From as far back as I can remember, I’ve always been passionate about wildlife. I loved being outside, watching the birds, collecting fallen leaves with my mom and trying to identify the tree it came from.

I’ve also always been curious about photography, thanks to my dad being the family photographer/videographer for almost all of our family parties back then. He had an old film camera that he showed me how to use, and pretty much taught me the basics of framing and proper exposure. This helped develop my passion later on when I finally got a camera of my own and started experimenting.

Documenting the blue whale project in Trenton, ON for the Royal Ontario Museum (Photo: Fatima Ali)

Today, I’ve created a life for myself which incorporates the things I’m passionate about – both in my career and in my day-to-day life. But I didn’t get here in a straight line. There was a point in my life where everything was uncertain – I was working in digital marketing and my work had no connection to the environment or wildlife conservation. I was doing portrait and event photography even though I didn’t enjoy it, because it was a good way to make some extra money. There was so much uncertainty. I went in so many different directions, tried so many different things, and had so much anxiety because I didn’t know how to merge my two passions together.

The topic of passion has come up a lot in many of my conversations with friends and family members. Some found their passion early on and are living life to the fullest. Some are still working things out but know where their heart lies. Some still have no clue what they want to do with their lives.

Podcasts are one of my favourite things to listen to on commutes to and from work. One of my favourites is Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations. Today, I listed to an episode featuring Elizabeth Gilbert, author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love.’ If you’re familiar with Elizabeth Gilbert, you know that passion is something she talks about a lot. But in this episode, Elizabeth contradicted everything she’s ever said before when it came to passion. Instead, she says to follow your curiousity. Like a hummingbird that moves from flower to flower. Try everything, experiment, go out and see what the world has in store for you. Eventually, you’ll find something that sticks. Something that you enjoy. Something that you can say you’re passionate about.

This place where you are right now, God circled on a map for you.


Hearing her say this was refreshing! It made me think about my own path, the paths for my friends and family, and gave me a new perspective on what it means to follow your heart. Take the word passion off the table – just follow your curiousity.

If you’re stuck in a rut, don’t know what you’re passionate about, wondering if you’re on the right path, or just want a dose of inspiration, I highly recommend you give this podcast episode a listen: Spotify | iTunes

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