I nearly did a PhD and my wife did one.
When people talk about needing a burning passion, they say that because successfully completing a PhD is usually an ordeal.
It sounds like you'd like to start a PhD. A significant number of people (more than is normally acknowledged) start but never complete it. Because a PhD is probably going to be the largest single project you will have started in your life up to this point.
Passion helps, because having passion lets you push through long hours of "extra" work that you need to do. You might be expected to do some work for the university/laboratory that is not your PhD. You might need to mark essays, take tutorials, etc. And these things are fun at first, but they are a drag longer term. Like say over the 3 - 5 years your PhD will take.
Without good project management, good discipline, "passion", etc in the mix, you will likely fail to complete the PhD or you will take 5 years and the university will start hassling you and the stipend will stop. The other thing you'll need is to be good/patient/put up with writing. You need to write a lot, in a scientific style (assuming you are doing a scientific PhD which is what I have experience with).
I did a bachelor degree with an honours year. Which in my field at the time, was like doing a 1 year PhD, with everything a lot smaller. You had to do a lit review, carry out research, etc and write it all up. I was a capable student who was not super well motivated. During that first year, I learned a lot of skills that I have continued to use. Critical thinking in statistics, algorithmic thinking, understanding constraints. These skills were related to the field and the project itself.
However writing up the honours thesis was a pain. I learned that I'm not good at proper scientific writing. I was okay at it in undergrad where you basically regurgitate what you are shown to do. But especially compared to my (now) wife, I wasn't dedicated, I wasn't a good scientific communicator, I wasn't a good editor, and I know know that I wasn't writing with a good hierarchy of information. The day my thesis was due, I was still finishing it (still writing some parts), and I had stress cramps in my calves. I knew at that point that while I'd like to do a PhD, I wouldn't be good at doing one. I felt like a massive failure, and I started working to help support my wife.
I now know that it would have been a terrible choice to start a PhD. I would probably not have finished it. I would have hated it. I didn't have the maturity and passion to do it justice, and honestly being focused on a single burning question for 5 years is not something I would have enjoyed at all. By the end I would have hated it.
But doing the honours year was fantastic. Both personally, and because it allowed me to realise that I wasn't cut out for scientific research. I moved into an adjacent field and have done pretty well.
So my suggestion would be to look at doing a Masters. Often you can do a masters by research (once again, assuming it's in science, not sure if this exists in other fields) and then transition into a PhD if it's going well. Be honest with yourself.
If you want to go to conferences, there's lots of jobs where you can go to conferences. If you want to hang out with smart people, there's lots of other jobs where you can do that. Doing a PhD correlates with intelligence. But generally people who do PhDs are scientists who want to work in the field, people who want to do academics, or even older people who always wanted to do one. The bulk are going to be the first two.
Lastly, be careful what you wish for. Things that seem ideal in a job (like travelling interstate/internationally for work) when you are 20 are a massive drag when you are 30.