Chris Pochiba and Sara Aho expand the possibilities of modern work.
The world is their box, you might say.
The couple’s definition of “remote work” is really, really far off. Like, anywhere in the world remotely.
Freed from the hustle and bustle of the 9am-5pm office thanks to ubiquitous Wi-Fi and an appetite for travel, the Chattanooga-based married couple call themselves “digital nomads.”
In the coming months, the two will embark on a road trip across continents in a carefully equipped Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that could eventually take them to Asia, Africa and Europe. Call it the “Tacoma World Tour”. Once or twice a year, they plan to return to their home base, a house in St. Elmo, for a few months to rest and recharge, they say.
They’ll soak up the culture of countless countries while working their “day jobs” – Pochiba does graphic arts and web design, and Aho monetizes the couples’ travels through corporate sponsorships and a social media exposure. The two have a popular YouTube channel with over 113,000 subscribers that features videos of their travels.
This new foreign travel plan comes after years on the road criss-crossing the United States in a van. The couple visited all 50 states and hit most of the landmarks that seasoned “overlanders” consider national treasures.
“We had been doing the ‘van life’ for a few years,” says Aho, who was homeschooled in Chattanooga and attended the University of Georgia. “The idea of international travel is a long-term goal.”
The couple recently sold their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter minivan and purchased a new Toyota Tacoma double-cab pickup truck. A Denver company called Rossmonster is building them a hard-sided pop-up tent that will serve as their sleeping quarters, restrooms, gear depot, and lodging for their dog, Kramer.
“It looks a bit like origami,” Pochiba says of the tent, noting that it’s tall enough to stand on, with the truck bed serving as the tent’s floor. Meanwhile, the cabin roof supports a double bed. The couple says the Tacoma will be easier to ship internationally than the large van, which ran on harder-to-find diesel fuel.
Pochiba and Aho say they will ship the truck to a launch point, say South Africa or Malaysia, and then drive around the countryside to see how people really live in different parts of the world.
“We always say that people are at the heart of our travels,” says Aho. “We like to see people as they live. We travel for the experiences.”
While waiting for the Rossmonster tent to arrive, the two recently spent time in Mexico City, where they attracted attention by carrying Kramer in a backpack. They also visited Brazil, where they practiced their Portuguese and discovered how few Americans actually visit the South American country.
“We started with Mexico because it was easy. We didn’t know where we were going next, then we saw a lot about Brazil,” says Aho.
Spontaneity is part of their way of life. Living in a vehicle gives you that luxury. Plus, a smooth route adds a bit of mystery to their journeys.
“We’re looking for culture shock. That’s our goal,” says Aho. “We love getting lost. It makes us love traveling again.”
Life Stories comes out on Mondays. To suggest a human interest story, contact Mark Kennedy at [email protected] or 423-757-6645.