These last few months have been challenging in more ways than I could ever imagine. My outdoor work has dried up, but speaking goes on – virtually. COVID-19 may be preventing us from meeting, but not from speaking. I’ve covered subjects from Science to Space, Jungles to Mountains, Resilience to Mental health and even the 1924 Mt. Everest Expedition.
Speaking to a computer screen is nothing like the experience of being onstage, but the principles remain the same – professionalism, message, timing and quality. Just because you’re not there, doesn’t mean you can get away with not planning and execution an excellent session. On the contrary, you have to pick up your game.
Like outdoor kit, people collect reams of gear to work with, show off or just pile up, which in my view is going over the top. Virtual speaking is here to stay, so here’s a few thoughts about what has worked for me. The whole set up has cost less than £500.
2019 was a year of death, cancellations and accidents, so I hoped for a more relaxing and rewarding 2020. It certainly started with a bang as during the 2019 Kendal Mountain Festival, I was asked to don my best Edwardian Mountaineering Tweeds and marry two friends in the Lake District. Surely enough on January 18th, I stood before Tom and Emily in Sticklebarn and pronounced them Husband and Wife. I felt extremely honoured to be asked and we all enjoyed a wonderful weekend under sunny skies in Langdale. 2020 was off with a bang..!
The Earths continual pitch has placed us into Autumn – to me, one of the most beautiful times of the year. The moors burst into bright purples and the trees slowly turn to reds, yellows and browns. Leaves rain down in the freshening winds and the nights draw in. Morning dew settles upon the grass as the evenings chill becomes more apparent. Autumn signals the slow end to a year I suspect many people would rather forget. Many lives lost, families forced apart and plans either cancelled or indefinitely put on hold. COVID-19 has changed our lives for the future, but I don’t think we should sit in the doldrums. Every Autumn brings change before the grip of winter takes hold and I love that change…
I adore the Dolomites. For over a decade, I have walked, climbed and skied amongst them, gained wonderful memories and many great friends. COVID cancelled a planned ski trip in March, but now that restrictions have eased, I couldn’t resist a visit.
The COVID-19 lockdown is steadily easing and though times are still difficult, sighs of relief are abound. Holiday companies are recording a huge upsurge in bookings as international travel bans ease, the leisure industry is beginning to open its doors and tourist spots seem as busy as ever. Last month I noticed social networking filled with the cries of ‘Who’s going where on July 4th?’ and the answers scared me, certainly if incidents like Bournemouth Beach are to be a lesson. Littering and fires are on the rise, vehicles are abandoned casually and fears for National Parks are voiced. I fear a Tsunami of Tourists are on the way during the summer. The RNLI and MRT’s have been rushed off their respective boots and wellies. There has and will continue to be much comment about COVID and its effects upon our lives. Voice and opinion are everything, but shouting is not. Shouting is something I abhor – I always have…