I am Jess Bonde, an adventure, travel and lifestyle photographer hailing from the pristine lands of Tasmania. From a young age I was lucky enough to be continually immersed in the outdoors. As life rolled on I discovered photography was the perfect medium to showcase my love of nature, my adventures, and share how awesome our natural environment is.
So here I am, sharing my passions, and hoping to inspire you to get outdoors and do the same.
My relationship with money has changed considerably over the years, from working on superyachts and being very driven by the income, to now being happy to scrape by on the bare minimum. At this stage in my life as long as I have enough money so I can stay on the road just that little bit longer then I am a happy man (complete disregard of future financial issues and all hahaha).
Usually my trips would be funded by a working period where I would save every penny, then hit the road for as long as I could stretch it out for. The key to this style of travel is sacrifice, sacrificing dinners out, sacrificing alcohol, sacrificing shows or concerts, sacrificing all those new and shiny things. The creative ways I managed save money was always a funny aspect to me, and if I turned it into a bit of a game it never felt like I was missing out. I would tend to work any decent paying job I could find, from construction, landscaping, to farming, it never really mattered what kind of work I did as long as the next trip was looming at the end of the tunnel.
Source of Income
Fortunately, whilst travelling my photography has improved considerably, and I am now able to sustain my lifestyle through paid photography work. I bought my first camera back in 2012, but I have only been taking it more seriously since 2016. However, 2018 will have be the first year I’ve able to live on the road purely from paid photography work. It’s a struggle, but something I find insanely rewarding so I am happy to risk the financial instability of it all.
The way I make money through photography is by creating content for brands to use on their social media platforms, websites or any other kind of marketing. I also have the ability to do paid promotions through my Instagram account. Whilst my monthly income varies considerably and is very dependent upon new work coming in, I can easily survive on $1200 a month even with a busy location schedule.
The great thing about living and working on the road is the freedom to mix up your workdays. Usually I try to photograph sunrise and sunset, and do at least four 5hr days a week getting back to emails and securing new work. I do try and post on Instagram every day and spend roughly 2-5 hours both editing images and doing whatever Instagram tasks I have to attend to. However, if a good hike is calling my name or some friends are in town I will bail on the work and go get outside because that is why I live this lifestyle, for the freedom!
For me I am lucky that my work is very adventure driven, the better the adventure the better the photographs, so constantly being outside is something I really love about this lifestyle. Some of the challenges though would definitely be securing work and ensuring I have enough money to stay on the road. Moving around so much also presents its own challenges, from getting things shipped to you, to not being able to build a local audience/community of followers and brands to rely upon. All in all, the pros outweigh the cons tenfold and I wouldn’t want to be living any other kind of lifestyle.