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Unconventional Optometrists - Simon Duong and Alison Su

14 May 2021 9:03 PM | Anonymous

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into optometry         

Simon: Like a lot of people, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do after high school. But the reason why I end up picking optometry was because pretty much everyone in my family – parents, sister, grandparents, uncles and aunties all wear glasses. I on the other hand somehow ended up emmetropic so I thought maybe I could become an optometrist to help the family out.

Where can we follow your adventures?

Instagram - @campingwithus

Video of our van build:

How did you get into what you’re doing in your time outside optometry?

Being optometrists, we do spend majority if not all of our working day cooped up inside a room. Both of us love being outdoors so we try to get out when we can to balance it out and mobilize those joints that get stiff from sitting all day.

Our van life journey started when NSW went into lockdown last year. Like majority of us we weren’t able to work. Being locums we both didn’t have work for a few months so we decided be productive and tick off a bucket list item which is to travel Australia in a van. We needed a van first of course so we started researching, learning from youtube videos and ended up spending about 3 months building our travel home.

Tell us about your most memorable experiences 

One of my (Simon) favourite hobby is fishing. Being able to travel to all places in Australia allows me to target different species that are more local to a certain area. When we went down to Victor Harbor in South Australia, I wanted to tick off Bluefin Tuna off my list. Managed to hook up a 15kg fish and we spent the next week trying to finish eating it. We love being able to rock up to a place, pull out a chair and table, eat what we catch and enjoy the beautiful scenery Australia has to offer.

Do you find it easy to juggle your optometry career and your other passions?

Both of us have locummed for at 5+ years now and it has its ups and downs. One of the reasons why we decided to locum was because it gives us the flexibility to travel. I guess we are quite lucky to be able to do what we do as there aren’t many professions that allow you to take months off at a time. There are times where jobs can be scarce but in general, we try to load up on jobs during the busier periods and take time off when it gets quieter. So far it has worked well for us.

Does time away from optometry help you appreciate it more?

We definitely think so, we both love what we do at work but at times you do feel burnt out so it really helps to get away from it every now and then.

Do you have any advice for young optometrists out there who would like to pursue their passion but haven’t quite gotten started?

Just do it! If you keep holding off for whatever reasons there will always be a reason to not do it. Sometimes it just takes a leap of faith to get the ball rolling. Be open minded and flexible. Live with no regrets.

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