A couple who quit their well-paid advertising jobs to travel the world are now scrubbing toilets to make ends meet.
Chanel Cartell and Stevo Dirnberger left South Africa six months ago to see how far away from home they could get.
The couple, who are now in Athens, have been posing pictures on Instagram showing them lounging by lakes, doing yoga on beaches or posing on mountains.
But the pair have realised their life as portrayed in social media is actually a far cry from the reality of having enough money to eat.
In her blog How Far From Home, Chanel writes: “It’s not all ice-creams in the sun and pretty landscapes.
“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.
“We’re toilet cleaners, dog poop scoopers, grocery store merchandisers, and rock shovelers.
“It’s painstakingly hard and dirty work.”
The pair said they permanently had dirt under their nails and lived on a diet of crackers and jam as they could only afford the cheapest food.
Chanel added: “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).
“So don’t let the bank of gorgeous photography fool you. Nuh uh. 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).”
The pair find their jobs through a firm called Workaway which pairs travellers 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.
But they insisted the hardships of life on the world were more than offset by the freedom of going where they wanted and doing what they wanted with their own time after they had earned money for the day.
She said: “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 owncreative experiments. It’s like heaven for us.”
She also said even scrubbing toilets had its upsides, adding: “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.”