When I sat drinking Zombies with WordPress Wrangler Tom, in Sandanista in Manchester, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I decided to jump on a plane and head to WordCamp Europe.
WordCamp Europe was in Paris. Uniting 1900 attendees from around 80 countries. There were another 1000 or so who joined via live stream. It was something amazing to behold.
I embarked on my journey. The first time I had ever travelled overseas completely alone, I felt so intrepid!
Arriving in Paris, I saw the first glimpse of my hotel. Where had I gone to? Aubervilliers is where WordCamp was held. It was rough as hell! Although my hotel was considered 'boutique', my bathroom was in the hall. There was a combo lock from the outside and nothing on the inside. The combo lock had 4 numbers: 1234. My combo was 4321. I did not feel safe.
Regardless I had some new friends to meet up with, and Uber is everywhere. So, I jumped in a taxi and made my way out.
The first day was a WordPress contributor day. This is where the WordPress community get together and do productive tasks on the open source project. show it some love, so to speak.
After a hard day's work and some new friends made, we went to Paris for a few drinks. At least I felt better after a drink or two. I spent a happy hour in a kebab shop with two Israelis, chatting about nothing. See, this is what I love about WordCamp. My list of conversations with people around the world was growing.
The next day was WordCamp in earnest. My first stop, the Swag hall because we all love swag. I made a point of chatting to everyone I could and cramming my JetPack bag with stickers, bags, sunglasses, fidget spinners and anything else I could lay my hands on.
It was a hot day. I hadn't considered this. Everybody filtered outside for lunch and sat in the grass. So, I decided to mooch around and speak to new people. I met a couple of guys from Lisbon, who told me all about the city which was great. I'm off to web summit in November so it was good to get the heads up.
That night, I was still unhappy with the hotel. So I moved to the budget Ibis Aubervilliers. It was like a hospital room in prison. But at least it had AC!!
That evening, I went for a steak and a couple of mojitos, with Dave and Steph, a couple I met at WordCamp Manchester. I had the nicest night, just chilling outside a restaurant in a Parisienne street.
It was fantastic to meet Morten Rand-Hendrikson. Someone who taught me how to use WordPress via Lynda.com. Also Zac Gordon, who did the same via Treehouse. I was developer-starstruck! It was also great to watch a talk on the history of WordPress by Mike Little and Matt Mullenweg.
After the final day, it was time for the after party. I'm sorry WordCamp Europe but this was a huge disappointment. The Twitter feed of people wanting to leave said it all. Because the food was sparse, and it took an hour to get it. When I say sparse, we had a hot dog so it was a bit of a letdown.