Couple Who Quit Their Jobs to Travel the World is Now Poor and Scrubbing Toilets

2 September 2015

Couple Who Quit Their Jobs to Travel the World is Now Poor and Scrubbing Toilets

The uglier side of the dreams: couple who quit their jobs to travel the world is now poor and scrubbing toilets.

Lately, we have had several stories about people who quit their jobs to follow their dreams and travel the world. Just like that couple who quit their jobs and started traveling with their cat.

Some of them had happy endings, while others, just like the story of this couple, had a sad ending.

The story of Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger, the South African couple, quit their jobs one day and decided to travel the world.

They made headlines a while ago, when announced they are quitting the agency jobs to travel the world and document the experience. It was like a dream, a dream that many people share, and the lovely Instagram pictures they took made us believe that this could be possible.

However, halfway through their year-long journey, they have made a post on their blog titled ‘ Why We Quit Our Jobs in Advertising To Scrub Toilets’, in which they told us the ‘uglier side of our trip’.

Turns out that following your dreams, can sometimes turn the other way around and not be what you’ve expected.

“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 writes.

“Don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. So far, I think we’ve tallied 135 toilets scrubbed, 250 kilos of cow dung spread, 2 tons of rocks shoveled, 60 meters 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 … we are now on the opposite end of the scale. We’re toilet cleaners, dog poop scoopers, grocery store merchandisers and rock shovelers.”

They’re also not perfect physical specimens despite all the hard work. “I am not at my fittest, slimmest or physically healthiest,” Cartell writes. “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).”

“Although we knew it wouldn’t be easy, we are certainly learning fast that this isn’t for faint hearts, and we need to learn to react and adapt to everything that’s thrown our way. Mentally, it’s also a constant yo-yo between ‘I have all this time—let me use it productively, let me get fit and do everything I’ve ever wanted to do,’ vs. ‘I have all this time—let me relax and enjoy it.’ That, together with occasional bouts of boredom, demotivation and homesickness, makes this one hell of a ride.”  

They did get criticized by a lot of people; people that now enjoy their failure. But Cartell says there’s a good part about their story:

“Even 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.

“We have time to brainstorm our own ideas, and push our own creative experiments. It’s like heaven for us.”

“Sure, wood needs to be stacked, and garbage needs to be taken out (it’s our version of a shit sandwich, as Mark Manson put it), but once that’s done, we’re free to explore, wander and be one with our meandering thoughts.” “You work under your own schedule, using (a lot of) spare time to jog around mirrored lakes, craft inspired creations and breathe the Arctic air.”

“There’s nothing quite like swapping 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.”

Now, before you go into an adventure, make sure you also take into consideration that the situation might not be as you expect, and you must come up with a plan B before you go on a journey like theirs.

What would you do if you were them? Would you come back home?