Well, 2022 was a success. I spent most of it outdoors. You have to love that.
I think it’s always good to do an overview of the passing year. Not necessarily for nostalgic reasons, but to help bring in the new year and remind you how important it is to spend more time travelling wilderness areas, share your joy of it with others and do your part helping to preserve it. So, here’s a breakdown of my adventures in 2022.
My canoe buddies and I finally got to paddle Algonquin and fish for spring trout for the first time since Covid lockdowns. My partner, Kristine, paddled her first river and rejoiced every rapid along southern Ontario’s Saugeen. We also explored several lakes in North Frontenac Parkland. My regular canoe mate, Andy, and I went out a couple of times to test his new gear from Recreational Barrel Works. I finished off the season by paddling the amazing and unique Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Menai Strait in Wales.
I also hit the stage again, rather than organize my speaking tour online. I was a keynote speaker at 20 events across North America and the UK, with over 36,000 people in the audience in total. It was great catching up with my canoe cronies at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show, joining in on the incredible Welsh Open Canoe Symposium and swatting mosquitoes while presenting at Bon Echo Provincial Park’s outdoor theatre. But my all-time favourite event was the Kirkfield and District Historical Society Museum, where a band introduced my presentation with six of my favorite John Denver songs.
I kept busy writing throughout 2022. I continued to scribe a weekly blog for explore, and I kept writing my columns in print for explore and Paddling Magazine. I completed the 2nd edition of A Paddlers Guide to Killarney and The French River, the 3rd edition of my Top 70 Canoe Routes of Ontario, the 5th edition of A Paddler’s Guide to Algonquin and released a new book, Another Bend in the River: The Happy Camper’s Memoir, which became a bestseller two weeks after its release.
Podcasts seem to be taking over traditional TV morning shows and radio. I was on Global and CTV a few times and continued my syndicated The Happy Camper show on CBC radio across Canada, but I literally lost count of how many podcasts I was on. However, I preferred being the interviewer rather than the interviewee, and continued my Whisky Fireside Chats on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel, conversing with very inspirational outdoorsy types.
I gave a couple of winter camping workshops and a couple of canoe camping workshops. However, my mortgage and bills were mainly paid by my part-time teaching job as a college instructor, showing kids how to identify birds, mammals, fish and trees. The class is made up of high school students who don’t necessarily fit in the regular school system. I teach a college course titled Ecosystem Skills, and if they pass, they finish high school and go into post-secondary. No student failed my class in 2022, and the average mark was 96 per cent. That’s incredible.
Check out my 2022 overview video posted on my KCHappyCamper YouTube channel. I hope it motivates you to get out even more, throughout all seasons, in 2023.
Happy New Year everyone.