Where in the world are you? I'm currently in Omaha, NE, US (AKA the Silicon Prairie)
What stage of your career are you at? This is an interesting question to ponder. I've been designing voice user interfaces for going on 11 years now, and am a SME and senior design here, but I don't necessarily feel like that's my career stage overall, primarily because I don't have nearly as much practical experience in some of the areas I consider essential aspects that I'd need on my CV to try to move into the same level position elsewhere.
What are you current challenges? This could be a book For me career-wise I'd say that it's that I'm a Voice interface person (though, there's probably a good argument that at this exact moment in time, that's actually a big positive given how hard Google and Amazon and the like are moving on voice assistants right now) it's such a niche area that a lot of the tools and research literature that's out there for visual UX just isn't for voice, and I find trying to figure out how to translate my work into a portfolio to be a challenge. Project-wise I'd say it's how silo-ed a lot of the companies I do work for are when it comes to user experiences in multiple contact channels.
What aspect/s of UX are passionate about? I love the problem/puzzle solving nature of designing experiences, but I suppose I end up being most passionate about trying to make sure that the user gets the right experience that is optimized for the contact channel that they have chosen and is has context of what they've done before. I've lost count of the number of times I've wanted to scream when someone tries to speechify the web experience, or ignore the fact that the web tells a caller to call for certain tasks, and then the top of a voice app forces everyone to listen to a message trying to direct them back to the website as though users have no idea a company would have a website.
Cats or dogs? Rats.