Stuck, But in Motion – Two Passions and Two Directions

So many people live their lives through without ever really discovering a true passion. People spend day in and day out working a 9-5 desk job that they might hate or might actually quite enjoy, but it doesn’t fulfill a passion deep inside them, their lives aren’t richer as a result of working such a job.

I am a deeply lucky person. I have found a passion – something that makes my life better, which makes me happier, gives me drive and motivation, something that truly makes my life worth living. Problem is, I have found two of them.

I began my training to become a midwife at the tender age of 17. Until 6 months before commencing this training I had had no previous desire to enter the field of midwifery, but one day I woke up and like something out of a film, I had a sense that midwifery was something I had to do.

So I commenced my training and fell more and more in love with midwifery as each day passed. I loved working with women from all walks of life. I loved cuddling and caring for babies. I loved the thrill of bringing a new life into the world and the little rush of adrenaline it would give me each and every birth without fail. I loved having a woman walk in the door as a wife, or girlfriend, or daughter and watching her walk out as a new mother. I loved advocating for women – especially in environments heavily dominated by primarily male obstetricians.

This is me holding my honourary niece Lexi - she was the first baby I ever 'caught' <3
This is me holding my honourary niece Lexi – she was the first baby I ever ‘caught’ <3

I felt as though I had found my passion. I counted myself lucky, thinking I had found something that I could envision myself loving for the rest of my working life.

A year or so after commencing my training, my two best friends Tess and Ethan ventured off together on an 8 week backpacking trip through South-East Asia. Tess had asked me to come with them, but for a number of reasons, I said no. To be honest, I still don’t know why I so persistently turned her down.

I remember saying that I didn’t have the money, but I had just gotten a hefty tax return so that was not exactly true. I remember worrying that I wouldn’t fit in on a Contiki tour – which they were doing for a portion of their trip. Also, I was still recovering from a messy break up which had resulted in a real blow to my self-esteem. Travelling through South-East Asia means wearing a lot of bathers in public, and after having my self confidence shattered by said break up, the mere thought of that had me wanting to go and hide in a corner. It may have been one of these reasons, or a culmination of them, or something completely different; but either way, the travel bug had not bitten me yet and at that point travelling was not on my radar as a goal or even as a possibility.

When Tess left for the adventure (her and Ethan were on separate planes) I went to the airport to see her off. Eight weeks is a long time for a teenager to be without her best friend! As I watched her go through customs and as her flight took off, I got this strange and profound sense of sadness and longing. I wanted to go off and see something new! I wanted to feel excitement so strong that it would completely overtake me!

Two or three days later I had booked flights to the United Kingdom and about four weeks after that I was waiting at the airport to board my flight! With a pristine new passport in one hand and an economy boarding pass in the other, I passed through customs as nervous as a deer but excited all the same.

Baby Ellen before her first solo adventure
Baby Ellen before her first solo adventure

That first three week trip was full of highs and lows. I hated London but fell in love with Edinburgh. Paris was eventful and Glasgow was kinda dull. Belfast was vibrant and Dublin was horrific. The trip ended on a low note thanks to a sadistic asshole in Dublin and I really could have thrown away my passport then and there.

After coming home and slowly recovering, I had a bit of a revelation. If I never travelled again, I would never experience the excitement and happiness I felt in Edinburgh and the Scottish Highlands. If I never travelled again I would be depriving myself of countless amazing opportunities and allowing one Irish dickhead the power to negatively influence my life for a lot longer than one bad night. There was no way I could let someone ruin my life like that.


So I planned another trip. Booked more flights. Packed my bags once again. I embarked on another journey, hesitant and scared but fully determined. That trip was absolutely unbelievable. I loved every single second and had so many joyous days that I would not have had otherwise. By the time that trip was over, I had not just been bitten by a travel bug, I had been completely swarmed and eaten alive by them. Just like that, a new passion was realised.


The path of my life which had once seemed so clear was now going fuzzy. I loved midwifery, but I also felt a calling to pursue the dream of solo world travel. Which passion was I meant to indulge?

This is a question that several years on, I still don’t have a clear answer on. I feel a constant tug and pull to attempting continuous and uninterrupted world travel – backpacking from place to place and surviving off of very small amounts of money. But, as much as I fantasize about such a life, I don’t think I could do it.

As much as I love travelling, midwifery has its hooks in me too. I go too long without catching a baby and I get restless. If I go more than a month without cuddling a newborn I found myself not knowing what to do with myself. If I go too long without being completely run off my feet from an understaffed double shift, I start getting kinda bored.

Photo courtesy of Katie Lowe

So for now, I’ll try to pursue two passions. I will throw myself wholeheartedly into caring for women and babies for half my life and for fearlessly exploring the world with the other. I hope one day, a time comes when these passions of mine collide and meld and mesh and become one with each other, but until then, I will continue leading two completely different lives. At least I can say that there is never, EVER, a dull moment.

Photo courtesy of Kate Oats
Photo courtesy of Kate Oats

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30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

116 thoughts on “Stuck, But in Motion – Two Passions and Two Directions

  1. So amazing! As an aspiring midwife and a travel lover as well, I envy where you are. I hope that with some searching you will find a way to combine your two passions! In the meantime, enjoy every minute of your beautiful life!

  2. Brilliant post! Well written and extremely inspiring to read. Finding a passion in life is hard enough yet here you are pursuing both of yours! I decided to pursue a dream of my own. Next month I set off on my travels!

  3. Love this post! I can really really relate. I was so nervous “settling down” and starting a family. But its truly funny how life works out… one month after having our first baby my husband got an offer to work in the UK for 6 months. So here we are, traveling all around Europe with a little one and realizing how lucky we are to be experiencing the best of both worlds! It can happen, just gotta have faith πŸ™‚

    1. You are living the dream! I am not sure if I want to have my own babies one day (I love babies, but I see them every day at work!) but if I do, I will be using all of my maternity leave to travel with the little bubba in tow πŸ™‚

  4. You are very blessed to have two powerful passions. I truly believe beauty, adventure and love are what we are created for and both of yours include all 3. I love your blog!

  5. This is so refreshing to read, espeically when I have only just started my midwifery degree! I am so eager to begin to travel the world once I have completed it and reading this has just confirmed my want to even more. Beautiful read! <3 Just what I needed!!

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