Toastmasters Icebreaker Ribbon

Toastmasters Icebreaker Ribbon

Since I’ve been back in London I’ve been keeping busy. Mostly with work but I have also been developing the next stage of ideas related to The Great Game Expedition.

One of this activities has been public speaking and recently I gave my first Icebreaker speech at Toastmasters.


How I found my passion in life

Madam Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

Just how do you find your passion in life?

Where do you look? Do you look at others? Do you look at yourself? Do you look inside yourself?

Where is the guidance? As far as I know there is no guidebook? Where do you look for inspiration?

Do you look back in history? Do you look at everyday life? or Do you look to the future?

Do we even know what we are looking for? If we don’t know what we are looking for, how are we supposed to find it?

To help explain how I found my passion in life, let me take you back in time to my childhood.

Growing up in New Zealand, there never seemed to be any rush. I was young, life was all about having fun, and there was no need to worry about the future.  I was free to explore the open spaces and great outdoors. Walking, canoeing, rafting and any other sport imaginable was right there on my doorstep. The world was an adventurous place and I enjoyed an active lifestyle.

I was able to do the things I loved.

This was my first important lesson.  – Remember to do the things you love to do

New Zealand was great fun but the time eventually came to head overseas. I headed to the UK full of excitement and with a burning ambition to explore the world for the two years that my work permit would allow me to stay.

12 years later I found myself still here… As time has past, careers and relationships had taken a higher priority. My dreams and adventures had taken a back seat. The cold, wet and grey London winters, at a time of year that I grew up basking in the sun, had a depressing effect. I’d found myself caught up in the rat race.

I realised was unhappy, and unsatisfied with my life. All around me my friends were settling down whereas I still didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

Sure I’d travelled, I’d been to some amazing places and met amazing people but I felt as though I hadn’t found my true calling, my passion in life. All of a sudden my life was flying by and I felt like I was still searching.

There just seemed to be too many distractions.

This was my second important lesson.  – There will be many distractions along the way. You must remember to have patience.

At the time I felt the urge to escape, to explore the outdoors and open spaces of the world, like those of my childhood. 

Then in mid 2010 during a break between contracts, the opportunity to escape presented itself. I didn’t have any work lined up so I decided to visit my cousin in Canada. Over the course of a week, my planned two week trip to Canada turned into a 6 month journey around the world. I’d always dreamed of exploring South America and now was my chance. 6 weeks later I was on a plane and on my way.

There were many memorable adventures but the one stands out was the day I found myself in El Chalten in southern Patagonia. El Chalten is a small Argentinean mountain town that is surrounded by the awe-inspiring, majestic, snow capped, Andes mountain range. A simply stunning part of the world.

I headed out early one morning by myself to explore. It was an overcast day, the sun was struggling to break through the clouds, but it was warm and there was a crisp freshness in the air.

Midway through the morning the weather turned for the worst and I found myself being battered by wind, rain and snow along the trail. I was just about to turn back when the tune to the Lone Ranger shuffled onto my iPod.

[Queue: Play tune The Lone Ranger tune – William Tell Overture Finale]

I took it as a sign and the next thing I knew I was running through the middle of a storm having a brilliant time.

What was meant to be a casual three hour walk, ended up being an epic seven hour run across the Fitzroy mountain range, battling against all the elements and returning home soaked to the bone. It was adventure in its purest form and I was as happy as a pig in shit.

Travelling had encouraged me to have an open mind and be open to opportunities.

This was my third important lesson.  – Remember to keep an open mind to life’s opportunities and watch out for those unusual signs.

It was a day later while I was sitting on a bus thinking to myself, that I had the epiphany, this was what I loved doing. Exploring the world, meeting new people and discovering new cultures. My passion was travel, adventure and exploration.

It was a moment I still remember vividly to this day. A realisation that came from listening to my inner voice. The voice I discovered when I have the space to think clearly. And it was my escape that enabled me to create that space.

Right then and there I made a promise to myself to continue to live a life full of adventure upon my returned to London. I wouldn’t just slip back into the rat race. I would continue to listen to that inner voice.

This was my forth important lesson.  – Remember to take the time to listen to your inner voice and create the right space to hear it.

These were the lessons I went through to find my passion in life. It was a long journey but a worthwhile one. In the end I discovered just how passionate I was about travel, adventure, and exploration.

So in conclusion, if you want to find your passion…

  1. Do the things you love to do.
  2. Have patience, as there will be many distractions along the way.
  3. Keep an open mind to life’s opportunities and watch out for unusual signs.
  4. Take the time to listen to your inner voice and create the right space to hear it.

And most importantly, remember to keep looking… because…

Often your passion will appear, right there in front of you, where it has been all along.

Nod to Toastmaster


This speech took me several weeks to prepare and in the end it was just 6 minutes and 22 seconds long. In one months time I’m speaking at the HUBB UK Overlanders event where I’ve got a 40 minute slot… eeek!!

Future Talks

If you would like to hear me speak about my journey I’ll be presenting at the following events over the coming months. Please do come along at it would be great to meet you in person.


Saturday 21st / Sunday 22nd June

Location: Donington Park Farmhouse Hotel

Explorers Connect

Thursday 10th July

Location: The Spectator, 6 Little Britain, The City, London, EC1A 7BX (St Pauls) Drinks will be held in a private bar downstairs

Tales of Adventure

Thursday 14th August

Location: TBC
 – Central London (The Strand)

4 Responses to “How I Found My Passion In Life”

  1. Great stuff Jon. I myself have had similar epiphanies over the years, and like you, continue to do things my way, and that usually is the Highway!
    Cheers fella, and good luck with future speeches.

  2. Thought provoking and well written as usual Oosil. Nice one.

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