Changing our life to live consciously

My story always seems to start in 2017, though I’d had many an adventure and hard-won lesson before that.

Hiking in Queenstown, 2017

My then-boyfriend, Chris, and I shared an existential crisis, questioning our role in the consumerist hamster wheel of the modern world and critiquing our lack of sustainable living.

Like everyone else, we had been using plastic without thought, driving everywhere, and buying polyester clothes from fast fashion brands. We were both working full-time in jobs that gave us plenty of disposable income but where we weren’t fulfilled and dreaded Mondays.

Looking back, I’m not sure exactly what inspired this irrevocable mindset shift, but we found ourselves changing our habits to live more sustainably and seeking a different way of life where we didn’t give away the bulk of our time for the money to spend on things we didn’t need. We started sharing our experiences and tips to live more consciously under the moniker Ecolust Life.

In 2018, we got rid of most of our possessions, quit our jobs, I dropped out of law school, and we booked a one-way flight. With only carry-on luggage, we left in January 2019 for a year-long, round-the-world trip, planning to live as freely and sustainably as we knew how. No one was to know just how lucky we were to make that life choice, given the state of the world the following year.

Our last day in Australia before our round-the-world trip

Packing sustainable products to travel with only carry-on luggage

Quitting our jobs to travel the world

We bought a van to live in around New Zealand, bathing mostly in natural bodies of water, hiking, and freedom camping.

Our daily wash in natural water in Taupo, New Zealand

Hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Cooking in our van

We then flew to South America for three months, where we explored extreme terrains, studied Spanish, slept in shared hostel rooms, eloped in Bolivia, and inflicted havoc on our gut microbiomes. While I lay suffering from food poisoning and altitude sickness and whatever other impositions on my immune system, Chris hiked the Salkantay trek in Peru to where I eventually met him at Machu Picchu. I was ready to book a flight home after months of travelling far too quickly and neglecting our health in impoverished countries but I gave one more destination a chance – the Galapagos Islands.

Hiking in Santiago, Chile

Exploring Buenos Aires, Argentina

Our spontaneous elopement in Sucre, Bolivia

Machu Picchu, Peru

Discovering our values

We left the altitude, we had warmth and a water filter, sunshine and nature. My mood and health improved exponentially as we snorkelled with sea lions and took life slower. We had tough conversations about how we hadn’t been living in line with our values due to the fear of wasting travel opportunities. We’d left one rat race at home for another. We vowed to live slower, give ourselves the opportunity for genuine connections with people, and to prioritise our health. You can listen to our travel experiences from Season 1 of our podcast here.


Healing in the Galapagos Islands 

Yoga teacher training

After the US, Canada, and London, we flew to Cyprus for our yoga teacher training. A multi-day hike in Torres Del Paine in Patagonia had been Chris’ experience of choice. This was mine. Three weeks living at the Mediterranean Sea, learning and practicing yoga for seven hours a day, having vegetarian Indian food cooked for us each meal, and exploring the island as tourists on Sundays. I had practiced yoga in classes since I was 17 but never had I delved into the spiritual and philosophical side. Here, I trained my body, learnt how to control my breath and my thoughts, and awoke to a whole paradigm of potential for my soul.

Tourist days off yoga teacher training in Cyprus

Yoga woke me up. Upon reflection, I had lived in somewhat of a dissociated state for years prior, making reactive choices, neglecting relationships, and quitting when things felt uncomfortable. Through the practice of yoga, I became present, calm, and positive. I could sit with discomfort, live intentionally, and match my actions with my values. At this point, Chris and I decided we’d like to be parents.

Practicing yoga in Canada


After Italy, Bulgaria, and Belgium, Chris and I returned home after a year of travel. The next day, I took a positive pregnancy test. Indicative of our naivety to how a baby overhauls your entire existence, we planned to house-sit in Brisbane for a few months, top up our travel funds, and return to the digital nomad life in Greece with our friends in 2020. That did not happen.

Though we always had a place to stay, we were effectively homeless for the first four months until we found a home. The stress of this instability manifested for me as crippling back pain. I spent my first pregnancy in isolation. As gyms and pools and prenatal yoga classes closed, my muscle strength deteriorated as the pregnancy hormone relaxin rendered my body unstable and prone to injury. I thought I could do my own yoga, but without knowledge of the pregnant body, this did more harm than good. I was hospitalised with sciatica and suffered through excruciating pelvic pain (symphysis pubis dysfunction). I was lonely and depressed but my baby seemed to thrive, so health professionals deemed my pregnancy healthy.

Early in my pregnancy with Artie

A traumatic hospital experience

That hospital trip for sciatica was traumatic. My back had been really tight that week. I did a few yoga stretches to loosen it up. I went for a walk. But it got more and more painful until my body seized and I collapsed on the footpath. My dad tried to take me to physio but they had no availability and when I still couldn’t move after a few hours in bed, he called the ambulance. I was taken to the maternity ward and once they confirmed the baby was healthy, I was left in the emergency ward overnight. The nerve pain felt like my whole body was folding in on itself. I screamed for help and was told to be quiet. I left hospital the next morning with pain medication, no answers, and a deep fear of being vulnerable in the hands of strangers.

This was my initiation into the world of maternal healthcare – it seems as though women are worthy of check-ins and testing insofar as we are incubators for babies. Not as goddesses; miracle-makers continuing the human race. We sacrifice our goals and financial status, head knowingly into the realm of pain, transform our bodies and brain chemistry. Only to be forgotten after a cursory six-week check-up where we are lectured on birth control and encouraged to stop selfishly depriving our partners of sex. But, I digress.

40+4 weeks pregnant

Becoming empowered for birth

After uninspiring hospital antenatal classes via Zoom, Chris encouraged me to do a hypnobirthing course. Here, I learnt how powerful the female body is, how everything we need is within us to bring life into the world, and that as the birthing mother, I get to make decisions to shape my own experience. It is the responsibility of the health team to inform me of potential risks, benefits, and alternatives but to ultimately defer to my individual needs. I felt empowered. I realised that the typical prenatal health care process seeks neither to empower, nor overly educate, nor nurture mothers. If only more women could be supported, informed, and empowered to thrive as they navigate the tumultuous path towards motherhood. 

At almost 41 weeks, I had an uncomplicated labour and gave birth to my beautiful, healthy baby boy, Arthur. You can listen to my birth story here.