This site is a separate blog about my personal experience in Australia. It’s some kind of diary and photo album in one place.
Career-wise it seemed not to be a step forward, but it soon turned out to be the absolute right move for a better life. Find out more about this journey down below.
I was glad to have such a nice and welcoming experience at Wespac in Sydney. Having a nice chat with my bank advisor, informal and calm. Something I was looking for since I’m used to a cold, formal and strict language “back home”. That’s one of the main reasons I favor English over my other language.
I pressured myself to fit in from 0-100 which made me feel kinda lost after the first days. When moving to a new country this is the worst you can do. It takes time to adapt and settle. I had to learn that and after taking off that pressure I felt more settled and more like home here.
I went to the royal botanic garden and fell in love with it. t also leads directly to the famous Sydney Opera house. I took this photo I was thinking about for a long time and I gave it the name:
"A New Hope".
I stayed in the hostel "Nomads" and they've made a broadcast, looking for a professional photographer to shoot their rooms. I answered and got the job.
Thanks to the agency that supports me I got my first, more traditional Working-Holiday-Job. For the company Host Supplies I was helping to unloading containers in a team and packing palettes for further transport. It felt great to be a small part of the supply chain and supporting the country, not only through labour but also paying income taxes. It's the first time I feel good to support a country where I live, something I never felt before.
I was visiting the Sydney Zoo to see my first roos here. Yet again I was proven that the Aussie spirit is easygoing and calm. When you have any questions or problems everyone is happy to help. Something I wish to see elsewhere as well.
I saw elephants, giraffes, an emu, koalas … and a flock of roos. To me it was a wonderful and almost emotional experience. The staff of the zoo provided us visitors with food and carrots to give to the roos. I took a few photos of them and stroke their backs. One of them seemed really interested in the little plush fella I brought all the way from home.
I walked from Bondi Beach down the coast and I was amazed by the vivid colors of the landscape. I've never seen such blue seas and greens in nature. Compared to what I was used to the colors overwhelmed me.
It’s been almost 3 weeks since I landed and I haven’t slept that well in a very long time. Back “home” I rarely dreamed or remembered my dreams, and when I did it was about World War 2 or Zombie Apokalypse.
I see this as a sign of a healing process. Healing from the pain, struggles and experiences I had in the country that was supposed to feel like home.
Since I'm not satisfied with my current web-hosted I'm making the switch to a more reliable provider. My website is going to be hosted in Australia and will get the sub-level domain .com.au at the end. The contract is set for two years. I'm happy for making this switch.
My 2nd day job was unloading a container and repacking boxes according to a list for Red Star Warehouse. It was also the time I realized that I'll work hard towards my goals and never give up. I'm living the "Never Say Die" attitude.
I’m feeling it. I never felt so good, happy, complete and being part of a country before.
Back in Germany I felt like shit, literally. Not being a part of anything, feeling weird and foreign. Being restrained, mistreated and not respected. Feeling alone and simply weird because I was different. Preferred a different language, felt drawn to another country. Wanted nothing more but getting out, to feel free to be a part of something that aligns with me, with my interests and what I stand for.
I’m feeling it now and it’s one of the best feelings I ever had. The feeling of freedom, the feeling of being who I truly am, not feeling like a stranger because I do not support the German country, but supporting the country where I live right now and it feels so incredibly good.
Shooting the Table Tennis Tournament for the Nomads Hostel. I'm grateful for the opportunity I have here. Not only taking photos of all the events, but also doing some video work. It still is challenging to do both at the same time, but since I'm self trained, I got the hang of it.
A quote I found on Instagram and that I can relate to:
"All suffering is caused by being in the wrong place.
If you're unhappy where you are, move."
- Timothy Leary, Professor/Counterculture Icon
It's been a month since I landed in this incredible country. I can’t stress enough how glad and grateful I am for this opportunity. Although the first few days have been quite tough, also due to the days lasting jet lag, but I found my way.
I now realize that nationality is not only the way you feel, but most importantly the spirit you carry with you, in your heart.
For years I was driven by my “Whatever It Takes” mentality and spirit. Being an outcast and individual, going my unique way as a self-taught. It's an extraordinary way, especially for someone who lived in Germany. But I didn’t give up, against all the doubters and obstacles I had to face along the way. It is this spirit that kept me going and led me to where I am today. Being in Australia makes me feel freer and more comfortable than ever, because I now feel that I align more with this spirit of never giving up.
Either way “Whatever It Takes” or “Never Say Die”, I know exactly what I stand for, who I am, and where I want to be.
I've been a fan of the Matildas (Australias national women soccer team) since the world cup in 2019. Watching the Disney Plus short documentary series before this years world cup is exciting. I simply adore the team spirit and mentality to never give an, staying motivated, even in tough situations.
There are still moments when I think back to what I’ve been through in the past couple of months and years. I’ll use the time I have to work on my project Wrong Country.
I write down my thoughts, reflect, and create something that will help people who are in the same situation and struggle, feeling foreign in the country they grew up in and wanting nothing more but to find peace and fulfillment in a country that feels more like home.
That’s project #WrongCountry #ProjectWrongCountry
The last day of the month I spent shooting the Hornby Lighthouse during sunset. Unfortunately the weather conditions were not ideal, so I had to tweak the final photo quite a bit. Still not the best photo of the month, but I'm kinda satisfied with the final result.
27th of March – 30th of April
When I first landed it was quite a change from what I was used to. Coming from a toxic environment, where your opinion isn’t heard and you’re called crazy, unrealistic, and a dreamer. It took quite some time to cope with that, but in the first month, I started to heal. I was overwhelmed by the generosity and calm spirit of the people here. It’s something that I dreamed about for so long. That easy-going and lightness of going through life is something I tried to apply but I couldn’t due to the environment.
I came to Australia very open-mindedly, without a concrete plan. To me, it was the best way of starting, since nobody can predict what’s going to happen anyway. It puts less stress on you and we all know without stress we live longer. That’s something I adapted to quite well in the first month. Not being stressed about anything. Simply stay calm and live in the day. Keeping things simple.
The first week was especially challenging for me tho, because I wanted to adapt and fit in far too quickly. It pressured me too much and I felt kinda lost. But after some time I managed to calm down and take it easy. What boosted my confidence was that I got my first job as a photographer for the hostel. Within the first week, I used to opportunity that was offered to me because Nomads was looking for someone who could professionally take photos of their rooms. I then asked if they could use my photography skills further and I got the chance to shoot their events, like Beer Pong, Coastal Walk, BBQ at the beach, and Yoga lessons.
Since I do this Working Holiday with the agencies “Wayers” and “Work + Travel Company” I received two “day jobs” and got a little extra money in addition to my photography job where I get free accommodation in the hostel where I’m currently staying in. At the same time, I’m still working on other projects and businesses. It’s difficult to find motivation in the environment because not many people here think seriously about business. The overall vibe is driven by backpackers. Wanting to live their lives, celebrate and work from time to time.
After the first week, I slowly began to “settle” which initiated the process of healing that I’d been hoping for so long. I appreciate the vibe and mentality that rules here. To me, it is one of the reasons I came here. The mentality that I know from “back home” hurt me a lot and drove me down a road I didn’t want to go. Here I can be “normal”, being creative, building my online businesses, and speaking the language I prefer.
Another day job, this time for King Living Australia. Every three months the rearrange their furniture and get new models. I helped assembling furniture and rearranging them in the store.
I was amazed by the kindness and generosity of the staff and the location manager Troy.
Since an overseas drivers license is valid only for the first 6 month, I went to the NSW Service office to transfer my drivers license. It was a very uncomplicated and straight forward process. It didn't take long. That's something I really appreciate about Australia.
This is just the provisionally license. The real plastic cards are send to me in the next days.
In order to do farm work and being more flexible, I started looking for a car that fits my needs. I was looking for a car that I can rely on. That's the most important thing I was looking for.
And yet again I'm grateful that I have some experience when it comes to car mechanics to make (hopefully) the right decision.
For some reason the feelings I had for certain memories came back. Not relieving those good memories in particular, but re-feeling the emotions.
It's such a beautiful thing, because I thought I lost them forever.
I believe it really has to do with the process of healing I experience since I'm here.
I already heard about that kind of cinema experience but never been to a screening before until now. As a passionate future filmmaker it was sort of a necessity for me. I was watching "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" with a friend I just met a few weeks ago here in Sydney.
How I'd describe this cinema experience:
Well it was worth it, but In my opinion it could benefit from VR instead of staring on a still screen. I didn't\t feel really drawn into the story itself, which misses the whole point of watching a movie. There've been moments when the action/motion was good, but then in certain scenes there was no motion (of the seats) at all that could have exaggerated the experience. When a movie is made for 4DX experience I believe it's another level of directing, not just on set and in post, but also in the cinema itself to make it a whole, flawless experience. I didn't feel that in this movie.
Yet another day job unloading containers for Penline. As the name implies, it's a warehouse for storing pens and other stationary.
There've been quite a few attractive offers for backpacker cars. Although this 2004 Toyota RAV4 has ran over 300,000 km I decided to get it since Toyota is renowned for its reliability. This is something I valued the most when picking a car for this journey.
2.5l Inline 4 cylinder
The previous owner gave him the name "Rupert".
Picking up Rupert and driving through the city. After finishing the Rego (Registration) I was driving home, in the dark, but it was easier than expected. It's hard to find a parking slot for free in Sydney. There are some streets where you can park, otherwise you pay 80$ for one night. I left Rupert a 20 min bus ride from the hostel before we went on.
After five weeks of staying in the Nomads hostel in downtown Sydney I checked out and started to live in my car, testing the life of a backpacker on a road trip.
Before that I got a new mobile contract, so I can continue working on my businesses. It's quite a new experience but it's really an exciting one that I will enjoy.
On my way up the east coast I'm looking for the perfect spot to take photos of the beautiful nature. This is just one of the reasons I decided to come to Australia. As a photographer it's a paradise. I could spend a lifetime traveling around and taking photos, capturing the rich and rare beauty for eternity. It also gave me a better understanding why it's so important to take care of our planet. I believe that's another thing that Australia stands for.
I arrived at night at the first campsite on the trip. When I was heading to the next stop in the morning I was amazed by the view that was offered me. Also two little roos crossed the street 20m in front of the car.
Staying on both free and paid campsites. The price range is between 15 to 35$ per night. The paid sites offer bathroom facilities while staying on free campsites means using public toilets and sometimes not being able to take a shower for a couple of days. But this is the true backpacker life. It's worth experiencing once in a lifetime.
I also checked the oil fill stand of my car, since relying on the car that much it's crucial to maintain it as best as it can get without proper tools.
I didn't spend much time in Byron Bay, the famous surfer paradise, but enough to capture a fe nice shots. Even taking long-exposure shots hand-held. It's something I'm slowly getting used to, since carrying a tripod is annoying sometimes.
Using the app "Travelmate" isn't always reliable, since some supposed campsites don't exist anymore as they were displayed in the app. This led me to a paid park 1h in the west of Brisbane.
Stayed here for a couple of days, to be able to apply for jobs and to enjoy the beautiful nature here. This park also reminds me of the Center Parks in Europe where I was on vacation with my parents a few times as a kid.
Improvised office. The internet connection isn't the best (if there is one at all) but at least I don't rely on normal power outlets anymore. Before going on this road trip I purchased a 12V to 240V power inverter to be able to charge all my gear using the car as a generator.
On my photography bucket list is a long-exposure of a water fall. I used this opportunity in the Tamborine National park (next to the campsite of Cedar Creek) to try capturing the one shot. But as always, I'm still not 100% satisfied. But for now, it's a good starting point.
Back in Sydney I was told if I try it, I shall start with a tiny bit first. So did I, and then I got more on the bread until I had a usual amount. To be honest it tasted better than the canned pasta I had the day before.
In order to be able to get a second Working Holiday visa granted I have to look for jobs that are either in agriculture or hospitality. Like fruit picking, general farm work or housekeeping and other hospitality jobs.
Since winter is coming soon, there's not much framework to do. I almost always get the same answer, farmers aren't looking at the moment or I shall send my resume to be considered later, once the new season started.
But fortunately I got a connection from a previous day job. A fellow immigrant has a friend who's immigration agent and I contacted him. This is the first and very important step for me. But I'll keep trying to find an 88 day job, to have a backup plan and to fully live the backpackers life.
On the way of finding a typical backpacker's job I fell in love with the feeling of the countryside. The rural and wide land, the heat but also the forests and jungle. I didn't travel far to witness that and I'm looking forward to new adventures.
A part of the life of a backpacker or digital nomad is to improvise, finding new ways to do sometimes the most basic things. Cooking pasta and warming the sauce in one pot one after the other. Making holes in a plastic menu box to have a kitchen sieve for example. But when you're in need you'll find creative ways to solve almost anything.
On the way back to Sydney, I was resting at the resting area of New Italy. It was the first Italian Settlement here in New South Wales. It's a beautiful place, the site has a museum, gift shop and a cafe. Playing typical Italian music in the yard and serving good Italian dishes makes it a must to stop by.
Unfortunately I just spent one night there before heading back home. I also used the time to set up my new online store where I'm going to sell my best photographs as prints on canvas. The integration ist already set, all I need is to design the store to my liking. This is the life of a digital nomad, a nomadic entrepreneur.
Along the Pacific Highway back to Sydney I stopped by at the "Sandy Beach" and it hit me like a punch in the face when I discovered this beautiful landscape of the coastline. It reminds me of more than one movie so I had to snap a few pics. Although I found it really tough to capture the beauty in a single photograph it's opportunities like those that keep me growing as a photographer.
1st of May – 31st of May
It’s the second month that turned this chapter really into a backpacker’s experience. While I lived more like a Sydneysider in the first month with just a few day jobs, unloading containers and mostly doing my photography and continuing my businesses, this changed rapidly when I got a car. I decided to get a Toyota RAV4 from 2004 because the brand itself is renowned for it’s reliable cars and I have a lot of brand trust. I was looking for a car that is reliable because it’s always risky to get an old car when you heavily rely on it like I do.
Parking in the city is really expensive, so I relied on the locals from the Work + Travel Company to give me tips on where to park for free. I found a parking slot in the streets and used public transport to get to the car and back to the hostel. I got used to driving here pretty quickly. I already felt like home in Sydney that it was like a farewell when I had to go. Since then I lived from day to day, from campsite to campsite. Using the app CamperMate to either find free sites or affordable once. But I was fooled a couple of times when arrived at a specific site that wasn’t existing anymore. I couldn’t prevent driving during night times (it gets dark by 5:30 PM already during winter time). Some roads are really dangerous not only because of the wildlife but also due to cliffs and the forest itself. One mistake and you could fall down with your car on the small and very very curvy roads. I stayed on most of the campsites for just one day, with one exception, the Thunderbird Park in the Tamborine National park 1h from Brisbane.
Looking for jobs, and hoping to get hired puts the same pressure and stress on you as it was back in Germany. Yet again I’m glad that I’ve made the decision to become an entrepreneur. Although I’m not quite there where I want to be I work towards it even under more challenging conditions as a backpacker. Even when it means not having a stable internet connection, if you’re determined enough you can achieve everything. That’s what defines me, that’s what brought me here. I’m not someone who gives up, I’m not a quitter. I am a believer and fighter for my goals and dreams. I’m living that spirit.
Once I arrived at the Thunderbird Park in Tamborine I started sending out my applications and made cold calls to nearby farms asking for a job. Since it’s heading towards winter season it’s not the best time for farm jobs. Budgeting was a crucial thing to always have an eye on and that’s why I decided to continue my stay on free campsites to save money. Unfortunately in this area (or maybe in all of Queensland) you’re not allowed to stay longer than 20h on one site. So I was changing sites from day to day. Thinking back it might have saved more money if I stayed longer on paid sites because I had to drive long distances to get to a new spot.
Desperately looking for jobs I decided to head back to Sydney. All in all, this felt more like a road trip, driving to Brisbane and coming back to Sydney. I’ll take on a job from a mate I got to know from one of my day jobs. He’s also the one who gave me the contact to his immigration agent.
What I learned in the second month of being here is that living from day to day, hoping for the best and keep believing really is what life as a backpacker is like. There are so many people coming to Australia, wanting those typical backpackers jobs, to get their 2nd-year visa. It’s a numbers game. Applying for a job is the same misery as it is everywhere on earth. The best everyone can do, is start their own business, becoming entrepreneurs. I wish I started earlier and building online businesses under those circumstances (travelling, not always having a stable internet connection, relying on a car as a power generator) makes you think about entrepreneurship in a whole different way. Life as a digital nomad is challenging, but it gives you so much freedom. I already set the foundation of my online shop where I’m going to sell my photographs as prints on canvas. I’m looking forward to my third month.
I’m back in Sydney, really glad about that because I didn’t feel too good in Queensland and the Brisbane area.
Parking in the Sans Sauci Park I noticed this truck behind my car. I recognized the perfect 2-color-lighting, so I had to take a few pics. After editing the photos I’m happy with the result.
In order to work my new job I had to get a Light Rigid driving license, to drive small trucks for delivering furniture to customers.