WordCamp Europe 2016: The Experience (Continued..)

My European tour for WordCamp Europe 2016 has been a series of new and exciting adventures. As previously mentioned, I am back with updates on my activities. I am still not done experiencing the beauty of Europe to my fill but here’s a brief of what went down at WordCamp Europe 2016 Vienna.

Day 1: 22nd June, Wednesday – Arrival

I arrived on Wednesday morning. It was my first time in Vienna. I can’t believe how breathtaking it was. The weather was hotter than I had anticipated but it was not enough to burn our excitement. Yam, Suren, Kosish and myself went to Tourotel, our place of stay for the next few days.

After spending the day, witnessing the magnificence of Vienna, we headed for a scheduled meeting with Stefan and Brandon from Ferras at around 18:00.  We had talk about business and investments over some delicious refreshments.

Thereafter, we went to the riverside and watched over the city, buzzing with life. At 20:30, we went to Hard Rock Cafe and had a hearty dinner. Then, some more wandering around the city before heading to the hotel.

Day 2: 23rd June, Thursday – Volunteers’ Orientation 

The next day, all rejuvenated, we had our breakfast. We went to UNO city, one of the four official locations of the United Nations. We came to know it was actually Vienna International Centre (VIC), a campus and building complex hosting the United Nations Office. So, colloquially known as UNO city. Wiser by the minute. Then, we made our way to Donauturm Tower, the tallest structure in Austria. The view from the tower was incredible and the food there was just to die for.

Then we headed towards MuseumsQuartier to register for the WordCamp. In every turn of the city, we can witness architectural wonders and MuseumsQuartier was no exception. This grand palace-like building is the eighth largest cultural area in the world. It was the official venue for the WordCamp. After registering, at around 14:00, an orientation program was organized for the volunteers of the conference. It was given by Milan Ivanovic, one of the organizers of WordCamp Europe. He also gave us a tour of the venue and assured us that things might seem daunting at a glance but it really isn’t. It was my first time volunteering, that too in an event of such big scale, it was encouraging to know it was okay to be nervous.

After a session of how-tos and what-tos, I went to WordPress Picnic, a picnic organized for networking before the big day. There I met Naoka Takano and Mayuko Moriyama, the organizers of WordCamp Tokyo. The last time I met Naoko was at WordCamp Mumbai last March. WordCamps and its side events give you an opportunity of make new friends and re-connect with older ones. I am always grateful for that. We got to talking about Polyglot and how we can motivate Nepali WordPressers and WordPressers in general to help us in translation.

Then I went back to the hotel and freshened up.  After that, I was in a dilemma – whether to attend the Organizers, Speakers and Sponsors dinner or Themers Meetup. After a brief tug-of-war within my mind, I decided to go the meetup. It was held in Tian Bistro from 19:00. It was organized by Ana Segota and Sami Kejionen. In my opinion, it was such a thoughtful event because it provided a good way to meet people before the camp, make connections and enjoy good food all the while. And I am happy with my decision to attend the meetup.

Overall, a day well spent.

Day 3: 24th June, Friday – 1st day of the WordCamp 

With excitement and slight nervousness I reached the MuseumsQuartier quite early. Probably around 6:30. Friday the 24th, I reached the venue, MuseumsQuartier, at 6:30. Then followed talks with the organizers and other volunteers.

The WordCamp began. It started with opening remarks from Petya Raykovska, an asset to the Polyglots team. After her remarks, Petya Milcheva and I were designated as Door Guards for Halle E from 10:00 to 11:00.

After that, I was given the duty to act as a Time Keeper for Halle Leopold. There I got acquainted with Taco Verdonschot and Priscilla Saldanha. As I kept time, I was soaking up the information of the conference.

And just like that, the first day of WordCamp Europe 2016 was done.

Another day down, well spent.

Day 4: 25th June, Saturday – 2nd day of the WordCamp 

I reached MuseumsQuartier at 7:30 and found out that I’d be handling the Swag Store with a fellow theme reviewer, Ulrich Pogson. Time with him was never boring. The 5-hour shift ended in the blink of an eye and then after a break, I was to guard the Green Room. On the same day, I got to meet with Cami Kaos. We went right down to business and talked about the upcoming WordCamp Kathmandu. She then reviewed and approved our budget, giving a green light to WordCamp Kathmandu. It was such a pleasure to meet her in person.

I got to meet the two founders of WordPress at once, Matt Mullenweg and Mike Little. Such inspiring people. Sam Hotchkiss also attended the WordCamp and as always, he is a joy to be with. I met Chris ‘Topher’ DeRosia, an author from Heropress and Shinichi Nishikawa, an active member from the Japanese community and a fellow theme reviewer.

The WCEU ball was scheduled after a day of running from one place to another in the heat.The emerald t-shirts turned into fancy dresses and shirts. It had been previously notified that all attendees need to dress up. Suit up really – suits, dresses and bowties.

I had taken a formal light blue shirt, black trousers and a black tie with me. I also did take a waist coat but since it was incredibly hot during the summer days, I ditched it. The party was all fun; eating, drinking, chatting and we-fies, tons of them. I got meet Joe Dolson and Rian Rietveld from the  Accessibility Team and Rich Collier, my old colleague from MMG who is now in Jetpack. A perfect way to end a grand event.

All in all, my WordCamp Europe experience was a blast.

As of now, I am living the life of a backpacker; travelling from Vienna to Venice and lastly, Paris before returning back home. I intend to make the most my time in Europe, experience it like I have never before and immerse myself in this rich culture and beauty. I’ll be back with more stories to share.