Lauren Dionysius is a 30-something Registered Nurse chasing bigger dreams. She’s passionate about writing, bikram yoga and wholefood nutrition and is in the process of combining these into her dream career. She lives in Bundaberg, Queensland but travels regularly overseas seeking new life experiences, from volunteering in Africa, or a writing retreat in Italy, to yoga in Bali, and studying nutritional healing in the USA. She thrives on growth and deepening her awareness of world we live in. She is a writer, an editor & a hungry soul searcher.
Lauren is also the winner of last year’s Umoja Writing Competition. She said, “My love for writing started as a ten year old with a bizarre, if not somewhat obsessive, collection of pens, rubber erasers and pretty paper. Even at school, I was fascinated by how words looked on paper and enjoyed the task of giving meaning to their order. Later, my nursing studies morphed my creative writing into dull academia, and, as a perpetual uni student who loved to write, I continued on to study a variety of topics including research, photography, clinical nursing, counseling, and most recently, international health. But it wasn’t until I enrolled in a travel writing course that I realised that I didn’t want to write about someone else’s topics anymore, I wanted to write about what was in my heart…
“In 2011, I took a “career break” from nursing to volunteer in Africa doing wildlife conservation and research projects. It was here that my love for travel was united with my creative spark to write my feelings into words and experiences into stories. I recounted my adventures in a blog to share with friends and family back home. I wrote about how Africa changed my view of the world and nudged me to re-evaluate what was important in my life. I soon realised that my life in Australia was inside-out and upside-down. By quitting my day job and leaving that stressful, money-driven life behind, I was free to embrace the vulnerability and uncertainty that is synonymous with Africa. It was the bravest, scariest decision I’ve ever made, but I learned so many life lessons along the way. I learned that living a rich life had little to do with money. Richness came through connections with myself and other people in the form of friendships, relationships, kinships and hardships. I realised that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t “buy myself happy”. Perhaps most importantly though, Africa taught me to be grateful, not guilty, for the opportunities, safety and freedom that was my privileged life back in Australia, one that I’d long taken for granted.
“Since returning from Africa I have kept these lessons close and have worked to apply them to my life here in Australia. I have returned to nursing, but in a position with healthy hours and less money (to match the effort required!), while still continuing to travel overseas. I am surrounded by friends and family and finally understand what having a ‘work-life balance’ really means.”
She draw inspiration from other writers and a wide variety of genres. She gets her “chic lit fix” from Sophie Kinsella and reads Jodi Picoult to absorb life-inspiring messages. Dean Koontz keeps her awake at night jumping at every noise she hears, but his use of language is alluring. She also loves Brene Brown and Eckhart Tolle who allow her to look beyond the words into mind and soul in order to create different words and new stories”.
We thank Lauren for contributing to Umoja Writing Competition blog and wish her the best in her endevours in writing and life. She will be contributing further as a guest blogger so look out for her new posts. She’ll be firstly writing about ‘why we write’ and then giving us an experienced insight into volunteering overseas. We look forward to her next posts.