The @HowFarFromHome Instagram Couple Remind Us That Quitting Your Job And Traveling The World Isn't All Beachside Yoga
I don't really follow any of those lifestyle bloggers who quit their jobs to go traveling around the world because you know what? I am an easily envious person! I don't need to do that to myself! But guess what: I have finally found a pair of them I can stand, and it's all because they actually admit something about traveling the world that other bloggers too often leave out of their perfectly Instagramm'd sunset photos. A recent blog post by the @HowFarFromHome couple detailed how they finance their travels, and spoiler: It's not all glamorous pictures and fun in the sun. You still need to work in order to pay your way, and their transparency is both refreshing and necessary.
Well, maybe not everyone needs to work. Some lucky people are independently wealthy and can yacht around the world like it's nothing. For your average person, though, the funds you've set aside for travel can run out very quickly. South African couple Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger of the @HowFarFromHome Instagram account discovered this after leaving their stable jobs in advertising to see the world — and, as it turns out, scrub toilets. "After being gone exactly six months, I feel it necessary we share the uglier side of our trip," Cartell wrote in a post published today on the How Far From Home website. "Browsing through our blog posts and Instagram feed, it seems like we’re having the time of our lives. 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," she continued. "Noooooo. So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, two tons of rocks shovelled, 60 metres of pathway laid, 57 beds made, and I cannot even remember how many wine glasses we’ve polished."
According to Cartell, the couple has gotten by using a service called Workaway, which lets travelers stay in lodgings around the world for the price of volunteering their time to do odd jobs. They've subsisted largely on crackers with jam, gotten only five hours of sleep a night, and had frequent tearful conversations. She still thinks it's worth it, though. "[E]ven though we probably have more greys than when we started, dirt under our nails despite long showers, and cheap snack food as a main form of nutrition, this crazy lifestyle allows us to enjoy the freedom of exploring rich Swedish forests, never-ending Nordic fjords, Italian cobbled alleyways, and cosmopolitan cities," she wrote.
Predictably, a lot of commenters on a post about the pair on BuzzFeed are positively gleeful that Cartell and Dimberger aren't having the picture-perfect time you'd expect from a pair of world travelers. Most of it is clearly naked envy at a lifestyle that lots of us would love — warts and all.
Others, more understandably, are saying that they do menial jobs without getting to travel the world, and that Cartell and Dimberger are still incredibly lucky for even having the funds to take their first flight out of South Africa. And look, once again, I get that. I get jealous as hell about other people's money! But who among us, if we had the opportunity this pair did, would not be tempted to fly away from home and see the world for a little bit? Though we would hopefully have travel goals a little less insulting than "Spend an entire night (or more than one) out on the street with a homeless person."
Anyway, look, I've scrubbed toilets as a job before — it's not exactly the happiest I've ever been at a place of employment, but it's an honest day's work. No shame in that — and taking a look at their gorgeous Instagram feed, there's no denying the benefits:
Look at how not-jealous I've managed to be this entire post!
If Cartell and Dirnberger start providing a link to their PayPal pages and asking for donations, that would be a whole different story; it would also likely the point at which I would walk away from their tale and say, "I'm done." But they're paying their way through their trip with good, honest work — and more importantly, they're reminding us that life isn't an Instagram account. And that? Is worth giving a few minutes of your day.