The North Face has been a respected brand in the adventure world for many years now. Started by Douglas Tompkins and Kenneth Klopp in San Francisco around 1968, the brand has become infamous with providing some of the best gear for the adventure seeker throughout the world. Providing everything from clothing to equipment (tents, backpacks, luggage and sleeping bags), this gear can be seen in almost all factions of the adventure world, and for good reason, it’s that good.
Recently, they released a new commercial (shown below). They commissioned a band called My Morning Jacket to record a version of Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land. It can be downloaded from the iTunes Music Store. Needless to say, this song really does embody the spirit of the adventurer, and the commercial itself, a fantastic view of people doing what they love best, exploring and adventuring.
When I started climbing, I never thought I’d become so addicted to it. Since my first day at the climbing gym, I met new people, learnt new things, braved many fears (sometimes terrifying). I have seen amazing places that are quite untouched by masses of people. Truth be told, I kind of feel as though I’ve stepped into an exclusive world of amazing people who have a lust for adventure. These people venture fourth into a world of amazing beauty to do what many fear. Surprisingly, these are some of the most down to earth and friendly people in the world.
In everyday life, we tend to forget about the great outdoors. People live in a rat race, full of cars, and big office blocks with air conditioning. They sit behind their desks and computers each day, climbing in and out of elevators, eating ready-made meals, sitting in front of a TV at the end of their day hoping for an escape from this reality that they live in, but never finding it.
What an amazing world we live in. There really is so much beauty in it, and all we need to do is pack a bag and head out of the city, even if it’s for a day.
So, as we check the gear, prepare lunch and have breakfast, that morning cup of coffee being an essential starter to the day, we pack the car and leave at around 6am. Our destination: Bronkhorstspruit Dam (or Bronkies as we call it in our little community). The task ahead: a day of climbing. Being the most experienced climber in the group, with Hannes being my second in command, it is our task to teach Tinus to climb, but I also have to teach Hannes a few things as well, because he’s been out of it for a while now. I really don’t mind though. I get to spend the day doing something that I love, and I also have the opportunity to spend the day with two of my best friends, and I get to usher them into the world that I am so passionate about.
About 4 years have passed since I decided to start Rock Climbing. While I was a Summer Camp Counselor in Rock Hill, New York, USA in 2005, I met up with Dale, someone who would ultimately influence the way that I view life in general. He continuously spoke of how important it was to be spiritually in-tune with life. After many yoga sessions, and general ramblings of the practice of mountaineering, travel, and some rather interesting nights sitting on canoes on the camp lake and rambling on about many different topics, ranging from spirituality, to adventure, to the birth of The Mad Traveller, I began to understand the importance of what he was trying to tell me.
Life is really an amazing thing. Your views change as you experience more things in life, and slowly, as life passes you by, you end up as the person you are. I’ve always believed that one should try as much as you can in life, but this just blew my mind.
Up until that time, I was focused on making as much money as I could and attempting to be a successful individual. I was, and in many respects still am quite involved in IT. Needless to say, after the many years that have passed, and many rather interesting, and somewhat odd jobs around South Africa, I’ve finally fallen into a great working environment, architecting some pretty complex IT Infrastructures for some noteworthy clients, with a rather decent set of qualifications gained along the way. Every job that passed me by I learned something valuable, and along the way, I began my climbing career and my route to my personal enlightenment.
We are all connected. Humanity is an interdependent web joined together by the planet we share, the air we breathe, the collective unconsciousness, technology and human networks.
We live in cities and villages, in the cold north and the warm south, in forests, savannahs, by the ocean and on top of the hills. We are closer than we think.
In the 1960s, Stanley Milgram conducted the Small World Experiment showing that each of us is connected to everyone else by short social networks. This is the Six Degrees of Separation. At Earthdance, we bring together thousands of people across the world and harness music, dance, technology, prayer, education and people power for peace, sustainable culture and humanitarian aims. Think of it as the Six Degrees of Global Unity.
View of Boven (from Rock & Rope Adventures - www.rocrope.com)
Waterval Boven, about 100Km’s from Nelspruit in Mpumulanga, South Africa, is a haven for sports climbing. It’s world renouwned to be one of the coolest spots to climb, and for a very good reason. There are currently more than 600 sport routes to climb in the area, and there are also a ton of Trad routes as well. Currently, I hear from some climbing buddies, that they’re planning on opening another new crag to the public. Negotiations are currently underway with a farmer who owns the property. Obviously access is needed. Once this process is complete there will be even more routes opening up at Boven. For the future, there are something like 20Km’s of additional crags to add to the equation, so as you can see, it’s rather insane! There is something that makes this place unique, the color of the rock. You can always tell if a picture is taken here because the rock is red. It’s really awesome!