Wanderlust Wednesday: SA couple takes on the wide world

Posted on 5 August 2015

Ever wanted to just quit your job, pack up your life and head off into the glorious, wide world in search of adventure? Well, here’s a couple that has actually done it. They’re tracking every kilometre in their project “How Far From Home”.

How far from home
Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger had great jobs in the advertising and branding industries, and a lovely home in South Africa, but after a few years began to feel the creeping complacency of routine. As creatives, it was important for them to be able to have fresh ideas and constant challenge. Thus, they decided to undertake a year-long creative expedition, in which they would travel the world. The logic is simple: with the explosion of sensory stimuli that travelling provides, from impressive vistas and foreign tastes, to cross-cultural interaction, one is constantly confronted by novelty. This takes the mind out of its accustomed patterns, sparks new ideas and reveals life’s diverse perspectives.

After a year working and saving for the trip, the couple left Johannesburg with four bags (one filled with camera gear) and headed for Austria. Their mission: to see ‘how far from home’ they can get – both literally, in tracking their kilometres from South Africa, and figuratively, in constantly pushing the boundaries of their comfort zones. In five months they’ve covered 24695 kilometres and a multitude of bucket-list experiences, some of which include: living with and looking after seventy Huskies in the Arctic Circle; celebrating Chanel’s birthday at Noma – the top restaurant in the world; taking an evening road trip to the northern most point of Europe with the midnight sun outside; swimming in transparent ice blue aquamarine lakes in Austria and waking up at 3am to take scenic drives along lakes in central Sweden, spotting fox cubs, moose and reindeer. They even snapped a selfie with an Alpaca.

Of course, it’s not all easy.  Language barriers sometimes see them wandering around a strange neighbourhood or perplexedly searching supermarket aisles. Budgeting for this kind of trip is always tough, but Chanel says when they feel they might run dry they’ll draw on that reinvigorated creativity to find a solution. Moreover, travel takes a great deal of strength when the inexplicable human psyche tremors with demotivation and doubt.

It’s always worth it though. The world is a place of strangeness and beauty, but we can lose our awareness of this in the mundanity of humdrum life. By systematically disorienting ourselves through the experience of travel, we can see it anew.

Follow Steve and Chanel’s journey on Instagram and see all their travels and creative work on their blog.


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Also read: taking a campervan across the USA


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