There are only a few things in life I have an unwavering fear of:
1) Touching the bottom of the lake in bare feet.
2) Speaking in front of people.
3) Biking on the streets of Toronto.
Now with the lake thing, no worries friends, because your girl’s got water shoes. They’re hot pink, pair sooooo well with my bikini look, and let me wade in the shallow waters off the dock at the cottage. As for public speaking – the more I do it, the more comfortable I become. I force myself to do Insta Lives, sit on panel discussions, and I even signed on to speak at Blogpodium at the end of the summer (you can buy your tix here!). But the biking thing? Well, there’s a bit of history there…
The thing is, I can physically ride a bike. Every summer as a kid was spent biking to parks, poppin’ wheelies and throwin’ Band-Aids onto scraped knees. As I got older and started driving, there was no need for two wheels when I had four. And so when I got to my late twenties, I hadn’t ridden a bike in ages. Then I met Damien and moved to the UK, and I knew he was pretty hardcore into cycling, so I thought, “Oh that’ll be a nice weekend thing to do. Hop on a bike and scoot around the English countryside.”
That was until he gave me a bike to ride and I found myself head-down, ass-up on a proper cycling bike, barely able to touch my feet to the ground if I needed to, and trying to navigate the streets of rural London. Every time a car approached me, I started wobbling, Damien started laughing, and the best part of the whole experience was when we stopped at a pub for a drink two hours later. Safe to say, my British cycling days were short-lived.
There’s no denying that Prince Edward County is having a moment, with new inns and restaurants and festivals popping up every month. It seems like everyone is talking about weekend getaways to ‘The County’ this summer, Ontario’s wine country that’s just a short few hours east of Toronto. But there’s also no denying that the hottest new property on everyone’s must-stay list is The June Motel, a unique strip motel that’s unlike anywhere else in Ontario (or even Canada, for that matter).
Clad in a sea of pink, palms, and rose gold accents, The June is an Instagrammer’s dream. I checked in for a mini-bachelorette weekend at the start of the month with my mum, sister and good friend Diala, not knowing what to expect besides the little details I saw on the ‘Gram (obv). We rolled up to what looked like an old-school motel, with a long two-storey body and reception at the end. Save for the pink doors and retro plastic lawn flamingoes, you’d have no idea of the vibrant fun waiting inside.
Oh hey guys.. did you know I started a YouTube channel?
You betcha. She’s up in the ol’ vlogosphere, in all her awkward glory, with messy splices and lighting that’s all over the damn place and funny little edits that shine a direct spotlight on my quirky personality.
To be honest, I never thought I’d be the type of person to start a YouTube channel. I knew next to nothing about video production, had no idea how to act in front of a camera, and it seemed like a platform that thrived more on the teen population than ol’ biddies like me (I’m 32, which is a grandma to most YouTube viewers). But when I had started hosting Instagram Live sessions at the beginning of the year, the response to my video content was overwhelmingly positive. I loved the real time aspect of talking and interacting with my followers, and my audience enjoyed seeing the totally unfiltered version of myself, f-bombs and all. Week after week people would tune in to hear me blab on about any number of topics from blogging to branding to the woes of social media. The only problem was that the video disappeared after each session, so those who couldn’t make the timeslot of the live feed were shit out of luck. Solution? YouTube, a way for me to house all of my video content and still do a livestream if I wanted to.
Seems like a pretty straightforward story, yeah? But you wanna know the real reason I started a YouTube channel?
I was sat in the coffeeshop adjacent to my condo, staring at my computer screen, the cursor blinking, my mind racing, pen tap-tap-tapping the tabletop. My gaze wandered to the guy sitting next to me, who shot me a sideways glance, one that distinctly read: “I’m-about-two-seconds-away-from-shoving-that-pen-down-your-throat-sweetheart.” I mouthed ‘sorry’ and sat on my hands, the only way I could get the fidgeting to subside.
In my inbox sat two emails, both requesting me to be a guest speaker at pretty big conferences later in the year. They’d been opened a few days prior, gathering moss and awaiting my response, which I’m sure was expected to be an enthusiastic, “Yes!”. But my initial reaction wasn’t of excitement or pride in myself. Despite the fact that both of these people had reached out to me, my initial feeling was a lump in my throat and the fear-mongering voice inside saying, “You’re not good enough.”