Chattanooga couple to tour the world in a pickup truck

Staff Photo by Matt Hamilton / Sarah Aho and Chris Pochiba with their van in Coolidge Park on Tuesday, January 18, 2022.

Chris Pochiba and Sara Aho are stretching the possibilities of modern work.

The world is their cubicle, you could say.

The couple's definition of "remote work" is really, really remote. Like, anywhere-in-the-world remote.

Freed from the 9-to-5, office grind by ubiquitous Wi-Fi and an appetite for travel, the Chattanooga-based married couple call themselves "digital nomads."

In coming months, the two will launch a continent-hopping road trip in a carefully outfitted Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that may eventually take them to Asia, Africa and Europe. Call it the "Tacoma World Tour." Once or twice a year, they plan return to their home base, a house in St. Elmo, for a couple of months to rest and recharge, they say.

They will 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 social media exposure. The two have a popular YouTube channel with more than 113,000 subscribers that contains videos about their trips.

This new overseas travel plan comes after years on the road crisscrossing the United States in a van. The pair have been to all 50 sates and have hit most of the landmarks that seasoned "overlanders" consider national treasures.

"We had done 'van life' for a couple of years," says Aho, who was home-schooled in Chattanooga and attended the University of Georgia. "The idea of international travel has been a long-term goal."

The couple recently sold their Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and purchased a new double-cab Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. A Denver company called Rossmonster is building them a hard-sided pop-up tent that will serve as their sleeping quarters, restroom, gear depot and accommodations for their dog, Kramer.

"It looks a bit like origami," Pochiba says of the tent, noting that it is tall enough to stand up in, with the bed of the truck acting as a floor of the tent. Meanwhile, the roof of the cab supports a double bed. The couple says the Tacoma will be easier to ship internationally than the big 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 travel the countryside to see how people in different parts of the world really live.

"We always say people are the heart behind why we travel," Aho says. "We like to see people the way they live. We travel for the experiences."

While they wait for the Rossmonster tent to arrive, the two recently spent time in Mexico City, where they attracted attention by carrying Kramer around 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 great deal to Brazil," Aho explains.

Spontaneity is part of their lifestyle. Living in a vehicle gives you that luxury. Plus, a fluid itinerary adds a little mystery into their travels.

"We're looking for culture shock. That's our goal," Aho says. "We love getting lost. It makes us love travel all over again."

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