After two years of hibernating at home, I headed to the WordCamp US(WCUS) 2022 that took place at the Town and Country Resort in San Diego, California.
This was my second WordCamp ever.
I was part excited to embark on this adventure. After hiding behind my laptop for more than 2 years, I was also nervous about meeting the big community. I was pretty confident my introverted self will last for only 30 minutes before darting for the exit sign and hiding in the hotel room for the next three days.
But boy was I wrong!
Not only did I have a blast meeting my online folks IRL, but I also made a ton of new friends, had fun conversations, and above all felt welcomed. The event and the community lit that fire back in me.
Here are some of my top memories from the weekend, in no particular order:
- Walking around the beautiful and spread-out venue lined with palm trees and lush greens- Town and Country Resort in San Diego, California.
- Volunteering for the first time for a WordCamp event, watching the organizers and volunteers work hard to get ready for the event, and setting up the front desk and registration booths. I had a great time speaking with the organizers and speakers before the actual event.
- Printing out the speaker badges on Day 0.
- Meeting Milana Cap for the first time after working with her for almost a year and half on the Docs team.
- Meeting the geeky surgeon Andy Fragen. How often do we get to meet a trauma/acute care surgeon who is also a WordPress developer?
- Fun conversations with new and old friends during lunchtime. Incidentally, on both days, I ended up seating next to sisters doing cool things with WordPress.
- Meeting people who I have known online for years, IRL – Milana Cap, Birgit Pauli-Haack, Mary Baum. Ryan Welcher, Taco Verdo, Adam Warner, Daniel Schutzsmith, Bet Hannon, Courtney Robertson, Sabrina Zeidan, Cami MacNamara, Adam Silver, Julia Golomb, and many more. It filled me with joy connecting with them in real.
- Attending my first in-person Contributor day and working with Dan Knauss and Donna Cavalier at the Documentation table. Apparently, it was the Contributor Day with the largest turnaround so far, at any WordCamp US.
- Picking up my first Docs team pin
- Making my first core contribution along with Maddy Osman by brainstorming with her, Leo Postovoit, and Mike Conley to solve a usability/language issue around what to do after a plugin update fails.
- Getting clicked by Daniel Schutzsmith while I was intently wordsmithing with Maddy and the team at the Contribution table.
- Getting a peak behind the scenes of the podcast recording with Angela Bowman and Amber Hinds for Women in WP podcast.
- Listening to Bob’s story about how he fell in love with Porto and his account of relocating there.
- Telling my story about going through developer burnout and finding my spark in Tech writing and documentation and putting myself out there for tech writing jobs. The community was amazing and genuinely thought of ways that can help me.
- Collecting some cool swags and t-shirts from the event including a beach ball for my furbaby.
- Getting a prescription for my WordPress Drama as diagnosed by Stellar WP
- Getting my Wapuu caricature at the Virtuozzo booth.
To wrap up, I loved every bit of WCUS – Meeting the WP community IRL, awesome sessions on block, a11y, diversity inclusion and much, much more. A big thanks to the WCUS organizers for tirelylessly working to make this event happen.
I got home excited and charged up -with a bag full of swags and a happy tired soul.
I truly believe WordCamps are good for your mental health if you are willing to get out of your comfort zone.
I can’t wait to meet the community once again at WordCamp 2023 which will be at National Harbor in Maryland. See you there in August 2023 and let’s make another set of memories.
A pro-tip for my introverted friends: Volunteer for the event and walk into the venue a day before the event. You will get a chance to talk to a smaller group of organizers, speakers, and sponsors ahead of time. This will make you feel more relaxed on the day of the event when you are with the bigger community.