Monday, March 28, 2011

Back In The Swing of Things!

Working the Eureka booth at the Sportsmen Show with Dave
Helsdon, the creator of the Chrysalis and Jim Stevens,
head of Eureka-Johnson Outdoors.

Ahhhh! Its been way too long since I posted on my blog! Thanks to all of you that stuck around, wondering and waiting,...waiting,....and waiting,......for the next post. Sorry! The last month or so has been quite the beehive of non-stop activity that was somewhat related to canoeing, but unfortunately nothing in terms of actually getting out on the water with a canoe and paddle. Yes, the weather has warmed up enough that the local waterways are flowing, but as friends have luckily already headed out, I'm still on the computer working away, wishing for my opportunity to get out. See, I haven't forgotten this blog and as we 'speak', I'm typing away! Hopefully next weekend I'll get the chance to finally get out on the water, crossing my fingers!

Had the privilege of meeting Sonya Swanson, the Sales and
Marketing Assistant for Bending Branches
at Canoecopia.

So I'm sure some of you are wondering which rock I crawled under? Well at times, that would have actually been nice, but no, I've pretty much been front and center among lots of people. It first started with a presentation at Nova Craft in London, then working at the Outdoor Adventure Show, then off to Madison, Wisconsin to attend Canoecopia to present, and then back to the Sportmen Show where I worked at the Eureka booth again. Things have just finally started to wind down, but I just got a call from the Barrie Canoe and Kayak Club requesting a presentation, so as you can see, it is still not over. Plus during this whole time, I've had writing assignments and still have yet another article to work on. However, despite the hectic schedule, I always come away from these shows and presentations more inspired than ever. Yes, they can be long hours on your feet when at times you think you'll never stop talking, but there is always an amazing exchange of stories, information, and laughs. I've meet new friends, reconnected with old ones, made new contacts, and even learned new things. But the greatest reward is helping people, whether inspiring them to head out on their own canoe trip, or advise them on purchasing appropriate gear for their next adventure. That alone is worth everything.

Talk about nerve-racking, I got slotted to be one of the first
speakers when the doors opened at Canoecopia!
You should have seen the line - yikes!
Photo: Rosie Page

I know I head out on many canoe trips throughout the year and get to experience and see some amazing things (usually). So as I speak to fellow paddlers that are as varied as the canoes out there, sometimes I feel a sense of remorse. Many wish that they can head out as often as I do, or paddle to some of the places I've been too. I totally understand because I was once there too. I looked up to notable paddlers years ago as inspiration (and still do) and wished I could be like them one day. I certainly haven't gotten anywhere close, but I've certainly come a long way and feel now at the place and position I'm in, despite canoeing for myself, I feel a greater reward by giving back. That's when those longs hours standing and talking pay off, when I get a heartfelt thanks from helping people and seeing their enthusiasm build for their next adventure. Or giving advice on different canoe routes and encouraging them to venture outside of their usual tripping destinations as you see a light bulb go off. Even so much as helping kids into a hammock at the Eureka booth and getting them all excited about going on a camping trip. Whether or not any of this actually happens, I will never know, but you plant a seed, and let them go with it. And occasionally, just occasionally, you come across someone who tells you that it was either my advice or the inspiration I gave them that got them out there. You know that credit card commercial that speaks about priceless experiences? That is exactly what I'm talking about, priceless - and for everything else, there is Mastercard!

Cheers everyone! Good to be back on the blog!

The Nova Craft booth at Canoecopia after a long day. Rosie
Page, Roch Prevost, Dave Hood and Tim Miller,
owner of Nova Craft Canoes.