So, having recovered from the amazing time I had last weekend, it’s time to share!
The weekend kicked off at 7am on Thursday morning, as I set off to meet my fellow 34SPeeps at our offices in Manchester.
We loaded up Dan’s car, which became affectionately know as Sheeba (blame Kaybear and Shiv) and off we set for the south coast.
We had a lovely drive down and arrived at our AirBnB about 5pm ish. We stayed in a really cool four story pad about a 5 minute taxi ride away from the venue.
First stop was the Speakers, Sponsors and volunteers dinner. This was held at Ohso Social right on the beach. Windy but hey, its the beach!
This weekend turned out to be adventurous for me. I don’t drink much as a rule, but when I do, it is normally IPA’s or other ales. Siohban and Kayleigh decided I was going to drink cocktails for the weekend.
I was understandably wary of this suggestion, but I took a deep breath and said, OK lets do this. I tried a few firsts that night, all actually tasted very nice. Pimms, Tequila and some raspberry thing. The food laid on was awesome, my second first was to try hummus which is now in my naughty treats list. Also red things with cheese in, think they where peppers.
I met a few familiar faces, but also met new ones. To name those I can remember names of (I am better with faces). Was great to meet Jamie, a volunteer, who I believe is new to the community and the local WordUP Brighton meet-up. Laura, who had looked after us at the last WordCamp Brighton. Alice, who I had spoke to on twitter but, hangs head in shame, I didn’t actually know what she looked like to say hi in person at WordCamp London. Emma, a volunteer who works for Pragmatic, smiley and chirpy we had a few laughs during the weekend. I may have met others there, but it wasn’t until the event when I really got to talk and meet people.
The end of the dinner came and we said goodnight to all. Alice, (jokingly) reminded us not to stay out too late, as we had an early start and we then went to The Mesmorist. There we listened to Jon Crompton playing blugrass and blues while enjoying a mahito.
We then jumped in a cab and went to bed, ready or the big first day!
We arrived nice and early at the venue, a really cool old market that has been converted into a theatre.
Set-up began and we erected the stand and put out our cool blue bags. Hope you all got one!
First we met Tom, he was looking after the sponsors this year. Thanks for all your help Tom. Then we met Emma again, she was on badge duty and gave us all shiny name badges. Mine was the sun! We also got our goodie bags aka swag and our reusable water and coffee cups.
Doors opened and in came the people. WordCamps for me are about connecting with fellow WordPressers, learning new things, sharing ideas and celebrating our love of WordPress. As such I was excited and nervous to meet new people. As the day progressed I began to meet various friends new and old.
Tess from the WordPress Bristol meet-up came up and said hi. She was at a talk myself and Tim gave about wp-cli. We love visiting local WordPress groups. You get to really know people and what they love and do with WordPress. I met Monique, who is also a speaker from Leiden in Amsterdam. Thank you for the kind words, Monique. Then I met Thomas aka 00sleepy from Cologne, we had spoke briefly at WordCamp London, but it was really great to get chatting and share our love of food and good beers as well as how he came to use WordPress and his security work. I also met Ana, we had spoke briefly on the Thursday but we had a bit of a chat in the food queue.
It was great to meet Carole, the purple Plesk warrior! and her husband Alain from Germany. I also met Maja from Germany, also a speaker.
The end of the day came and we went back home to get changed. There was an *Unofficial* meet at a pub called The Revelator. The musical playlist in this pub was great, a real mix of rock, funk and blues. Here I met Elliot who has really cool shirts!
We started to get hungry, so we headed for The Prince George, where another first happened. I tried deep fried halloumi! We had a few drinks and went to bed, ready for another busy day.
We were up bright and early and headed for the venue for day two.
Again, we met lots of people and also interviewed a number of WordPressers for our video series on Where WordPress has taken you.
Lunch was baked spuds with various toppings. Top work to the caterers, was really lovely food!
I met Gabor, who showered us with his puns! I also met Jonny who announced he will be running WordCamp Birmingham next year! Was also nice to see Steve Watts, who I have met a few times on the circuit.
I only went to one talk and that was Laura Nelsons Anxiety in the workplace talk.
I mentioned above about being scared to meet people, this is because I suffer from anxiety. Behind my DJ/video guy persona and general life loving self, is a demon that I have to fight every day. Sometimes you think you’re one of the few and you don’t really share it with people. To see Laura stand up in front of a room full of people and then start talking about it so openly, was amazing to see and hear. Suddenly I realised I knew someone else, who suffers all the same worries and stresses that I have to fight. I didn’t realise just how similar the thoughts are for anxiety sufferers, but now I do. Thank you Laura, you should be really proud of yourself!
The after party was in the same venue. The theatre was turned into a seating and dancing area. You also had the bar area, for those who prefer a more quiet chatty area. We had veggie burgers for tea which where yummy.
Then Alice came up and informed us there was Ice Cream! Brighton wouldn’t be Brighton without Ice Cream!
I felt the afterparty had something for everyone. It also meant I could go from chatting, to eating, to dancing. Connecting with people in different ways but meaning you get to meet everyone. I felt like everyone was included and I know that is something the Brighton team work hard to achieve. Nice work I had an amazing time!
I took a deep breath, walked out to the dancefloor and just let my fears go away and let rip. Suddenly I found I remembered how to dance my heart out and suddenly, it was like being 18 all over again.
I want to shout out to Alain, Carole, Siobhan, Maja, Phil, Sarah, Sarahs friend, Thomas and Alice. Was great to dance ourselves silly. Looking forward to doing it again!
The night came to an end, we said our goodbyes and gave our final hugs to Alice, great job to you and your team!
Brighton is always a great place to visit. It is like there is something in the air, other than the very loud sea gulls 😛 that fills you with cuddles and inspirations.