A Couple Who Quit Their Jobs To Travel The World Are Poor And Scrub Toilets

You always hear about people quitting their 9 to 5 jobs to scoop ice cream on an island or backpack the world like a nomad.

They’re always posting photos of themselves doing yoga on a beach in Bali or sitting in a drum circle with village people in Tanzania.

How is this real life?

Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger of South Africa met on a blind date and felt their mutual “Yes Man” philosophy in life made them a good match. Five years later, they said yes to quitting their advertising jobs, selling their shiny cars and beautiful home, and set off on a creative journey to “see how far from home they could get.”

Let's just say, my year is made and it's only the first day. A birthday to remember ❤️ #dirtythirties #noma

A post shared by Chanel Cartell (@chanelcartell) on

They have been chronicling their adventures through Austria, Germany and even the Arctic Circle on their website called How Far From Home as well as on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

They’ve posted beautiful photos from literally all over the world:

Recently, they wrote a very accurate and relevant post about how their photos on social media do not tell the full story of their trip.

It’s something that we can all take a lesson from when it comes to social media: it’s edited.

“Browsing through our blog posts and Instagram feed, it seems like we’re having the time of our lives,” Cartell wrote. “And don’t get me wrong – we are. It’s bloody amazing. But it’s not all ice-creams in the sun and pretty landscapes.”

In fact, Cartell says when they aren’t taking beautiful photos, it’s been a lot of “painstakingly hard and dirty work.”

“So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, 2 tons of rocks shovelled, 60 metres of pathway laid, 57 beds made, and I cannot even remember how many wine glasses we’ve polished,” she added.

While Cartell says the last few months have been very rewarding, they certainly aren’t living the high life. In fact, there’s been times where they’ve been forced to buy dental floss.

And literally that’s it.

Just dental floss.

“Whilst visits to town with our new friends in Norway meant buying beer and bags of candy for them, we’ve been forced to purchase floss (because you only get one set of pearlers, right?) and nothing else,” she wrote. “The budget is really tight, and we are definitely forced to use creativity (and small pep talks) to solve most of our problems (and the mild crying fits).”

Cartell also points out that she is not at her “fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest” saying they eat jam on crackers most days, average about five hours of sleep per night and are constantly lugging “extremely heavy bags through cobbled streets at 1 a.m.” trying to find accommodation – because they can’t afford bus fares.

But the basic necessities they’ve sacrificed and challenges they’ve had to overcome are worth it for them. They’ve had the experience of a lifetime.

And they’ve learned some very important lessons along the way:

“There’s nothing quite like swopping million rand advertising budgets for toilet scrubbing to teach you about humility, life and the importance of living each day as if it were your last.”

Check out the full blog post here.

Connect with me kellymarietaylor.com | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtubelinkedin



Add yours →

  1. Very interesting post. Traveling the world is not always glamours, but it’s an amazing experience day day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG! I love this! This is the ultimate “say yes” story! love love love…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw their story when it came out. As someone afflicted with a lifelong case of wanderlust, I am completely sympathetic to following the dream (and now, your blog). Scrubbing toilets to do it though? Not so much.

    Then again, I’m older now too. No comment about wiser, just … at least … more comfortable! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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