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Random Thoughts on… Travel and WordCamps

While looking at the list of WordCamps that I’ve spoken at, it got me thinking about travel and going to WordCamps away from home. Here are some random thoughts on that matter.

  • In General, I think it’s best for local camps (i.e. not specialized events like WordCamp for Publishers or regional camps like WordCamp US) to be majority local.
  • Defining local is hard. Am I local to Montclair? It’s less than an hour for me to get there via train. If yes, does that also mean I am local to Philly? I would say I’m not really local to either of them even though they are all NYC Suburbs.
  • I like to think of things as being in kind of four different classifications:
    • Very Local. This is the place you live or the place you work.
    • Day trippable. These are the places where it’s super realistic to wake up one morning and decide “I’m going to visit X today”. It’s generally things in like a 2 hour not flying radius.
    • Hard Day Trips. These are the places that it is possible to do a not flying day trip to, but it’s not going to be the easiest trip. If flight times work, a flying day trip is completely doable.
    • Overnight trip required. There is no way around, this is real travel
  • For the past few years, I’ve limited myself to speaking in the first 3 categories. Partially to take it easy on travel, and partially since I took 2018 off from speaking entirely.
  • It’s important for people who can be considered “Names” to make space for the next group of contributors and this includes not speaking all the time.
    • Sidenote: I was chatting with another core committer recently and we noted “We are not the future of WordPress”. I don’t intend to go anywhere, but I also recognize that my strength for the project today isn’t to be the loudest voice.
  • I’m not at all convinced that “Names” sell tickets for local WordCamps. I am convinced that developing and nurturing a quality community sells tickets to WordCamps.
  • It’s important to visit other communities to meet people, but that doesn’t mean I need to speak. One of my favorite camps was WordCamp Seattle 2014 as I got to meet a number of people and see some old friends that it had been years since we spent time in person.
  • My first ever camp that I went to with no connection to the local community was super important to my growth as it allowed me to meet a lot of folks, many who became long time friends. WordCamp Phoenix 2011 was a special event.

Overall, I think going forward I’m going to try to travel a bit more, while staying firmly in my local and near local communities.

What are your thoughts on WordCamps and travel? How do you approach your decisions on when to fly to a different city for a camp?

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