How Far From Home on over 100 000 kilometres of creative enlightenment

South Africans Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger abandoned the comforts of home to reinvigorate their creativity.

Stifled by their daily routines, South African agency executives Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger asked themselves: “Are we living the life we want to live right now?”. The predictability of suburban life left the two uninspired, so they sold all their belongings and headed out into the world in search of creative enlightenment.

The journey began with an inspirational Design Indaba talk in 2014. After a year of planning and saving, Cartell and Dirnberger embarked on a trip around the world that would lead them back to the design conference stage in 2016. “The hardest part was resigning,” explains Cartell. “I remember having a breakfast with one of my bosses, telling him what we’re going to do and he just sat there smiling. It was so bitter-sweet.”

Using a combination of their savings and volunteer work in exchange for accommodation, Cartell and Dirnberger visited four continents, 15 countries and 49 cities. They used 14 different modes of transport including trains, buses, a sailing boat and a vintage chairlift. Their living arrangements were made up of hotels, shared homes, tents, a sailboat and more.

To make it all possible, the pair shovelled rocks, spread cow dung, cleaned toilets and even scooped dog faeces. Their entire journey is documented in their personal Instagram and blog project called How Far From Home.

“And now after travelling a total of 105 256 Kilometres, we’ve come full circle and ended up back in South Africa,” says Cartell. “What we’ve gotten in return is clarity and a whole new perspective. We’ve realised how big the world actually is.”

Watch the Interview with How Far From Home