Credit: Canadian Outdoor Equipment

 I started off my annual lecture tour this past weekend at the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show. It was the first of 26 presentations I’ll be giving between now and the end of May, at venues ranging from large-scale consumer shows to small-town libraries.

My sponsors — including Explore Magazine — have been helping out for over a decade now.

I’m loving it.

I truly enjoy presenting to a crowd of outdoor enthusiasts. I always have. I’ve been standing in front of outdoorsy people for over 25 years — but the only time I’ve ever been nervous was this last Sunday when my mother showed up.

Not sure why, but I got a severe case of butterflies fluttering around in my stomach when my mom sat down in the front row in the Toronto Outdoor Adventure Show lecture theatre. I’m guessing the case of the jitters was caused by the fact that she’s my mother. Complete strangers aren’t difficult to present to. They know nothing of my past. When I’m in front of strangers, I can be who ever I want. But to my mother I’m still that shy little kid who grew up with a stuttering problem and spent more time alone exploring the neighborhood woodlot then playing baseball or hockey with a group of friends.

Of course, I’m still ecstatic that she came to see me present. My mother is very proud of my accomplishments, even though she’s still wondering if I’ll ever get a “real” job. My tension even eased a bit when she stood up and introduced herself to the 200 people in the audience, stating loudly to everyone “I’m his mother.” We all had a good laugh at that one.

Having my mother there also created one of the funniest moments while working a trade show. After the presentation I wandered over to the Canadian Outdoor Equipment Booth to sign my latest book. There was a good crowd lining up — including my mother. I introduced her to everyone and she then proceeded to place her signature beside mine in everyone’s book. It was a classic moment, something that will be remembered forever. And yes, she even yelled out to the her adoring fans, “Kevin wouldn’t even exist if it wasn’t for me.”

Love ya mom.

Here’s my speaking schedule (more dates and venues to be announced):