How I'm Exchanging Design Work to Find Good Things Everywhere

I ended up getting much more than I expected.

I used to work full time as a web developer in Berlin. I was able to develop some beautiful websites with great narratives and collaborated with some amazing people. Still, I worked a lot and felt like there could be a different way of doing my work and living my life. There was a shift of consciousness at some point, when I looked at the world and saw how things were going in my personal bubble and our society’s bubble. I started to travel the world designing and developing online work as an exchange for something someone could offer or wanted to teach me.

My site and personal project, “Good Things Everywhere” is about reducing what I own to just a few things. It’s an attempt to move away from dealing so much with money (of course I need it and will have to work for money sometimes), but I figured that the good old trade concept would make things a lot easier for my idea. I want to see the world far from the usual tourist routes by meeting locals, without spending much and hopefully helping lots of people and companies along the way. It’s for personal growth and inspiration, since I think that the more you see of the world and the more different people you work with, the bigger your freedom of thought.

I want to barter with mostly sustainable businesses, eco-tourism, charity and community projects that very often need an online specialist and don’t have the money to pay an agency or professional. There aren’t enough resources on our planet to make all nations as developed as the first world, so if we all consumed less and if sustainable businesses take over, there might be a better future. This project is my personal approach to change my life for the better, help good people and see the world.

The whole experiment started in Australia in November 2013. My journey led me to Sydney first where I worked on a great accommodation idea for festivals called Flash Camp in Jervis Bay. After my time in the bay, I traveled further down the coast to Melbourne and soon worked on a few projects from friends and people I met. I tried to be helpful with my skills without expecting anything in return.

I ended up getting much more than I expected, from people showing me around the city, to great food and places to stay. I provided some website support to the lovely Claire from Nikita Handmade. She sells beautiful patchwork yoga bags made from recycled fabric and empowers impoverished women in Cambodia. I helped with some photography at the great Stacks On Festival organized by Culture Jam, which creates beautiful themed parties in Melbourne. Then I helped Heath and Justin – who run an online shop called Forest Superfoods, bringing you all the healthy good stuff you usually don’t find in supermarkets. Each time you place an order, they plant a native Australian tree. Justin also runs a website called, focusing on spreading information on the senseless war on drugs. I also met Zak from Zebra Dream Coconut Icecream (best organic ice-cream in town), helping with some mobile optimization on his website. Last but not least I met Davide and Laura, planning to travel the planet documenting important causes on video. I helped create a name for their idea, tie down the concept, and set up a basic Wordpress install so they could start publishing their news and fundraising campaigns. We called their project “Reel Motive” and they’ll be traveling to a natural reserve in Ecuador soon, aiming to film threatened jaguars.

It felt natural to be helpful and all these endeavors impressed me with their sustainable and conscious approaches. Good things for good people. Melbourne proved to be a real home and I made a ton of new friends. The multicultural city has a great vibe in the summer with great bars and restaurants, amazing coffee, a great music and arts scene, good parties and lots of beautiful people. If you visit Australia and like a quirky and exciting city, don’t miss out on Melbourne.

Read more about my journey on

via Michael Belanger / Flickr

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