This year was the inaugural WordCamp US to be held in Philadelphia. It was to be the largest WordCamp with the highest number of WordCamp geeks under one roof and it was to take place in our Nation’s first Capital, which seems appropriate. As a WordCamp “aficionado” you’d think I’d be totally excited to go, right? I mean, what could be more fun than spending a few days around some of my favorite people talking about one of the things I love most?
Except, I was totally unenthralled (<—Spellcheck tells me I might be making that word up) with the whole idea because:
- It’s Philadelphia. Other than the cheesesteaks, I’ve heard that the place is a dump.
- It’s Philadelphia in the winter time. Nothing sounds less appealing to me, as someone who lives in a cold-weather climate, than traveling to another cold-weather climate.
- Traveling can be, in and of itself, a burden; but, the thought of something like an unexpected blizzard, which could leave me stranded in an airport, is not a pleasant prospect. This is especially true if you consider that I have to leave my wife behind to handle six children for several days.
- 2,000 people in one place. The simple reason why I don’t go to large tech conventions.
However, Sarah & I were pleasantly surprised to be invited to the Community Summit. Sarah was also accepted as a speaker. So, we booked our travel arrangements and started planning for the trip at hand. We both embraced the opportunity to take part in planning the direction of WordPress for 2016 via the Community Summit. I made plans with Sarah to sit down and hammer out some company plans for 2016. Yet even with this all set, to say that I was a reluctant participant would have been an understatement. In truth, there was no single WordCamp this year that I looked forward to less. But, none the less, off I went.
WordCamp US In Pictures
I have so much to say about the trip because, much to my chagrin, this WordCamp was, hands down, the best WordCamp I’ve ever been to. I wanted to share my journey with you through pictures! Would you join me on my little photo essay? It’s fun, I promise!
PSA: Outfoxed by Socks
You’d think that with as much as I travel, I’d remember to pack socks. Just after checking luggage at the airport, I remembered what I had forgotten. SOCKS! I popped into a Brooks Brothers to grab some socks and just as a PSA: If you plan to go souvenir shopping or, say, feed your kids, don’t buy socks at Brooks Brothers; especially if it’s in the airport!
Trippy Meeting You Here
Look who I ran into at the airport! Apparently he was going the same place I was – go figure. Always a fantastic conversation to be had when I see JJJ.
The Dwight D: Photo Gallery I
Night One: Photo Gallery II
The Main Event
The Hallway Track: Where I spent all my time.
If you’ve been to any number of WordCamps, you know that there are the official tracks and then the unofficial “Hallway Track.” It was a busy track with lots of people getting to know or catching up with each other as well as taking care of a lot of business. It is my experience that people you meet in the Hallway Track are people who will become your friends, mentors, and allies as you grow within the Community.
Thank you, WordCamp US, for the wonderful lunch served both days, the awesome jazz band, and the efficiency in which it was all handled. What a great venue! The lunch room was bustling both days. In spite of our collective introversion as tech nerds, many of us enjoy sitting and sharing and visiting with each other in real life vs 140 character tweets back and forth online.
WordCamp US Swag was ON POINT!
What’s a WordCamp without swag? And an inaugural WordCamp of this magnitude needs some pretty cool swag, right? There was a lot of swag to pick from and I scored a really cool beanie like the one you see here – but I completely forgot to pick up my WordCamp US T-shirt from the registration area. I was too busy in The Hallway Track.
However, I *hear* the swag was pretty amazing. GoDaddy had four different Wapuu coins (designed by Michelle Schulp) of various colors. Depending on what color you drew, you had the potential to win all kinds of cool things, including the biggest prize: a drone. There were “virtual reality” glasses, slinkies and all sorts of other things.
The 2015 State of the Word with Matt Mullenweg
The After Party: Lucky Strike Bowling Alley
The After Party was held at Lucky Strike, a bowling alley with bowling, ping-pong and pool, along with a bar and plenty of room to socialize. It was every bit as fun as it sounds!
WordCamp US Contributor Day
It was decided that for Contributor day, Sarah and I would contribute to the local economy. Sarah planned a day of tourism and fun for those of us who had any energy left.
We’re ON A BOAT: Dinner With Friends
While waiting for our bus to come outside of the Franklin Institute, we ran into Ben Fox of Sidekick and dinner plans started being formed. It’s so cool to be roaming around Philadelphia and run into friends on the street! We pulled together a group and went to a seafood restaurant on a boat. I didn’t get any photos of the people we were with (there were about eight of us, I believe), but I did take a few with my phone. It was THE best way to end a WordCamp, by far.
Time to Go Home
I woke up bright and early Monday morning so I could get home. It was time and I was ready. But what had started out as an event in which I had little to no desire to attend ended up being the perfect way to end my WordCamp tour for 2015 and was, BY FAR, the best WordCamp I had attended all year. And yes, that even includes Milwaukee (the best Non-WordCamp US to attend on Planet Earth).
You can find more photos from my trip to WordCamp US on my Instagram Account. I keep it private because I post photos of our foster children but please feel free to request a connection! I also blog semi-regularly at http://twotofive.us when time allows. Thanks for making it through this post!