After watching Stefan Sagmeister’s talk, The Power of Time Off, at the 2014 Design Indaba, creative couple Stevo Dirnberger and Chanel Cartell decided to quit their jobs, sell their bulkier belongings and pack up their lives for a year of adventure. Taking Sagemister’s advice on the power of creative sabbaticals, they are travelling not only to see incredible places, but also for creative rejuvenation. 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 stagnant routines and patterns and facilitates a greater capacity to think and create.
Before undertaking this trip, Stevo and Chanel had spent years working in the advertising and branding industries for Joe Public and Cerebra. For them, the need to experiment and create is essential, but any creative will know that this isn’t always easy. The trip thus provided a way for recharging the electrolytes in their veins, giving them a constant source of inspiration. When they’re not cramming kilometres in busy cities, the couple are looking for any opportunity to challenge themselves creatively. They have encouraged the community to send them tasks or challenges – so far, these have been solely travel-related, but they’re hoping for some creative ones too.
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. The route of their journey is dictated by a ‘Wanderlist’ – their personal bucket list which is carrying them across the world. In 2 months, they’ve managed to cover just over 11 000km, travelling around Austria, a bit of Germany, and now staying at a Husky farm within the Arctic Circle. Working their way down the wanderlist, they’ve ticked off a few items, including ‘standing on a peak in the Alps’, ‘dancing in Berlin’, ‘taking a selfie with an Alpaca’ and ‘mushing with Huskies’. Of course, this is just the beginning.