Adventure like Hemingway: A Q&A with Ernest's Great Grandson
January 05, 2024 | Christian Schauf
Adventure like Hemingway: A Q&A with Ernest's Great Grandson

Hemingway - It’s likely that there’s no name as synonymous with adventure.  And this is why we’ve partnered up with Pat Hemingway Adams, great grandson of Ernest, this January to give you some inspiration on making 2024 your most adventurous year yet.

Pat, a good friend of the brand and an avid adventurer himself, answered some questions we came up with in lieu of his namesake.  

Uncharted: What is it about the Hemingway legacy that has captured attention for so many years?

Pat: So much of that legacy is the excitement that he could inspire.  He was always out on the edge of whatever was cool, back in the era when things were still undiscovered.  

He went to war several times with a special gift for observing and reporting what was really happening with more heart than anyone else.  He perfected big game fishing and helped to write the first sportfishing laws that would protect the fisheries in perpetuity.

He was a conservationist before it was cool and a badass back in a time full of badasses.

Plus, he wrote some of the most significant literary works ever put to paper in English.  His writing was timeless, and his subject content still resonates with readers all over the world.

The dude is a legend among legends.     

If Ernest was alive today, what adventures would he be getting into?

You could count on him to be where the action was– in a place you’d never think of, doing something you didn’t know you could do.

That’s the kind of stuff he loved.  Also anything brave and bloody.  I wish he were around because this is the only “influencing” we really need these days.

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for people to write a short letter to his home in Cuba, imploring Hemingway to set them on a course for adventure and truth.

Often, he’d write back just to say “Come on down to the pool and have a drink and we’ll see if we can sort you out.”

It feels like the word adventure is watered down… In your opinion, what are key elements of a proper adventure?

It seems like a proper adventure is a situation where you don’t have complete control. 

There should be excitement, maybe some danger- definitely some unknowns.  Good adventures remind us that we aren’t always in charge and sometimes we have nothing to fall back on but our wits to get out of trouble.

You’ll never have a dull time anywhere if you invite this sort of chaos into your life.

What pieces of gear comprised Ernest's EDC and what is in yours?

Ernest was very superstitious and loved a good luck talisman.  He carried a small coin purse full of little trinkets everywhere he went; things like old coins, train tickets, and even shrapnel removed from his leg.

He was originally a newspaper man from the start, so he also favored a flip-over reporter’s style notebook.  And his wire-rimmed glasses, which he hated to wear.  He seemed to always have a little pen knife or something to open a bottle of wine.

I am a little more practical, but still sentimental.  I carry a knife everywhere I can and most places I shouldn't.  My wallet also has a little coin purse, but it holds a handcuff shim and the key to my rifle case. 

Also, I carry a small pin-up style photo of my wife in my notebook for luck.

Tell me a story of a time things got a little western, and how you remedied your situation.

I’ve rubbed elbows with all sorts of sideways situations: political riots, ebola outbreaks, dangerous game animals- you name it.  It’s amazing what can begin to feel normal when you are in a place that’s no stranger to this kind of excitement.  The really scary stuff for me is when you don’t have any control or agency of your own. 

I have one of those faces that every border guard, embassy security officer, or TSA agent just has to mess with. 

Most recently, I was detained briefly by an overzealous DHS agent in SLC who wasn’t familiar with “foie gras,” and very suspicious of why I’d be carrying a dozen cans of it back from Paris.  One hand on the Glock, one hand on the radio for back-up.  The whole dang shebang.  I don’t know what she thought I was smuggling, but it sure wasn’t duck livers.

Sometimes you have to be ready for action, but a cool head and careful words is usually all it takes to deal with idiots– or at least a sympathetic supervisor who says the magic words: “You are free to go!’

In a world obsessed with technology, you’re definitely a bit more analog.  What is it about old stuff that is so damn compelling? 

To me, it seems like things of value should have some weight. I think that we’ve lost something by removing the heft of significance. There’s a million pictures on my phone, but they’d be gone in an instant if I forgot my password.  I try to use more film these days and make lots of prints.

There’s just something reassuring about a thing that you can hold and perceive with more senses than just your eyes.  We used to do this better in the old days.

And the digital privacy thing, that ought to frighten everyone.  I like to keep secrets, hate being advertised to, and can’t stand gossip.  Read real books, write real letters, buy lots of ammo- and don’t tell anyone about it but your friends. 

Let’s say the apocalypse starts tomorrow.  What are 5 things you’re grabbing as you run out the door? 

In no particular order:

  1. Guns- Impossible to pick just one, so we’ll bring a few.
  2. Cash- Always has value of some kind, despite what anyone says.
  3. Family- Kids, wife, dogs.  Somehow we’ll make them all fit.  That’s what truck beds are for.
  4. Go-bags- I have piles of thoughtfully assembled bags for every situation.  Living out West makes it complicated to prepare for every season, but it wouldn’t be an apocalypse if it were easy.
  5. Something impractical, but comforting- Maybe an heirloom watch or favorite dog-eared paperback.  Not everything needs to fit the profile, and sometimes we just have to thumb our noses at fate.

          I think we all agree that everyone could use a little more adventure in their life.  What are your favorite recent adventures and what do you have planned for 2024?

          This has really been a good year for adventure.  I was fortunate enough to find excuses to explore some ancestral spots on a pilgrimage to the very dreary, yet exciting Paris.  I followed along on the trail of Ian Fleming and James Bond through the Jamaican countryside and did a deep dive into the Caribbean rum culture. 

          We even went Cape Buffalo hunting on foot; stalking up to spitting distance to pull both triggers on a cartridge invented 125 years before I was born. 

          2024 is still mostly a mystery, but there’s much work to be done and things to see in Europe.  I haven’t run with those bulls, yet- and there’s always big fish in the Keys if we need a proper Hemingway adventure.

          You’re a young dad.   What’s a great family adventure everyone should do at least once?

          Africa has really become my favorite hub for adventure.  It’s still a place largely without rules or guardrails.  I have an uncle who lived his whole life over there, and is famous in the family for saying that Africa is a “user-beware” country.  This attitude makes the continent a blank slate of sorts for travelers and adventurers of all ages. 

          I think the introductory move here for young kids is a few game drives in Southern Africa to see all the famous African animals while they still can.  Then, if you’re lucky, those kids might start feeling like they’d like to get out of the truck and get a little closer.

          That’s an early warning sign that the longing for adventure has got its hooks into them.

          Do you feel compelled to live a life like your great grandfather's?  What sort of projects are you working on now, and where can we find your work?

          I didn’t set out to be just like him, but did end up following a similar path.  

          I contribute stories and photos to The Field Ethos Journal, which is a print and digital publication for fellow knuckleheads who embody the sporting life, like to have a big time, and understand what an appreciation for the past can teach us about the present.

          Really, my biggest project involves the work I do with my family to preserve and proliferate the legacy of Ernest Hemingway.  We work tirelessly to be good stewards of his work, but it can be a heavy responsibility.  There’s no take-backsies in the copyright and trademark game.

          Fortunately, I get to work with like-minded groups that make good drinks worthy of a great name.  We collaborate with a rum producing company called “Papa’s Pilar,” which we named after his boat; and a rye whiskey company aptly named “Hemingway Whiskey,” which was just named the best rye in the whole world.

          I like to think that old Ernesto would appreciate that.