Welcome to my blog.
The last week before my first ever presentation was hectic and excellent. I welcomed my dear friend Becky from Annville PA in the United States who had flown to Adelaide especially to support me for the show. Wow! I picked her up after working at uni on Friday and drove to Bridgewater after eating a delicious laksa in the central Market in the city. A good start of her visit. While she caught up on some sleep I did a short but good ride on the bike through the Adelaide Hills and that night we had a nice dinner with friends. Saturday and Sunday were my only opportunities to practice the talk. I had used all the remaining time to design postcards, design the website and to fine-tune the slides and music on my presentation. An awesome but time consuming job for a perfectionist.
On Monday I worked at Tafe and did more practice at night and on Tuesday, the day of the event, I taught in the morning, sat restless in a meeting and rushed around collecting stuff and driving with Stumpjumper and a large iMac to town. Halfway down the Southern Freeway I realised I had forgotten the power cord of my iMac and had to return. In bad traffic Becky and I drove to the city.
My friends and helpers Josh & Jordan were waiting for me and so was the ‘techie’ who helped to set up and get everything ready for the show. It felt strange to walk around and talk amplified through a little mike attached to my head. I spoke into the thing and noticed I did not need to raise my voice. Heavy breathing needed to be avoided. My Smokkelaars team mate Matt, the announcer, came by and we talked quickly about what needed to be done. I waited at the side of the stage.
Just after 7pm the waiting people were allowed inside and the theatre filled quickly. I was calm but when Matt started to introduce me I felt a deep feeling of nervosity and tension rise up through my body and centre near my heart. Boom boom boom. I walked on stage and had to work myself through that. The cause is more important than the occasion.
Initially I felt very vulnerable for a few minutes but the practise at home and a good preparation of slides helped heaps. I started to relax and enjoy the experience. However, I knew that I was very tired and I had to accept the consequences. My level of concentration was very high. I talked through a series of short tales. Explaining The Geert Escape concept, riding with Peter the Dane at the end of my trip, riding into the Mekong Delta and meeting a boat refugee and riding into Cambodia. I finished the first session with a story about my back injury, depression and the recuperation.
After the break I continued with the boat ride across Tonle Sap in Cambodia and the temples of Angkor Wat, a tale about ‘Bertrand’, my butt, and I got ready for the final piece which was a half an hour long account of the experience on the Koh Rougniev Island and stay in Koh Phdao and the treatment in the Kratie Referral Hospital. After I finished the evening was closed with a 200 slide clip and Matt who raised awareness for the fund raising and for the website.
All my friends that came out on this night gathered on the stage and I had to do a lot of hugging and thanking. It was a very deep experience. I always knew I could do this stuff. And it worked. I am thrilled and very grateful to everyone who made it out to the show.
It was an exhausting but rich experience and it will have a follow up.
This blog will help me to communicate quickly with interested friends and followers. I will explain what happens with the raised funds, now tallied at 2500 Australian Dollars and how and when it will find its way to the right people in Cambodia.
I will also slowly integrate stories and tales from my other trips. I have done a few and it is time that I step out of the shadow.