Dani Ferreira, CEO of Urban Brew Studios, shows and proves the importance of realizing a dream through his own experience. 9 years after the trip, he even published a book about his adventures!
Men deal with midlife crises in different ways. Someone updates the wardrobe, someone buys a supercar, someone literally starts life anew. Back in 2013, Dani Ferreira, CEO of the South African company Urban Brew Studios, was going through a difficult stage in his life. Instead of indulging in all serious, Dani realized his old dream. She has been with him for over 30 years!
Ferreira grew up in subtropical South Africa. But his life changed in 1983. Then he became a member of a 14-month expedition to Antarctica. A passionate photographer, the 19-year-old was fascinated by the inhospitable winter landscape. Then for the first time his eyes opened to the stunning white fjords and glaciers, the snow-capped mountains of Antarctica.
“The brightest moments were night sorties deep into the mainland. Then we got out away from the ship to create fuel dumps for scientists. It was something! he says. The charm of the continent was such as he had never experienced. “You are mesmerized by her splendor, even when it’s hellishly cold around. Antarctica is a real beast, but you always want to return again. I want to look at these lands, breathe in this air, feel freedom. At least one more time."
Since then, Dani has not abandoned the idea of returning to the snowy expanses.
long way to dream
The return took years. In 1987, Ferreira opened a three-person television company. With the profits from the company, he was going to pay for his college education. But over time, he turned it into a media holding with more than 400 employees.
By the time he was 49 years old, 80-hour workweeks amid a rapidly changing media landscape were becoming tiresome. “I loved my job, but it was exhausting,” he says. "I'm burned out."
He eventually withdrew from the game, but felt lost. “The period of life has come when the score on the scoreboard no longer matters. A period when you are looking for meaning and depth, not success,” he says.
Without thinking twice, Dani decided that there was no better time to realize his dream. The decision was made almost overnight: dust off the dream and finance a real expedition in the old school tradition.
In March 2013, Ferreira and Howard Svidal, a Norwegian military man he met while filming a documentary at the South Pole two years earlier, traveled northwest from Norway to Svalbard. Their journey ran through the Barents Sea, and the team set off on a 60-foot steel-hulled ketch called Bør. Also on board were six Greenland sled dogs, the captain, three crew members, and a few buddies who were also looking for adventure.
I see a purpose, but I do not see obstacles
Their journey fell on March. By local standards, it's still winter. Ketch encountered strong squalls. Bør was hit by the full force of winter 30-foot waves. Water instantly froze on the rigging; the dogs on deck, although they were in "booths", were frightened. Howard Svidal, despite the danger, constantly checked our smaller brothers. When Bør entered Longyearbyen, it looked like a 100-year-old ghost ship covered in ice.
Ferreira still believes that the time for the trip was chosen correctly. “We started research 18 months before the trip to make sure we had the right vessel and crew,” he says. "We were ready."
And, he insists, it was the perfect time of year. so-called. "blue season" is a photographer's dream, says Ferreira, when "for hours at dawn and dusk a unique blue light covers the white landscape" and no other ships are visible at all.
Virgin expanses, "ice dogs"
The team spent a month exploring the archipelago. Svidal and Ferreira spent a lot of time on dog teams. Svidal was very happy to explore the almost virgin expanses of the archipelago. Dani was filming his documentary Ice Dogs at the time.
“Greenland dogs differ from the same German Shepherds as marathon runners differ from weightlifters. These are ideal athletes in terms of genetics, ”says Ferreira. “Taking care of them takes more effort than taking care of the rest of the team. If dogs didn't smile, we wouldn't have an expedition, let alone a documentary. And yes, dogs do know how to smile.”
Traveling by yacht allowed the group to roam as they pleased and anchor anywhere, even on drifting sea ice. At the same time, the threat from polar bears was minimized. “I heard that yachting is called the most expensive form of recreation, but it was perfect,” Ferreira says. “Watching blizzards from a warm saloon with a mug of fresh coffee is a true heavenly delight.”
Through the horizon and beyond
Ferreira's next self-funded expedition was to eastern Greenland. This is the second main location of the Ice Dogs movie, where he, his daughter Anna, Svidal and a few others went dog sledding with Inuit hunters for 28 days in the mountains of Jameson Land and down to the coast, on a spring hunt to feed the village.
Images from this 2016 expedition and five others that Ferreira has been on will be published this month in the two-volume Out in the Cold, published by London-based Hurtwood. It took Dani almost 9 years to compile and process the material. The first editions of his travel books are just beginning to appear.
“I have been studying ice as an art form since 1983,” says Ferreira. I capture structures, textures, colors and moods that are brought to life through the interplay of light and weather. Each passing iceberg is art, evidence of an endless metamorphosis.
Eventually, he noticed the same transformation in himself. “I realized that life is about duration and depth,” he says. “No one knows how much we are allotted, but we can control the depth of experiences.” Another gem of wisdom from Dani's travels: "The reward of a dream is a dream until you make a conscious decision to make it a reality."
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