In Australia, the backpackers who choose farming to extend their working holiday visas spend at least 88 days experiencing a harsh lifestyle the majority of them did not expect. The farm work does not have any pause — nobody cares about the weather or the soil conditions. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

Backpackers sit on the back of a truck taking them from a shed to the field where they will work for the rest of the day. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

Motivations for migrating can be very different. Some people escape the wars and conflicts that distress their countries. Some migrate in search of more-satisfying job opportunities. Some leave everything behind to realize their deepest dreams.

Australia offers “working holiday” visa for young people between ages 18 and 30 who are exploring their options. This visa gives them a chance to travel and work in all Australian territory for one year, with the purpose of promoting open-mindedness about multiculturalism. Young people around the world find Australia an attractive country with a high quality of life, and it draws many backpackers.

To renew their visas for another year, recipients must work on a farm for at least 88 days. To some travelers, this seems like a kind of forced labor. But many who experience farm employment find it a unique life experience providing an opportunity to learn work ethic and meet people from every corner of the world.

The laborers live in a shared house, many of which are overcrowded with more than 20 inhabitants and little privacy. This can be stressful but lead to great friendships. After several months together, the backpackers have shared the same suffering during the working day, the same frustration from an overcrowded house. But they have also shared wonderful moments at the beach, nature experiences and wild party nights.

Barriers erected by cultural difference are demolished by the sense of togetherness. The sufferings and exertion of the hard work gets wiped out by solidarity. Moments of loneliness and sadness because of the distance from loved ones are supplanted by the smiles of the people that are near you every day.

These people who only a few months ago were unknown to one another become a full-fledged multicultural family.

The beginning of this experience can feel like a nightmare. Surprisingly, when the end comes, a part of you never wants to leave. Unconsciously you know that you are leaving behind a second family that will be impossible to re-create but that will stay forever in your heart.

One of the biggest challenges of farm life is waking up early every morning. The backpackers who work in the fields have to wake up around 4 or 5 a.m. to be ready to work at sunrise. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

Once on the field, the backpackers climb down from the back of the truck, preparing themselves for the beginning of the working day. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

The lunch break is the most awaited moment during the whole working day. The backpackers can finally relax for a bit and eat the lunch prepared the day before. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

The shared house is where the backpackers live. The house is usually located in the countryside, near the fields and the shed of the farm company. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

Every weekend the backpackers organize games such as “Sociables” or “Beerpong” that involve all members of the house, which fosters friendships. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

Two girls enjoy a moment of rest on the couch after work. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

A wooden plate outside the shared house. This is the symbol of a place that brings together people from different cultures who become a family. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

Living a farm experience means working together and sharing the same burden every day. Even if the job is tough, the idea that everyone suffers the same way gives the group strength to overcome the working day. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

The backpackers who work in the fields have to endure a tough daily routine that the majority of the Australian people do not want. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

During the first light of sunrise, two girls walk through the morning fog toward the field where they will work. (Giacomo d’Orlando)

In Sight is The Washington Post’s photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.

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