun. The photo gives you a reason to get out there. Google Earth is my starting point. I'll plot a loose route and leave everything up to chance. Just drive, waiting for the shot.
Davide: My grandad was an Alpinist, the president of a mountaineering club and a few routes have been opened in his name. I treasured those boyhood hikes I enjoyed with him in the Alps where he'd teach me about everything around us. Those mountains have history and were also where he fought a great war. I learned so much.
Thomas: You're vulnerable in the elements, at the mercy of everything, and that vulnerability opens you up. There's cold or heat or whatever's out there wants to kill you… and that vulnerability allows you to open up and learn more.
Davide: We find that most of our eureka moments happen when we're a couple of hours out of town. Some place where there's no reception and you can't use your phone because you're out of range. You kind of dim the volume of whatever noise is inside your head.
Davide: Wherever I am I need the comfort of coffee. Different places call for different types of coffee. So you need a plunger and a moka pot. Then you might want to make a pasta, so you need some pots and pans. I have a catering box... You got to have it. The other day on the dunes we had vacuum packed Prosciutto di Parma straight from Parma and Parmigiano from Italy, using my grandfather's ancient salame knife. My luxury is a type of pleasure. Whether I'm in Namibia or Mozambique or the Karoo, it's having those rituals that allows me to experience my surroundings more.
Thomas: I prefer to travel light. It takes Davide two hours to unpack camp, folding up his tablecloth… If we go on a motorbike trip I'll try to be as lean as possible. A passport, because even if we go to the Richtersveldt we might want to cross the border into Namibia. Or if we head to the Transkei we might end up in Lesotho. Then boardshorts, a knife and a warm jacket. Those things stay in my bag. Everything after that becomes a luxury. I like travelling light because it allows me to interact more. You find yourself at the local bar, using bad Spanish 'Una cerveza por favor' and that's where you meet the guy who takes you to visit his grandfather's farm because it has the best view of the mountain you want to photograph.
Davide: If we packing for the zombie apocalypse then we definitely need some weapons. Fixed blade, silky saws, hatchet axe, big axe, baseball bat, probably add some of those 9" nails we have lying about…
Thomas: It's good to be prepared. A space blanket weighs nothing but will keep you warm. Something hi-visibility if you get lost. A lot of the stuff we need we carry on ourselves every day anyway. Zippo lighter, Red Wing boots, Bellroy wallet, Benchmade knife…. Stuff with a story that you'll carry with you for the rest of your life. We're not Nude Foods and totally against consumerism, but if you can try to buy once.
Thomas: Also, if you're sick of buying shitty, wet wood buy an axe and go clear out some of the alien vegetation that's around. It keeps you fit, keeps you healthy and there's something special There’s something special about chopping your own firewood and enjoying a braai and a beer with your mates afterwards.
Thomas: You don't need blitz to start a fire. You can start a fire with pretty much anything. Some lint, steel wool, duct tape, cotton wool and KY Jelly, hand sanitizer… all of that can do the same thing. That H-fire most people make burns slow, so don't do this if you have wet wood. A tepee would be better because it's directing all the heat up and the water is running down.
Davide: Knots are amazing. Start with your shoelaces. Then a figure of 8 –the more you pull the stronger it's going to get, so it's good for rock climbing or the recovery of a vehicle. A slipknot is a good knot to tension your tent up, or awnings on your 4x4... There are a million different knots, learn them.
Davide: The one skill that the outdoors has taught me is pure presence. Being present in that moment, calming down and assessing the situation. Everything, whether making a fire or tying a knot, starts from pure presence, which will hone another skill. When it comes to an extreme situation, you need to keep a cool head. There have been moments where we've had to assess and act accordingly, whether it's happening to you or someone close to you. Presence allows you to keep a cool head, assess your options and act accordingly.
Thomas: Most mistakes happen when you try to rush things. If you drop your bike, every time you try to pick it up without thinking there's more chance that you won't pick it up again. Stop, make a coffee, chill out. The bikes down, you're hurt, so assess the scenario, try find signal, find someone, walk out and then go back.
Thomas: There have been scenarios where close calls could've meant it's over for us. 4x4ing on snow, where you start drifting towards the edge of a cliff and are thinking 'how will my mom find out about this?' We've been trapped in the car for like 16 hours before, the ECU in the car shut down and it was snowing with 80km winds and no radio reception.
Davide: You don't always have to even go so far. Go up the mountain. Or take a map of South Africa, put your compass on Cape Town and draw circles and each represents one hour, two hour, three hours out… and then drive.
Thomas: Tankwa in the Karoo is great. You can roll up with your own food and tent and buy a few beers from the local bar and a braai pack. Same thing at the Cederberg Oasis, you can tent yourself, use their pool, make your own food, travel down the Doringrivier, moto-x... Or hug the West Coast and you'll see all the different camping areas, and how the ocean can feed you. Get a SANParks card and go take a look at their website.
Davide: Take out a map, look at the terrain and find a body of water that's still there in summer. Rivers tend to dry up, lakes stay.
Thomas: Know your environment before going out into it. That's why so many people die on the mountain. It's right there, we're looking at it, but up there it's very different.
Thomas: 80% of our national roads are gravel roads. There's so much to explore. Even if we're going to Hermanus, we try to see how much of that we can we do on dirt roads. Tracks for Africa is a really good app to get and it's offline.