An Interview With 'How Far From Home'

7/09/2018Jake Ryan

If you’ve been following HowFarFromHome on Instagram, you’ll already know a little about Stevo and Chanel. 

For those who don’t follow HFFH (although you all will by the time you’ve finished reading this interview) Chanel and Stevo set off in 2015 for the adventure of a lifetime. They have spent the last few years travelling full time, partnering with companies and creating some stunning content. 

I recently asked HFFH a few questions, you can read the entire interview below. 
Hey guys, first can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We are Chanel and Stevo - the traveling duo behind @howfarfromhome on Instagram and the How Far From Home blog. We left our homes, and jobs in advertising, in South Africa back in March 2015 and have been traveling the world ever since, inspiring others, and creating a multitude of content across our various channels. Our main mission has always been to push creativity and use travel as a means for inspiration. Although we thought we’d only spend a year traveling, we’ve somehow managed to turn this life into a lifestyle that works for us, and we’re actively working as a “traveling agency” offering photography, filmmaking, and storytelling, with clients such as The Luxury Collection, Tastemade Travel, Viator, and several others in the tourism and lifestyle space.

I first found you on Instagram and love your photography, how long have you been taking photos?
Thank you! Our passion for photography has definitely evolved from a weekend hobby into something that gives us purpose every morning when we wake up. Stevo has been taking photos since he was a teenager, and always had an interest in it. Chanel learned everything she knows about photography from Stevo, and only really started taking pictures a year before the How Far From Home journey – back when iPhonography was all the rage. I remember we would go to dog parks on weekends and photograph other people’s dogs (because we didn’t have any of our own) and that’s how I (Chanel) learned to use a DSLR – dogs do make the best subjects :)

Did you study photography?
No, not at all. Stevo is entirely self-taught, and like we mentioned before, Chanel learned everything from Stevo. We did study Creative Brand Communications in University – specialising in Art Direction and Design – so that was definitely a great background for the visual arts…we’ve just evolved our instruments from only using laptops to DSLRs AND laptops.

You’ve visited some amazing places, do you have a favourite? 
Ah, this is always such a tough question to answer, because each place you visit will always leave a different memory, or a different impression and “reason to come back”. Its been tough, but we think we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 favourite countries (in no particular order):

1. Japan – just because it’s so completely foreign yet familiar, and an incredible culture, atmosphere and love for nature…and we LOVE sushi
2. Namibia – one of the most exquisite outdoor adventure locations we’ve ever road-tripped through
3. Italy – everything from the food, the art-focused cities, the mountains and lakes in the North, and the lush wine lands in the middle
4. USA – we definitely didn’t see enough of the States, but what we did see (California, New York, Utah, Arizona) was just incredible – we cannot wait to go back and explore more
5. Brazil – this is a new one (that’s bumped Iceland off the list…although we also LOVE Iceland) but now coming off a 2-week trip through Rio, we simply had the most amazing time – the people, the energy, the views, the sights….definitely one of our favourites!

Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Indonesia and our home country South Africa follow on as the next set of favourites 

How long have you been travelling full time?
We left on March 2nd, 2015, so a little over 3 years now

What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had while travelling?
In our first year we did some volunteer work in the Arctic Circle, at the top of Norway. We spent a month working at a Husky lodge, during the summertime, when the sun literally doesn’t go down. Our hosts were a Norwegian family of four, and their dog handlers – a Swedish photographer named Stefan, and Norwegian dog-lover Stephy. Stefan, Stephy and the two of us grew really close during our month-long stay, looking after 60 adult dogs and 10 puppies, and on our last weekend, we decided to pack our sleeping bags, one of the Husky dogs, and some hot dogs into a 1982 Mitsubishi van and head up for an evening road trip, leaving the lodge at 9pm and driving through the night to reach the North Cape (northern most point of Europe) by 4am the next morning. With the midnight sun outside, the Arctic tundra, thousands of reindeer, and the warm company, this has to go down as one of the most memorable.

If you had more time, we could tell you about the time we went for mud baths with elephants in Thailand, rushed to an emergency room at 3am in the middle of Iceland, and spoke on stage at the very conference that inspired us to sell everything and change our lives, just two years earlier ;)

What do you love most about travelling?
It has to be the constant change. There’s no room for boredom, and there’s no shortage of creative inspiration. Everyday you’re observing new things, speaking to different people (most of the time in different languages), eating new delicacies, waking up in a different bed (although this is also one of the worst things about traveling) – but on a whole, we love how no two days are ever the same.

If you had to recommend just one destination, where would it be and why?
Hmmmm, well for outdoor lovers, we’d have to recommend Namibia (or Canada) depending on your budget and what temperatures you prefer. For a magical cultural experience, definitely Japan. For an all-in-one destination, either Italy or our home South Africa. And for complete relaxation and unwinding, either Turkey, Cambodia, or Indonesia.

With you travelling so much, do you still have a bucket list?
The funny thing about a bucket list (or how we called it in the beginning – a Wandelrist), the more you travel and the more you tick things off the list, the more items you’ll add. It’s forever growing. We’ve managed to tick off 85 items from our listso far, whilst visiting 51 countries, which is just INSANE, yet our list has grown from 80-odd items to nearly 150 now. There’s always something new to discover and new to experience, and the more you get out there, the more you’ll want to continue. Travel addiction, I think they call it?

Tell us about the How Far From Home course?
After countless of questions emailed and DM’d to us, we thought we’d sit down one day (although it took more like 9 months) and package everything we’ve learned and discovered into a step-by-step guide that will take you through the entire journey of:

1. Inspiring you to actually quit your job to go and live your best life – whatever that looks like for you; to
2. Sorting out your finances; to
3. Planning such a monumental journey; to
4. Getting all the formalities handled; and finally
5. How to make the best use of your time when you’re actually on the journey, so that you can either get the right type of sabbatical you’re after, or (if you’re life us) turn it into a lifestyle

We created the course to be a series of vlog-style videos (which we filmed in six countries whilst traveling) and interactive eBooks and exercises, to walk you through the entire process. It’s designed for people who are serious about giving up their current life to travel full-time, or for people who are feeling a little lost and want to learn more about themselves (because nothing teaches you about YOU like travel does).

Who inspires you?
We get our inspiration from different people in different industries. Tiger Woods has always inspired Stevo – patience, persistence, and honing in on a craft have always been values he’s lived by. We try look for creative inspiration for our photography, outside of the photography realm, so we watch art films, admire packaging at grocery stores, browse through old advertisements, visit art museums, and watch entertaining vlogs from up and coming filmmakers. Rhett and Link from the popular YouTube channel “Good Mythical Morning” have been invaluable to us – their podcast and general ability to turn even the plainest things into a creative pursuit, encourages us everyday to keep pushing. Stefan Sagmeister was the mastermind who inspired us to actually give up our lives to take the risk and leave on this journey originally – we saw his talk on “The power of time off” and that was the tipping point we needed. James Wallman – author of “Stuffocation” and Miki Agrawal’s book “Do Cool Sh*t” also had a big part to play in our journey. 

And finally, what are your plans for the future? 
One thing travel has taught us, is that nothing you plan works out how you planned, so we’re trying to stay as present as possible, focusing on each day and each trip when we’re on it – right now flying to Peru, getting ready for an incredible week leading up to the Inti Raymi festival. We know we’re getting married in February 2020, so we’ll probably stay travelling until then, and after that…well, we’ll have to wait and see what happens :)

Thank you to Chanel and Stevo for 
taking the time to speak with TravelFoodFilm. 

Keep up with all their latest adventures on Instagram HERE

And be sure to follow their blog HERE

All photos in this post are the property of HowFarFromHome.

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  1. I enjoyed this. what a life they're living :D xxx

  2. really interesting thank u


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