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This Couple Quit Their Jobs To Travel And Now Scrub Toilets To Get By

Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger wrote in a blog post that social media hides the reality of their journey around the globe.

Almost every day it seems there is a new story of a person or a couple who are quitting their boring 9 to 5 and heading out in search of adventure.

Take the example of Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger of South Africa. The couple made headlines earlier this year after they quit their stable advertising jobs to see how far from home they could travel.

The couple is chronicling its journey on a blog called "How Far From Home." Since starting their trip they have posted snaps from beautiful locations all around the world.

And they seem to be living out every burned-out office worker's fantasy.

But the couple wants their readers to know, when they aren't doing yoga on a beach in Greece, they are scrubbing out toilets and scrounging for cash.

In a post on their blog, Cartell wrote that she and Dirnberger realized that their social media posts about their trip are not really telling the full story.

The couple told BuzzFeed News they were inspired to write the post because they didn't want to "candy coat" their experience.

"We wanted to paint an honest picture for anyone considering to do the same thing, just in case they thought traveling non-stop was a glamorous fantasy," they said.

Cartell wrote when they aren't taking pretty pictures, they are doing "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.

You see, to come from the luxuries we left behind in Johannesburg, to the brutal truth of volunteer work, we are now on the opposite end of the scale. We're toilet cleaners, dog poop scoopers, grocery store merchandisers, and rock shovelers.

Cartell included a link to the company they do the work through, Workaway. The company pairs travelers willing to do odd jobs with hosts in different countries who are willing to provide the traveler with food and accommodations in exchange for the tasks.

And even though they are doing back-breaking labor, Cartell wrote that at points, they have had to go without basic necessities:

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. 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).

The lifestyle is also taking a physical toll on them, she wrote.

I am not at my fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest. We eat jam on crackers most days, get roughly 5hrs of sleep per night, and lug our extremely heavy bags through cobbled streets at 1am, trying to find our accommodation (because bus fares are not part of the budget, obviously).

But Cartell wrote that the challenges they have faced are worth it to have the experience of a lifetime.

And she said they have learned valuable lessons. "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," she said.

In addition, the couple told BuzzFeed News that they are actually "quite" proud of all of the work they have done, as it has at times been a difficult journey.

"When we set off on the journey we promised ourselves to stay 'uncomfortable' and aim for challenges that would push us outside of our comfort zone, thereby inspiring us creatively," they said. "And although hard and dirty, the not-so-pretty experiences have done just that."

They said that they hope their blog inspires others to push the limits of their comfort zone.

"We want to inspire people to do the same! There's nothing more rewarding/educational/exhilarating/challenging to sell it all, say 'no' to complacency and 'yes' to everything life has to offer," they said.

H/t: Adweek


This post has been updated to clarify the couple works in exchange for food.