On Public Speaking, Real Life Connections & Traveling Lightly
I spoke at York College on April 21, 2016, about living simply and tiny homes. Dave Fyfe, a professor at York, starting planning the event last year, and I was honored to be included.
In late 2015, Dave's wife, Jen, reached out to me about the speaking opportunity via email and at first I said no to the request because I don't do much public speaking. When I worked in the non-profit sector, I did a lot of public speaking and teaching. But that was over 6 years ago, and, since that time, I have developed a fear of speaking in front of large groups of people.
When I responded to Jen via email, I suggested a few author friends who have more experience in the public speaking arena, but Jen persisted. She offered to chat with me on the phone about the event, and I ended up saying yes to the opportunity because of Jen's encouragement. And, I'm so glad I said yes!
As I prepared for my talk, I felt excited and nervous. I told a friend about the nervous energy I experienced, and she encouraged me to be excited, to believe in myself, and to remember that the audience wasn't going to bite me.
I'm glad I prepared and practiced my presentation because over 100 people attended my talk. I haven't spoken to that many people in years. I practiced my talk a dozen times before the event. However, it didn't turn out like my practice sessions. I felt like I could have paced my presentation better. But I received a lot of positive feedback about the talk, and I'm choosing to believe that feedback, rather than being hard on myself.
Giving my talk was one of the biggest highlights of my journey. However, I experienced other moments and experiences that I wanted to share with you including:
1. Connecting with People in Real Life
During my East Coast adventures, I met amazing people and forged awesome connections in real life. For example, I extended my trip beyond the York College event because I wanted to explore Pennsylvania and spend time with family and friends and make new friends on the trip, too. I connected with my NYC family, York College faculty, students, community members, my pen pal Traci, Holly Clark, and a few blog readers.
2. Traveling Lightly
Usually, I don't check luggage when I fly. In the past, I've carried a small backpack onto the plane with all my belongings tucked inside. However, my physical therapist—Joe—recommended checking my luggage, packing lightly, and not lifting heavy stuff on my trip. Joe explained that most people strain their backs while traveling because they lift heavy pieces of luggage and spend way too many hours slumped over in airplane seats. I wasn’t interested in injuring my back again, so I followed Joe's advice.
Packing light isn't a problem for me, but it was weird to check a bag. Similar to public speaking, I haven’t done that in years. I'm glad I checked my bag, though. Most of my fellow passengers had large carry-on bags and were jockeying for overhead storage space on each flight. When I fly in the future, I’m going to check my luggage because it was easier and less stressful.
3. Good Eats, Lodging, Museums, and More
When I travel, I don't spend time shopping for clothes or memorabilia. Instead, I spend my travel dollars on excellent food, coffee, and museums, and I love walking around the cities and towns I visit. Walking and gawking at architecture and other local landmarks is fun and typically free.
When I plan trips, I use Kayak or Airbnb to find lodging. I've found that booking through these services is less expensive and usually more convenient.
Finally, if you're traveling to NYC; Lancaster, PA; York, PA; or Philadelphia, PA, below is a roundup of my favorite places to explore, eat, and sleep:
- NYC, NY: Central Park | Conservatory Garden | Museum of the City of New York | Tipsy Parson | Joe's Coffee
- Philadelphia, PA: Philadelphia's Magic Garden | The Independent Hotel | Washington Square | Rittenhouse Square | Independence Historic National Park | Barbuzzo Kitchen | Jamonera Restaurant | Green Street Coffee | Saxbys Coffee | Green Eggs Cafe
Happy to Be Home
I enjoy traveling because it forces me outside of my comfort zone and sparks new, creative ideas. For example, I'm now brainstorming book and course ideas. I'm excited to see what projects I'll tackle during the second half of 2016.
With that being said, I'm happy to be home because I love my daily routine, sleeping in my own bed, swimming, and hanging out with Logan and the cats.
I'm grateful Jen encouraged me to share my story at York. I loved meeting Dave and Jen and connecting with the faculty and students at York College. Plus, the community members who attended my talk were so nice! Pennsylvania is full of friendly people.