FTSF, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Memoir and Reflections, TGIF, Writing

Oh August! #FTSF

It’s August and I get giddy at the thought of autumn approaching ever closer, like a week ago when the night air felt like fall. Others disagree strongly and hate to see summer come to an end.

Otherwise, I eat fresh peaches, on top of soft serve vanilla ice cream and I inhale the flavours, eagerly waiting for the apples of September to ripen.

But then I remember what I’ve been working on, including one project that I hope will take my writing to a whole new level and I change to a nervous, anxious feeling.

By the end of this month I will have sent in two more drafts to publications I hope to see my finish product appearing on soon. I work on these in little chunks, wanting to write convincingly on my trip to the Yukon and to accurately portray the special bond I had with my guide dog for so many years.

I must locate photos to go with my words, a task made all the trickier because I cannot see them. I must read over contracts and worry about giving up the wrong things, while also signing and returning them with my permission. Getting paid has its drawbacks, but I won’t complain, just as long as everything goes smoothly.

Seriously, I worry too much about things that might happen or not happen come September.

I won’t likely see the total solar eclipse taking place on August 21st, the one many are driving long distances to view and that which many writers will no doubt pitch and write about.

It’s August and I can’t believe my nephews are now four and five years old consecutively. This is the month of both their births. Special and memorable. The older one had a breakdown when his foil birthday balloon got caught in an updraft and was gone, “up to its home, the sun” my nephew said, between bouts of sadness and tears and a wisdom of loss he’s picked up somewhere wonderful.

Dinosaurs. Curious George. These boys make my life better.

So I’m back to deadlines and working to control my expectations and impatience. I must buckle down and write, edit, and write some more.

I am dying to announce my upcoming published pieces along with their locations. I am proud of the publications that have decided to help this newly budding writer. If I do though, I fear (logically or not) that something will go wrong and my announcement being premature.

Instead, I focus and I try my best. I fear letting someone down, myself mostly. I have, in some ways, had one of the better summers in a long time, though I won’t see the results of this until autumn comes.

It’s August, the end of another week, and time for another
Finish the Sentence Friday
with Kristi from Finding Ninee and the rest of the FTSF gang.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, History, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, RIP, Special Occasions, Spotlight Saturday, TToT, Writing

TToT: Spectrum of Splendid Great Yellow #OrganDonation #10Thankful

“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”

—Neil Gaiman

TEDxToronto – Drew Dudley “Leading with Lollipops”

I am leading off my list of thankfuls this week with a story about lollipops.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a visit with family on a hard day.

Another year of summertime sadness comes around.

How does one provide solace? Flowers? A well written note? How about, a visit with a little baby?

There’s nothing like the sweet face of a baby to make people think of the good, but music playing and memories shared can also help.

I’m thankful for a long coffee/smoothie chat with a friend.

We speak at our writing group, but this was a nice chance to have a conversation, just the two of us.

I owed her a coffee for reading over my short story I recently submitted, but we ended up talking for very nearly three hours.

We talked about writing, cats, and our possibility of ending up the stereotypical old cat ladies someday.

It’s hard when you see family and friends, all coupling up, getting married, and starting families. It’s nice to speak to people who understand how it doesn’t all come so easily for some of us.

I’m thankful for feedback from an editor.

I was fearing my draft wasn’t what the editor wanted or expected, but she seemed happy with things, for the most part.

Could I work on the ending? Well, sure. I do appreciate feedback from an editor and that’s what I got.

Now to think how to end the piece. Hmm.

I’m thankful for a pleasant pitch surprise email.

I saw a call for pitches about the special relationship we have with our animals and I thought (since it’s ten years since my guide dog died) this would be the perfect time to write about her. I sent the pitch out the day before I left to visit the Yukon, more than a month ago. After a few weeks I didn’t think I was going to hear back. I figured the answer was a “no”.

I’d been expecting to hear from that first editor, but coming home to an email from this second one was such a welcomed surprise.

The subject matter is perfect and the pay is not bad at all either.

I’m thankful for a first successful conference call with people I know I’m going to learn from.

There were several of us calling in and it made it difficult to all get a chance to speak, not over each other either. Still, I think this will be good for me.

This organization gets together to discuss the topics that are relevant and might be of some interest.

Then we decide who’s going to write what. I offered to write a review for a book someone has written. I think I can handle that as my first assignment with VisionAware and I like reading and learning about self publishing.

Then I get to interview the writer. I think this will be an excellent opportunity for me to learn some editing skills and how to divide up work, to figure out who is the best person to write specific pieces.

Anyway, all of them seem like highly intelligent and curious people from many different walks of life. I can only benefit from that.

I’m thankful when the pain eases.

After two days of it, intense as it is, I can come out of it on the other side and view the rest of the pain I live with in a new light.

I can learn new lessons from the pain, even after all these years.

I’m thankful for another lovely talk with my neighbour.

We are almost forty years apart in age, but somehow we have arrived at this moment in time with similar outlooks on life, from some of the things we’ve both been through.

We both discussed what we know we deserve and the lessons we’ve had to learn, often the hard way, to arrive at this conclusion.

We are both on our own, sometimes uncertain whether we can do it, but that’s why I am glad we’ve found a friend in one another.

I’m thankful for a reminder of friendship.

It’s really one of those little Facebook friend reminders, but someone chose to share theirs with me.

Our first connecting online, then in person, but it all matters, adding up to the relationship of mutual respect we have today.

Sometimes, when I don’t get stuck reading the battles going on in comment sections of breaking news stories, I really do like Facebook. I like those I follow on it even more.

I’m thankful for a beautiful word from my mentor.

Sometimes, her words of advice or encouragement just completely blow me away.

I needed to hear those exact ones, as I prepare to work on the pieces I’m writing throughout the summer. I need to know other people have faith in me, then to build that faith in myself too. It is all necessary to believe I can do the work I have set out for myself.

I’m thankful for four years gone by.

Somewhere out there
are my family’s Angels.

Another year and my brother has graduated and is on his way into radio and so much more.

Think about organ donation. It isn’t the easiest thing to think about, but it matters to someone.

Low – Cracker

Here’s to all the lost angels, either from suicide or accidents. RIP and you are missed.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Spotlight Sunday

The Lovable Punk, #JusJoJan

In April it will be ten years since my guide dog Croche passed away from cancer. After she died, I grieved and was lonely. This loneliness made me want another dog, but I couldn’t even think of going for another guide dog. I decided I wanted a little lap dog. I never could have imagined what I would get.

Zhd8IE6.jpg

Dobby, you are a pain in the butt. You really are. You’re so possessive, but you’re just my pet. You don’t control what I do or with whom I do it with.

Sounds harsh, but lately he has been super protective of me, not letting me have any sort of social life whatsoever. He annoys the hell out of my company, family and friends, dates. He bugs me so much, but I have had him for nearly nine years now and I am no dog trainer, even if it weren’t looking like it is pretty much too late at this advanced date anyway.

Did you drive away past men in my life? Well, okay, I can’t say that, though sometimes it feels like he helped, even in his own way.

I love Dobby. I named him after a character from Harry Potter and many people have complimented on what a cute dog he is, until they spend any real time with him I must add.

He barks madly at any visitor I happen to invite into my home. He thinks he must protect me and our house from any intruders, even though I told them to enter. Whereas, if I really had an unwelcome someone stopping by, for any less than welcomed reason, I doubt he would be able to protect me at all.

Sometimes he feels like a stocker dog, following me wherever I go, unless he can get a bit of the cat’s food or sneak into the litter box. So gross.

Some guard dog. He is not a guide dog. But…he is my dog. Boyfriends have come and gone, but Dobby is here to stay.

I just sometimes wish he could take it down a few degrees. I truly wonder what is wrong with him. You have to see it to believe it.

When I heard the prompt word for this second week of
Just Jot It January
I immediately thought of my Dobby.

What aa mongrel!

Week two of this month-long blogging exercise is commencing, of which I’ve only written twice for this year because of other things requiring my attention, but today it’s being guest hosted by
Dan of No Facilities.

I may be back again, a time or two, but the prompt today just seemed to fit,
which came from this here website.

I’m stuck with my punk of a dog, lovable and yet so incredibly irritating, all at the same time.

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1000 Voices Speak For Compassion, Bucket List, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir and Reflections, Piece of Cake, Spotlight Saturday, The Insightful Wanderer, Travel

International Day For Persons with Disabilities 2016, #IDPD2016

Helen Keller…Stevie Wonder…Ray Charles…Rick Hansen…Stephen Hawking…

The Rick Hansen Foundation

There are so many more of us out here, only looking to have rich, full lives like anyone else, but what often stops us is not only society’s barriers, but our own.

***

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world. The theme for this year’s International Day is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want” . This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

***

One note on the society part – some of you may not want to think a lot about it, if you don’t have to, because then it becomes clear that the possibility for anyone to become disabled is indeed a possibility for anyone..

I am a Canadian woman, living with a disability. I didn’t acquire my disability through an accident later in life. I did not develop it overtime, but from birth and still, who knows which direction my remaining vision might take.

On the day before the
United Nation’s International Day For PErsons with Disabilities
I felt a tired feeling that I sometimes get. I panic and assume my sight is worsening, but I am not sure, if that makes any real sense. I close my eyes and decide I will try to get back in to see my retinal specialist soon.

I don’t know what, if anything, he will be able to tell me, offer me as hope that I won’t be completely blind one day. He will probably see no changes or signs of the mysterious eye disease that took my left eye twenty years ago. He will speak to me of gene therapies in various stages of development, but I don’t know what hope lies in that for me. Maybe it will be my future. Maybe not. I’ve learned not to bank on anything.

That’s a part of my DNA, just like the genetic eye disease. I am conditioned to either think the worst or simply not want to hope for the things I may really really want, always fearing that the disappointment from possibly not getting them will break me. It hasn’t broken me yet, which does give me reason to be optimistic though.

I wanted to be able to see the truly unique show violinist Lindsey Stirling put on recently. Instead, I listened to all I could and relied on my helpful sister to fill in the blanks. I wanted to throw my white cane away and yelled my displeasure, and through the wish, but instead I sat and listened even harder.

I want to draw like I used to when I saw colours and when everything in my world was more clearly and brightly defined. I can’t. I want to scream in frustration but I’m resigned instead.

I want to take up the latest craze of adult colouring books, but I don’t.

Of course, nothing is really stopping me. I may not, as an adult, see the lines I may have hardly seen as a child, which are now nearly invisible to me. I could still get myself a Harry Potter or any number of other themed colouring books with a theme which fits my interest, and be damned if I miss colouring in the lines by a mile.

But I don’t. I don’t scream or rail at the world in an uproar. I find other ways to spend my time.

I want to travel and to go through life with an independent spirit and loads of self confidence, but I don’t. I try and I work at it, but I’m scared.

I find a travel series, a BBC documentary, available to me on Netflix. It’s Stephen Fry, whom I love, and he is doing a road trip across the United States in his British cab. I know him from his narration of the Harry Potter books and for his intelligent and witty character. After watching him visit all 50 states I now know he hates being on a horse, dancing, and skiing. He loves science and culture and literature.

Stephen Fry In America

I watch him on his trip and I long to go on one of my own, but I fear getting lost in the big, expansive world and I worry that my white cane will attract only pity. I want to grip it with extra determination and go anyway. It’s all in my attitude, right?

I can’t drive a cab across the country. I want to believe I will see more of the world anyway, even without definition of sight.

I don’t try to revisit childhood experiences of mine by colouring. Instead, I watch a travel show which I’ve heard of but only now decided to give a chance.

HELLO GOODBYE, #HelloGoodbye

The host speaks to one woman in her sixties, widowed after her late husband’s long battle with illness, but who has now found new love with a man from England. Her happiness is infectious. Her newly found love walks down the ramp in the arrivals terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport and gets down on one knee. Love is lost and can be found again.

I feel warm just by watching and listening to her story.

The host also speaks to a young man and his parents. The son is on his way to participate in Rio, at the Paralympics. He was paralyzed from a diving accident and now plays wheelchair rugby.

And then there was the grandmother, daughter, and grandson saying their goodbyes. The young guy and his mother are heading back to Britain after a visit with Grandma. The mother has RP (Retinitis Pigmentosa). She carries a cane, but the son speaks of wanting his mother to have companionship with a guide dog, as he will soon be going out on his own and doesn’t want her to be alone. He has worried about her safety all his life. She admits to being unsure about going for a guide dog once they get back home, but her son’s words cause her to rethink things.

She grips her white cane. I grip mine. She has been losing sight for years. I’ve been blind since birth and losing since. Am I any further along in accepting my circumstances and my white cane than she is?

People ask me all the time if I am ever going to get another guide dog. I don’t quite know what to say. Yes, they may provide the necessary confidence boost for many. I consider it.

I don’t think any dog will ever compare to my Croche, But is that all it is?

I can’t put another animal through what I put Croche through. She was so well trained and so fittingly suited in temperament. She was given to me and I was trusted with her. A lot went into all that. We were a team, but I failed her.

My ever growing illnesses caused me to sleep and her to dutifully stay by my side, but she was prevented from shining. She was my pal, but I don’t take the responsibility of a working dog lightly. I don’t know what my future will bring and I can’t bring myself to bringing another animal into that.

I want to curse what stops me, but what often stops me is me. And so I would just end up cursing myself, again and again.

Or, I could take hold of my white cane and use it for betterment, for working for some of my dreams, and for hardening my resolve and building my often feeble confidence.

My feelings of shame when I walk with my cane are hard to describe and hard to fight off. I will never be happy if I don’t try. Fear and disappointment stop me from even trying. What a waste that would be.

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Blogging, Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, IN THE NEWS AND ON MY MIND, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday, The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge

Social Media

It’s Monday and time for another Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge.
Before I get to the answer to today’s question,

Redefining Disability on Facebook.

Rose is the brains behind this whole thing,

The Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

but I invite anyone who is interested in this subject to feel free to visit, not only her original post, but also the extended community I hope will grow on Facebook.
I read Rose’s questions and have been answering them, along with others, but I think a Facebook page could be a wonderful place to share posts and articles about disability.
I think RDAC and the Facebook page are a place to redefine what disability means to the people who live it, to bring awareness to the issues that surround it, and to express the challenges that come up when living with any sort of disability imaginable.
Hope to talk to you all there.
***
Q: What would you like the general public to know about your disabilities, disability in general, or any other relevant subject?
A: I have been seeing a lot of stories on the news lately.
There have been the multiple features about customers being denied entry into public buildings in Toronto, with their service animals.
Is it up to the police to do anything about this?
What is their duty to enforce the law that a guide dog or any other service animal is legally permitted in any public space?
I have had this happen to me in the past. I can feel these people’s outrage, to be denied the right to enter a cafe, to get something to eat, with their guide.
Then there was the story of a cafe which is run by all visually impaired workers.
The workers say, in the piece, they want to illustrate to the customers and the world that people with visual impairment are just as capable as anyone else.
People in the piece said they made excellent coffee.
I make coffee all the time. I can understand why they want to showcase this to the world. I think it’s great, but I didn’t like that there was a part of me which felt they could become a thing of entertainment. People sitting there and enjoying the show of blind people trying to serve their customers.
Are these stories becoming entertainment, like watching animals in the zoo?
I know, I know. This could all be in my own head and I don’t mean to be over-sensitive.
I just felt strange, as I watched all these stories on the news over the past few weeks.
In my gut, I understand, it’s important and it’s all a series of steps to educate and eventually enough awareness will make them see…
The stories and the feel-good articles are increasing, more and more lately.
On one hand I like that attention is bring awareness. I don’t wish for any “but” I might add to take away from that fact.
So I say however…
🙂
I feel an undercurrent, a squirming in my stomach as I sense the awareness heightening and the barriers being removed.
I want the public to know everything these media covered stories have been speaking about. I feel the urge to educate, to protest, and to advocate.
Then I feel the discomfort that I have to do this at all.
I think, I worry, that these stories are becoming our feel-good dose of the warm-and-fuzzies for us all, a mass media love-fest.
As someone with one of these disabilities, I realize a lot of this is my own issue, my own unresolved issues.
I want to show this discomfort in one more example:
I came across this article in the Huffington Post.
Is this real? Is it true? How authentic is this?
A woman is going blind and her husband struggles to help her and to go on loving her, the best way he knows how.
Awwww.
Is it right? Is it sweet?
Read for yourselves:

Here
and for the short film, on its own, go
Here.

The acting feels forced. The script feels odd, to me.
People read this stuff and think so many things. I simply have no control on how this sort of thing is seen when it’s put out there for the public’s viewing pleasure.
It makes you feel good to read a headline like that. Publications like the Huffington Post come across stories like this and it’s an immediate jackpot. They know their readers will eat that stuff up with a spoon.
I can certainly understand the way she has of feeling like more of a patient or a child, the sense of feeling like a burden rather than an equal.
I know the sentiment. I just don’t know about its delivery.
I want to have frank and open discussions when I can, which isn’t always possible. It’s more likely that people will see articles and short films on YouTube, coming to their own conclusions, which may or may not help.
Here is the only place I can speak what I feel and know to be true.
Please think about these things when you read or watch them. These situations are rarely simple. They involve feelings and emotions. They are reasons to get worked up, to feel concern, and to register emotions that are often disguised from view.
I want to keep speaking and keep writing because that’s how I can be heard.
***
What are your thoughts on these stories? Do you read articles like this often? How do they make you feel?
Next week:
If you could cure the disabilities that affect your life, would you?
I get asked this question more than most and have all my life.
Stay tuned for the answer, which has evolved some as I’ve gotten older.
And please feel free to like the Facebook page I linked to at the beginning of this post.

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Guest Blogs and Featured Spotlights, Kerry's Causes, Memoir Monday

Discrimination Happens

First week of February: my birthday month and the month I transformed my writing into something more.

Around here, we are receiving a lot of snow right now, last night especially, and this reminded me of those days when a snow day off of school was a big deal.

Ah, the good old days.

🙂

It’s also Groundhog Day today and I think they are at odds with one another and I am too. Can’t seem to agree on how much more snow is to come.

It’s not like I don’t have a sense of humour, but I don’t really pay much attention to the idea, joke or not, of a rodent telling us when winter will officially end.

I suppose they may know something I don’t, being out there in that environment on a daily basis, but I ride out the cold and the snow because I live in Canada and I’ve accepted it. I even like it.

Last week I took a break from my usual Memoir Monday posts. My last one, from two weeks ago now was:

A Day For Dreams.

Now, here is today’s question.

***

Q: Have you experienced discrimination because of disabilities?

A: A lot of times, as I have discussed in previous posts, the discrimination I feel isn’t something outright. It is more of a subtle undercurrent to be felt.

It isn’t appropriate to be directly discriminatory and such behaviours would be generally frowned upon by the rest of society.

However, I have come up against some instances and some people, for whatever reason, that stood out to me, to this day.

First, there were some of the battles and the people my parents went up against to get me into school as a child. This, they met with an expected amount of resistance, but I was too young and unable to witness this, or at least I remember none of it.

Second, there was the time my grandmother took my brother and me out for lunch in our town.

I had a guide dog then. We walked all the way through a restaurant full of customers, sitting at their tables, just to be told that the dog couldn’t be there.

This was a Chinese buffet restaurant. Perhaps there were cultural differences and misunderstandings. I understand. I can be sympathetic.

However, it felt like a humiliation at the time, being told, very quietly I must add, that we could stay but the dog had to go outside.

I did not fight this and neither did my grandmother. She wasn’t really much of a fighter. We ended up all leaving, rather than simply putting my service animal out in the car.

Third, well there was the time a ride operator at an amusement park didn’t want to let my brother and I go on his ride. It wasn’t even one that went up-side-down. I think we got on, but it was another awkward situation.

Fourth, like the Chinese restaurant, there was one more occasion where a pizza parlour did not want my guide dog in and wanted us to tie her up outside.

This time we went home and contacted the head office of the establishment and demanded an apology.

I know not everyone will understand the purpose and the distinction between pet and service animal. There are cultural differences, like the many doctors of Asian or Middle Eastern descent who have walked into my exam room, only to notice the dog there and to be noticeably uncomfortable. This is something I’ve encountered, but they still examined me. I promised my dog wouldn’t attack them and they did their jobs and checked me over and that was that.

🙂

Fifth, there was the recent incident where I wanted to try walking around the outside of the CN Tower in Toronto, only to read on their website that people with visual impairments were on the list of those they did not permit.

This time I wasn’t about to let go and I kept on them, going through the young female operator, her manager, and finally the Operations Manager to plead my case.

I let them know that I could handle it and that I wasn’t about to let it go. I stayed firm and I got through to them. It ended up being one of the best experiences of my life.

And finally, I am working on writing a blog post about the recent experiences we’ve had with descriptive audio services at a local movie theatre. I don’t like to make a scene or a stink and cry “Discrimination” without cause and before I look properly into a situation.

I am learning, as I get older, that I have to stand up for myself and make noise if I want to be heard. If I feel discriminated against, in any way big or small, I need to say something instead of just staying my usual timid, quiet, shy self.

I know most people are good and kind and don’t mean to be discriminatory, but it happens and I want to be prepared and confident enough in myself, for any occasions when it may happen yet again.

These are only a few of the examples I can relay, that I have experienced, as someone born with a visual disability.

***

Next week, for the

Redefining Disability Awareness Challenge,

I answer the opposite of today’s question:

Have you experienced preferential treatment because of disabilities?

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Travel Tuesday, Uncategorized, Writing

Starting Fresh

On this Travel Tuesday here is a little summary, an update on what I am doing to make my dreams become my reality.

In the last week I have taken three steps toward my goal to have a travel blog.

One: I signed up for a twelve-week online travel blogging course, with travel blogger from

A Dangerous Business.

Who knows what I will end up taking away from this experience, but I just wanted to try something different. Networking never hurts and if I can learn anything from someone with success as a travel blogger for over four years, I will be happy. I am always glad to discover others doing what I hope to do.

Two: I finally decided to go for it and make an appointment with a website building business,

Fresh Idea Websites.

This particular company came highly recommended to me, by one of their happy clients. She is a friend and common acquaintance. The three of us went to school together as children and now we are all grown up.

Being a local company, started and run by someone I went to school with. There is that added comfort of that history.

It was strange, sitting across the table and having coffee with this person, for the complimentary consultation he offered. It was a strange thing to listen to his process for finding out what I hope to do with a website, remembering school bus rides and field trips. Now he was so professional and seemed to know what he was doing. This made me feel at ease.

Now we are both grown adults, with lives and career aspirations. He runs this successful local business and I have big dreams as well, thus the reason for our meeting.

I explained to him my plans to write about travel: local and international. I tried my best to clearly relay what my goals are to him and he was extremely accommodating.

I need someone to register a domain name and set up a site, leaving me free to make it into something through my writing and my unique voice and love for the world around me.

We discussed where I wanted to take a website. HE asked if I hope to monetize it. Of course that would be nice. I believe most people, who make the effort of starting a website or blog, have hopes of making a profit.

I can balance my need to write about people and places, my art and passion, with the need to become self-sufficient, even a small amount.

Of course I had to make sure he realized the possible issues with creating a website that would not function with Voiceover and Mac Journal, the special journal program I use to write these blog posts. I believe he even learned something and took something away from our meeting. I just hope this is an achievable situation for us both.

Three: I heard about the opening of the newest chapter of the

Public Speakers Association,

in my town. The announcement was on the radio a few weeks ago and I immediately thought, on hearing it, that I could possibly get something out of this.

I did a fair bit of speaking in front of classroom children, organizations, and groups about my experience having a guide dog. This was a long time ago now, but I always did include public speaking on the list of my skills.

I guess I never found it all that intimidating, as so many do, possibly because I was never able to see all the faces of the people staring at me while I spoke, unlike most people who have a fear of speaking in public. Lucky for me, this meant I never had any need or reason to picture anyone in their underwear.

Since those days I have written and spoke for special occasions, several more times, whether it be a speech at my sister’s wedding or the all-important tributes at a grandparent’s funeral. I knew I could organize and voice my thoughts and direct both toward an audience.

Who knows. A future where I have developed a successful travel website and blog could very well include public speaking and I wondered if this meet-and-greet/open-house for the newest opening chapter in my town could be a good place to start. I thought it couldn’t hurt to attend the free first session and find out what it was all about.

The whole thing was held at a very nice area restaurant, known for serving from a menu full of freshly prepared local items.

Oxford Kitchen Restaurant

The number of attendees was high enough that a general chatter somewhat overwhelmed me, name tags being useless to mostly just myself.

🙂

I listened to what the PSA had to offer, including the three types of public speaking: key-note, marketing, and platform. I had no idea.

I don’t know if I will end up becoming a member because I must keep track of costs right now and there is a fee to join. If I am to ever make any money with a travel blog/website I will need to make smart decisions.

Either way, I may just have made a few beneficial connections with some interesting people, a few people who’ve showed some interest in what I have to say.

I continue to use evenings such as this to work on my shyness and confidence levels and you just never know whom you could potentially meet at these things.

When telling a few people about my current blog I said something like, “I just have a free WordPress blog right now”. Someone pointed out to me that I should refrain from using the word “just” at all.

They were correct, of course. I don’t know why I said that in that way. I love my WordPress blog and “just” is a word better left out, for the most part.

I took steps in the past few days, toward future success as The Insightful Wanderer. I see people going into business for themselves everywhere these days: bloggers, photographers, and indie authors and I want to see if I can do the same. All I know, going forward, is if I don’t try I definitely will not succeed. Sure, there are kinks to be worked out along the way, but I’ll never know if I don’t at least try.

I am willing to take whatever courses I need to take, to learn about business and marketing, and to learn about the travel industry and how it works. I know I have something to offer and through my own unique voice. I am starting fresh, in this, my favourite season. Autumn feels like a new beginning, as spring often brings rebirth and renewal.

I started HerHeadache and I love writing the things I write here. I originally had the idea for Travel Tuesday as a featured day on this blog, but now I can’t help feeling like it could be more. I have lots to come in the weeks ahead. Hopefully soon Travel Tuesday will find a new home, separate and yet still alongside this blog because I am not willing to give up one for the other.

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