In my 2023 Annual Review I will answer three key questions:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working towards?

Drafting a yearly review has become a ritual for me to take stock over the passing years. Since becoming a father, the need to capture and remember key milestones has intensified, as life appears to be racing ahead right in front of me. In the midst of juggling a never-ending and intensely demanding work schedule, parenting a lively toddler, and navigating the perpetual challenge of carving out personal time, the practice of crafting an annual review is a valuable compass for self-reflection.

I do want to highlight the things I was working towards in 2022 though. A year ago I was convinced that I would be living in Austria with my wife and daughter. Oh how wrong I was about that!

Well, to be fair, 2023 started out with the best of intentions to move there. I studied for and passed the required German exam in order to apply for a Visa. I made some calls to the Austrian Embassy and got all my paperwork in order. Things were looking good...

As the months rolled on I did keep asking my wife if this was still what she wanted to do; she was unsure but also quite open to the idea so it wasn't completely off the table. The whole point of moving was for her to be close to her family. But then, it wasn't until around May when Zoe decided to pull the plug on the whole idea, and that was that. I agreed and supported the decision because I do still love where we live and the life we have here in Australia. Luckily though, for as you'll read in the post, this was for the best. Moving to Austria would have been an extremely disruptive plan, and I'm glad to be here in Australia in 2024.

As for my other goal to practice Yoga more and continue learning about Ayurveda; well that is definitely underway and happening, and I'll share more about that below!

1. What went well this year?

Zoe's family coming to visit

One of the highlights of the year was having Zoe's family come to stay with us for three weeks. Their presence brought so much joy and a real sense of connection for Koa to really get to know her cousins. We had a couple of amazing weekend getaways in Byron Bay and North Stradbroke Island. This was the first time Zoe's sister and family had been to Australia, so this trip really was a big deal for us all. It was great for them to see why we live here and what Australia is all about.

Koa growing up

Being a dad to a two-and-a-half-year-old is like living on a non-stop rollercoaster. Some days it's a comedy show full of hilarious moments and funny phrases, other days it's a non stop barrage of tears and screaming and total meltdowns. Koa's tantrums are like mini hurricanes, and there are many days where I question my life choices.

There are days when it feels like you're running on empty, dealing with the "I don't want to do this or that" battles or the meltdowns that seemingly come out of nowhere. The struggle to get through the day without losing your cool becomes a real challenge. The constant negotiation and figuring out what will keep the tiny human happy is an endless puzzle, and there are moments when you wonder if you're doing it all wrong. Every single day I get a crash course in patience and resilience.

While it is incredibly tough, I also realise that right now Koa has become my biggest teacher in life. She makes me realise that I need to never stop doing the work to better myself. It's grappling with self-doubt and trying not to lose your mind when nothing seems to be going your way. Yet, on the more positive and meaningful side, in the midst of the chaos, there's this strange beauty in the imperfect moments. The messy, unfiltered reality of parenthood is part of the deal, and even on the hardest days, there's a unique bond that makes it all worthwhile (in hindsight). So, yeah, it's hard – really hard – it's a messy, real, and oddly beautiful journey that makes you dig deep and discover strengths you never knew you had.


This year of work was BIG. It was exhausting and extremely challenging. My contract at RACQ saw myself leading the front end development of a car comparison tool, which focused on providing consumers with up-to-date information on the latest electric and low emission vehicles. You can view the site at

We worked closely with the Australian Motoring Service (AMS) in order to align our UI/UX goals with their gargantuan data set of vehicles and vehicle related data. There were also many unique challenges when it came to managing the content on the site, and I worked closely with some very smart people to merge the front end with the backend services and content management system.

For me this project was incredibly demanding but also really quite rewarding. I was lucky enough to work and collaborate with an amazing team, which made the challenging work schedule worthwhile. This tool has been a much anticipated release from RACQ and the feedback across the company has been extremely positive.

Overseas travel

This year's overseas trip comes in two parts (the good and the bad). Despite the challenges of this year's Europe trip, there were some really memorable experiences. I was able to catch up with a good mate of mine in Belgium for a long weekend. We stayed in Ghent, and visited Bruges, and Brussels as well. We had a blast. Belgium is awesome! Ghent was a great place to stay; it's a beautiful city, full of charming medieval buildings, cobblestone streets, and canals that look like they're straight out of a fairytale. It's got that old-world vibe with the Gravensteen Castle and the Belfry of Ghent towering over the city.

What's more, Ghent knows how to party! We were there at the right time, with a lively art and music festival pumping through the entire city. Plus, the city's all about being eco-friendly and sustainable; we got around town on bikes and it's such an easy city to walk, there's really no need for a car at all. And lastly, the beer! Oh man, the beer is amazing. There's so much to choose from, and it's all so so so SO good. I truly had a fantastic time in Belgium, in great company with my mate who I always love to catch up with when I'm in Europe.

On top of that, we had some really special times with Zoe's family, just hanging out at her family home and taking it easy. We shared some really simple, but special moments just hanging out at her family home. Watching Koa play with her cousins was adorable. They had a blast together, and it was just one of those feel-good moments seeing them interact with each other. One of the highlights was going to see the horses with Zoe's sister and kids. Koa loved pottering around the stables, picking flowers and brushing the horses. It was adorable.

We also had a beautiful weekend away at an amazing family hotel overlooking the mountains of Carinthia. It was such a special treat. The food was amazing, the kids play room was huge and there was a beautiful little lake to swim and sunbake during the day.

And lastly, on our final weekend I went to Paris to visit some old school mates and to go watch Australia play in the Rugby World Cup. Needless to say this was a massive weekend. So. Much. Beer. It was a wild weekend; classic boys weekend. I'm not a big drinker these days, so the hangovers for me were brutal. But it really was a great time full of hilarious moments and wild adventures.

So yeah, looking back it was a good trip in many aspects. I'm glad we went, despite the fact that it wasn't quite the holiday we were looking for (more on that below).

Yoga and Vedic Meditation

Diving into the realms of yoga and Vedic Meditation this year has been a game-changer for me. In the midst of life's chaos – juggling work, parenthood, and the constant demands of life – these practices became my sanctuary. For me, it's not just about the physical postures in Yoga, it's the little nuggets of wisdom from the teacher while you're moving through the practice, followed by the deep inner calm that I feel at the end of practice.

Vedic Meditation, in particular, has become a vital anchor in my daily routine. It's like a reset button for my mind and soul. The regular moments of tranquillity that it offers allows me to step back from the hustle and bustle, out of the busy monkey mind, and to recalibrate. The profound sense of inner peace that follows these sessions permeates into my daily life, fostering a more grounded and centred approach to all of life's challenges. For me the meditation is not about escaping reality or feeling the effects only while in the practice, but about finding a steady ground within myself to navigate the ups and downs throughout the entire day.

As I look ahead to the coming year, the commitment to these practices is a non-negotiable part of my well-being journey. Further exploration into the depths of yoga philosophy and a continued dedication to Vedic Meditation hold the promise of enhancing my overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being. It's not just a routine, it's a conscious investment in self-discovery, resilience, and a pathway to a more balanced and fulfilling life. So, in the quiet moments of meditation and the flow of yoga postures, I am learning to discover not just how to pause but how to cultivate a profound connection to my inner self which then shapes how I engage with the world around me.

2. What didn’t go so well this year?

Office pod construction

Building an office pod in the backyard has been a project I've had in mind for quite a while now. It's hard working from home because there's just no divide between work and homelife. I don't often get full privacy to work in peace because I can hear everything going on outside, plus I continually get bombarded with knocks on the door from my wife and from Koa, and even Freyja scratching on the door wanting in. It's annoying for Zoe too because I am taking up a whole room that could be used for other things. So at the start of the year I started doing my research and looking around for an office pod builder.

I wanted to do things the right way so that the pod would be approved by the city council and everything would check out. However, this has caught me in a never ending saga of delays, information requests and difficulties simply getting a straight answer. What's more, the builder hasn't been completely transparent with me either. At first the builder seemed really trustworthy, reliable and honest. Now I'm not so sure. I'm starting to get pretty frustrated to be honest. I'm really hoping it will be done by March, but even that I feel will be wishful thinking. I can't believe it - this is just a simple rectangular office pod and it's causing so many headaches and hiccups. Imagine building an entire home! So yes, this is a good learning experience, making me realise that I would NOT ever want to build my own home.

Austria trip

Oury trip to Austria was quite the rollercoaster this year. Travelling all the way from Australia with a 2-year-old in tow turned out to be a mammoth task. The exhaustion hit us hard, and the jet lag was real.

Adding to the struggle was the fact that I decided to keep on working while abroad, in order to keep our project deadlines on track and to continue to pay the bills at home. Waking up at the crack of dawn, around 4 or 5 am, to hop on work calls, while Zoe tried to keep Koa entertained was nothing short of a challenge. Zoe is NOT a morning person, so the early morning starts were absolutely brutal for her. We really were juggling more than we could handle and it wore us both out very quickly.

The accommodation situation didn't help either. The Airbnb we stayed in was a far cry from the cosy setups we're used to. It was small, cramped, and situated in a rough part of town, making the entire stay less than ideal. Getting around with a pram added an extra layer of difficulty, and Koa's meltdowns didn't make the situation any easier. No matter where we went, things didn't really end well.

In essence, the trip didn't feel like a holiday at all. Instead of exploring new places or trying out local delicacies, we were there for a family check-in and to just make everything work without falling apart ourselves. It made us realise how much we missed the easygoing lifestyle back in Australia. The contrast was stark, and the realisation hit hard that ripping up our lives for this venture was 10 times more stressful than anticipated.

Financially, it was a hit too. Everything seemed more expensive this time around, with inflation and the Aussie dollar performing poorly. Balancing the demands of work, Koa, and attempting to find some personal time left me feeling stretched thin. I didn't get to climb outdoors as much as I had hoped, which was a major disappointment.

However, amidst the chaos, there was a silver lining. The trip served as a stark reminder of how good we have it in Australia. The familiar surroundings, the comfort of routine, and the sense of belonging all made us appreciate our home country even more. In the end, the challenging Austrian escapade reinforced the notion that, no matter the hardships, Australia is where our hearts truly find peace and comfort. Of course we will be back to visit Austria, but for now it is clear that we need to dedicate our lives and our energy to nurturing our home life, our friendships, and Koa's day to day routine here on the Gold Coast.

Stress and burnout (again)

Work-related stress and burnout reared their heads, emphasising the need for a healthier work-life balance. The complexities of work demands, coupled with insufficient time for recuperation, have prompted a self-awareness about the toll on mental and physical health that I simply cannot ignore. As mentioned above, I've really gotten a lot out of my yoga classes and Vedic Meditation practice, so that is going to play a big role in my life in 2024.

Relationship ups and downs

Navigating relationship challenges with my wife and daughter has been extremely difficult this year. The stressors brought by parenthood and overwork underscored the importance of self-care. Acknowledging the toll on health and well-being prompted a realisation that adjustments for my wife and I are absolutely necessary for a more sustainable and fulfilling future. Prioritising rest and recovery are imperative for keeping stressors at bay. For Zoe, things like ice baths, gym and sauna are her happy place. For me, it's Yoga, meditation and time outdoors. I know we can overcome anything together, and this is just one of life's many challenges. It's a long road ahead with a child, but I know deep down it's all worth it.

3. What am I working towards?

More side project and learning new tech in 2024

As I dive into 2024, I want to continually work on learning new tech and keeping my developer skills sharp, despite the perpetual challenge of juggling a demanding job and parenting a lively toddler. First and foremost, I'm eager to deepen my knowledge across the front-end space. Enhancing my proficiency in JavaScript and TypeScript is a priority, as I aim to unlock their full potential for crafting clean and efficient user interfaces with React and Vue. Delving into the intricacies of CSS and embracing the utility-first approach with TailwindCSS is another facet I want to build upon, aiming to refine the visual aesthetics of my projects.

However, my ambitions extend beyond the front-end realm. Venturing into full-stack development is a key objective, and I'm setting my sights on mastering the trifecta of React, NextJS, and Prisma (MongoDB, Postgres, etc). This comprehensive stack promises a holistic approach to web development, and I'm excited about the possibilities it opens up for creating dynamic and scalable applications.

AI has always intrigued me, and in 2024, I'm committed to exploring this cutting-edge field. Playing around with artificial intelligence will not only broaden my skill set but also introduce a layer of innovation to my projects, bringing a new dimension to the user experience.

Building a robust portfolio is not just a checkbox on my to-do list; it's a tangible representation of my growth and capabilities. The projects I undertake will not only serve as a testament to my skills but also as a source of pride in my professional journey.

Lastly, I'm looking to take on more side projects and jobs. It's a balance – the desire to expand my skill set and take on new challenges while managing the responsibilities of work and parenthood. Each side project is not just an opportunity to learn but also a chance to contribute meaningfully to my portfolio.

In the midst of the chaos, my goal for 2024 is to carve out the time for continuous learning, experimentation with cutting-edge technologies, and the fulfilment of my ambitions as a front-end developer. Balancing the demands of a dynamic career and the joys of fatherhood, this year is all about growth, innovation, and crafting a professional narrative that reflects my evolving skill set and passion for the ever-evolving world of web development.

Yoga teacher training

In 2024 I have enrolled in a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training! This adventure into teaching yoga is a conscious move, a real effort to make my mental and physical health a priority. The pursuit of personal growth through yoga not only offers physical benefits but also promises a transformative journey to help me build resilience and maintain stability and calmness throughout life's ups and downs.

Honestly, I don't really know where this training will take me, and I'm not going into it in order to make money or be a teacher, per se. I love my work as a coder and will always want that to be part of my career. However, I can imagine doing small side gigs here or there, be it a workshop, a retreat or event - that sort of thing. I can also imagine that this is something I can do (teaching or practicing) throughout all stages of life.

I'm really excited to take on this new challenge and deepen my Yoga practice. It has always been such a grounding, calming and energising activity. I would love to learn all the in's and out's of each and every pose so that I can truly understand what's actually going on at a mental and physical level. It's going to really help me craft more meaningful sequences when I practice at home on my own, and it will give me the ability to help others too.

And that wraps up my 2024 annual review. It's been a year marked by intensity, stress, and a rollercoaster of emotions. Yet, within these challenges, I find the seeds of a new beginning. I'm genuinely thrilled to step into the upcoming year with a fresh perspective and a considerably more positive outlook.

In 2024, my focus is on internal growth and building resiliencing, aiming to shed any limiting beliefs, internal stressors, and self-talk that may have held me back. I also want prioritise self care and wellness. Working from home and having a career in tech typically means working through lunch, long meetings all day, coding non stop for hours and sitting all day every day. It's incredibly exhausting when I don't schedule in proper breaks, and active steps to relax and recharge when it's time to slow down. So that is a big goal for 2024: more time for self care, more breaks, eating on time and not skipping meals, more time in nature, and less stress.

Here's to the anticipation and excitement that 2024 holds—bring it on!