I was really nervous on Saturday about making my speech at the Niagara Regional Access Symposium. The fact that I was just after lunch really piled on the pressure. I didn't have a prepared speech, just a list of points to cover, as I wanted my talk to sound genuine and unscripted.
The ladies at my table were very encouraging, as they all were looking forward to hearing about my adventures. My voice quivered a bit for the first 5 minutes as I did my intro and tried to find a way to link all the threads of my thoughts, but as time went on and I discussed my adventures, it flowed really well. The best thing was looking at the crowd and seeing them smile and be quite attentive as I told them some of the funny stories of my travels and how people have reacted to a solo disabled backpacker.
Russ, my former high school math teacher, and host of the event, had provided a copy of "Travels in a Blue Chair" as the early bird door prize and I autographed it for the winner, who's friend had claimed it in her absence. The feedback was really great afterwards and I answered as many questions as I could in the time allotted.
The event was recorded on tape and Russ said he would forward a copy to me. When that happens, I will try to enlist my geeky friends, Geoff and Tim, to upload the speech on YouTube.
A woman asked for a copy to review, but I mentioned that I didn't have any copies to provide as I have self-published the book. That is one of the big problems about this type of publishing, but the alternative is that no one would ever get to read of my adventures.
When I returned home tonight, I read a really great email from Ron in Grimsby who said he thought I had a positive message to tell and that he hoped it would rub off on him....I am sure that it already has!! Thanks Ron, for the great comment on my YouTube B.T. interview!
All in all it was a really POSITIVE event and I want to thank Russ and the committee to inviting me to speak!