As I sit in the airport doing work and mentally preparing for the next few weeks, I have some time to reflect back on my trip to Nova Scotia & New Brunswick. As is common for me it seems, I’m right back where it began, but with a new collection of emotions, experiences, and stories to absorb.
Two and a half weeks ago, I landed in Halifax on Friday, March 16 and due to a change in plans, I ended up spending the night in the airport. I was sitting in the exact same spot as I sit now while I type this reflection. My trip had a lot of ups and downs and ended entirely unexpectedly but I’ll forever be grateful for the timing of my trip and take comfort knowing that everything happens exactly the way it’s meant to. I fully believe that’s how I know I’m on the right path and don’t need to make any adjustments – I just need to continue to push.
I’ll summarize my trip although I won’t share too many of the personal moments – those are better left to be lived and remembered and kept to myself.
The hardest part but also the most special part of this trip was the last few days. On Saturday morning, my grandma passed away at the age of 93 with my aunt and uncle by her side. She had Alzheimer’s for several years and the last few months were especially difficult. I knew about a week ago that she wasn’t going to be around for much longer and so with the timing of my trip and my flights I was fortunately able to make it to New Glasgow for her funeral and I got a lot of time with my family which I am so thankful for. Because of my travels, I do ok visiting my family, but it’s not often that we are all together so it was really special. As difficult and as sad as it was being together for my grandma’s funeral, being around family was the only way I would have wanted it. I was asked to read a poem my mom wrote for my grandma at the funeral so that was a really special moment for me. Although I regularly speak in front of 500+ kids, it’s completely different when you are speaking from the heart and are full of sadness and grief. It was a beautiful poem and I’m so proud of my mom for being such a beautiful and talented poet. A lot happened unexpectedly the final few days of my trip but as with every trip I take, I’m going home a different person in a good way.
I had booked 8 schools and was able to speak at 7 of them; the 8th being canceled due to a snow day. However, I rebooked for when I’m back in June so it worked out ok! I had an amazing time speaking to kids from Pre-Primary (3&4 year olds) all the way up to Grade 8, in both elementary and junior high schools. Prior to my trip, I received some really honest feedback from a school about my presentation, so I tweaked my message slightly and made it more focused on my Unplugg’d Challenge. What I’m learning is that everything I try to do stems from challenging kids to decrease their screen time, so by focusing on the challenge, I’m able to also convey messages about kindness, acceptance, determination, and playing. I’ve gotten a few messages from parents recently thanking me for my message and the work I do which is super encouraging, and is the first message of that kind so I’m pretty stoked that my message is starting to resonate and actually have an impact on the kids I speak to, and that parents are supportive of what I’m doing and appreciate my approach and that I’m supporting what they’re trying to do.
Although I grew up in New Brunswick and went to university in Halifax for 4 years, I have a lot of acquaintances but not a lot of close friends. Honestly, I could quite easily plan ahead and have a very full social calendar and it would actually be really nice seeing a lot of old friends whom I haven’t seen in many years, especially those I played ultimate with. However, being an introverted entrepreneur doesn’t lend itself very well to that so I instead tend to plan things last minute (which doesn’t work for a lot of people, especially those with kids) and I also really like time on my own not only to recharge from the amount of time I spend with kids and in large groups, but also to work on my business, create content for my websites, and make sure I get time to self-reflect. I was able to make some new friends this trip in the disc golf community which is great since I’m competing in the 2018 Canadian Disc Golf Championships in the fall and many of them will be there as well. I was able to spend some time with my friends Steven and Melanie, whom I always make a point to see when I’m in town, and also got to spend time with someone special, whom I’m planning on coming back to see again soon (more on that later!).
I have some big goals this year and although I’ve already done some pretty big things (broke/set 15 World Records for Frisbee on Ice), I still have a lot more I’d like to do including going after the World Record for Throw, Run & Catch which is currently at 94 metres. My goal is to become the first person ever to break 100 metres! In order to do that, I need to train my speed, endurance, acceleration & power, and my throwing. I know that I can throw that and run fast enough to get there, but I need to ensure that I have enough gas to give myself several attempts at the record and also push my limits with speed to give myself a better chance at getting to the throw when I do get a good one.
During this trip, I’ve been to the gym about 10 times and feel awesome! Unfortunately with the last few days being Easter (aka chocolate) and spending time with my family celebrating my grandma’s life (sandwiches & carbs) I’ve slipped a bit nutritionally but that’s easy to correct. I’m looking forward to continuing my gym habit and the most important part is that I’ve figured out how to be active while on the road. I just need to make exercise a priority so if I’m at a school all day, I need to go after school for a workout, and if I don’t have a school, then I can either go in the morning or the evening. The more I make that choice, the more of a habit it’ll become, the better I’ll look, feel, and perform, and the more likely I am to stick with it moving forward, no matter where in the world I am!
Years ago when I was playing ultimate with DKUT (Dal/King’s Ultimate Team), me and a bunch of friends would play disc golf with ultimate discs at and around Citadel Hill and the Halifax Commons. I grew up playing golf (ball) but the first time I ever played disc golf was at Citadel Hill just making up holes with my friends, learning to throw an ultimate disc, enjoying being outside, and generally just having fun playing. This was before Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix and cell phones so we got to have some really great times offline without screens. It’s a very different world today so it was really neat to throw the disc a bit at Citadel Hill and reminisce about when I was still learning to throw, and before I knew everything that was/is possible with frisbee. Although I’ll never be able to go back to that time, I can always go back to those places, and the memories flood back.
The Book Signings
Once I have booked enough schools to make a trip happen, I start looking at ancillary events and opportunities, which always includes book signings. I co-wrote The Davy Rule, a children’s book for ages 4-10 featuring Davy Whippet and including lessons of kindness, friendship, self-awareness, and determination.
I was able to set up 3 book signings at Chapters stores in Dartmouth, Bedford, and Halifax for 90 minutes each. I’m used to a 4-5 hour book signing so I knew 90 would be nothing although I also knew that I would probably sell fewer books. And I was right. But I had some great conversations with a few parents about getting their kids off screens and instead playing frisbee and reading books, so that made the book signings worth it. Plus we’re also in 3 more Chapters stores so that’s pretty cool!
As is the norm for me, I always have adventures and I always make it through. This trip definitely kept me on my toes and had quite a few moments where I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, where I’d end up, or what the next step was. But it worked out exactly the way it was meant to, so I just go with it, and have faith that I will always be able to look back and learn on what I went through, reflect on my choices, and be better off for having lived through those moments.
In total, I slept in 7 different beds including an air mattress, four twin beds, a children’s race car bed, and the most comfy memory foam ever. There are a lot of people I need to thank this trip but in particular Trina, Natalie & Sue & Richard, Steve & Melanie, and Ella & Brian. Thank you for believing in me, being there for me, and taking time for me.