Lightening The Backpack


Hola Amigas,

Argh! Decisions are hard sometimes aren’t they? Especially the ones that require letting go of something you once imagined for yourself. Mostly, I try to keep decisions simple. I keep mine and our children’s daily lives close to home, I wear somewhat of a uniform (currently leggings and a woolly jumper) and I am a creature of habit in the kitchen!

But every now and then we need to make a big one.

Last year I enrolled in a Masters of Public Health. I always imagined this would be my next step academically. Nicely following on from my Science, Education and Midwifery background.

Truth be told I needed something. Something to take me towards, well, ‘something’.

I didn’t quite know what to do with myself. Blogging wasn’t quite what it used to be, finding work that suited my skills and family a challenge in itself. I learnt I’m really not the entrepreneurial type. And truth be told after coming off the Camino for One Girl everything seemed empty, capturing the essence of that, of creating something so magical again – I didn’t know how to do it. I felt invisible and trapped by previous decisions.

So I peeked in a few doors.

One of those doors was to begin a Masters Program. I did manage one unit and it felt good to be writing, learning and engaging with challenging discussion. However, I found myself deferring unit after unit. Deep down I knew it wasn’t really where I wanted to go. Perhaps the timing was wrong or perhaps it’s that I’ve changed.

Certainly, I have changed the notion of how we can educate ourselves.

When I was younger my mentors were University professors. I was always in awe of their knowledge, compassion and ability to connect me with material, not only in an academic but also a reflective way.

I need mentors! I’m the curious type. I am addicted to learning, growing, challenging myself, my ideas and how I can apply them to my life and work. However, during the second unit I realised I wasn’t going to find mentors in this program. Sad, isn’t it. In a Public Health program I felt there wasn’t a lot of compassion, care and understanding. What there was, was plenty of ego, competition and academic writing with little value for reflection nor consideration for or of people.

I get it. It is an online, worldwide program. It needs to tick the boxes to ‘pass’ the students. Perhaps, if I’d stuck at it longer I may have crossed paths with that mentor or student who would have steered me forward, engaged me, captured me – inspired me.


So – this morning with Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Say Goodbye’ (I’m ceremonial like that ) I send the email to withdraw from my masters. Not simply to defer a subject, but to let go of the entire program. Since my 20’s I thought I’d one day hold a Masters in Public Health. Today in my 40’s, I know I tried. But it wasn’t for me, not now, not anymore. These days I learn and am inspired by people who share their intellect bravely.  By those who are sharing their creativity – in words hugged by heart and vulnerability (sometimes with a sprinkle of magic and imagination). For it is when these elements are considered with academia they have meaning. Deep meaning.

This one decision makes it easier to make the next one. The one where I have to let go of my midwifery registration. It was a gift to spend part of my life working with women in childbearing. I learnt something from every single woman I worked with. In reality I could not have created this new life of ours without learning to let go. Life does not move forward for me without emptying the backpack from time to time. It simply becomes too heavy.


As is always the case when we move forward with a lighter load, new opportunities await. It is the reason the trees shed in winter – to prepare for the new growth in Spring (a shot form this morning of new friend who has started dropping by for a chat). At any given time I imagine we have many opportunities and of course I speak with the luck of privilege. I am aware of that. Aware in a way that the opportunities I take must not be based on ego but soul. By what not only feels right for me, but is also in the right direction. Forward towards creating a more just world.

How are things with you?

Buen camino,

Fran x



One thought on “Lightening The Backpack”

  1. Hi Fran. It’s interesting how a change of location alters the course that you had set in your head. I always thought I would go back and study but in a totally different field than in which I had been. Couldn’t do it though. Looked at so many courses and options but never pressed that button.
    For me, it was finding my connection to the community, to fit in, into a world of people I had never met. So, I starting hunting business in which I wanted to work. Local businesses that were ethical, environmental, fun, purposeful and sustainable. I was hoping that was going to be OzHarvest (food rescue organisation) and while I did contract work for them it wasn’t the hands on work I wanted. Not being in Sydney didn’t help. So back I went. And like so many of my jobs in my life I simply went in and asked. And now I’m working for Pearls of Australia , the only pearl farm in NSW. I have learnt so much about something I had no knowledge of at all. I play with Pearls, work on the farm, cruise out on the Hawkesbury, meet people and educate them about pearls. And they are a company that has values, they ensure they manage a sustainable farm and they aim to be carbon neutral in time. What a breath of fresh air ( well … apart from all the smoke atm) it has been and I am really enjoying. Took two years.
    It takes time Fran so go with the flow, enjoy the lull time and keep walking to Rome! The next opportunity, I am sure, will present itself. Enjoy your new house and keep nurturing the nest. ❤


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