Wrapping up Walk to WordCamp Europe
The last stage to Berlin
On Wednesday June 19th, an important day arrived. It was the last day of my walk to WordCamp Europe, one of the biggest challenges in my life, to raise funds for DonateWC and to help people get to WordCamps to contribute to WordPress.
I slept in Potsdam, just 30km west of the Estrel Hotel and conference center, my final destination not only for this day, but also the final destination for the whole walk, 718 kilometers.
Caspar, who was joining me for the final stage, was one of the first people to offer me a place to sleep. Together with all other hosts they were key ingredients of my walk. They provided a place for me to rest, a place to recharge, and a place to talk about my experiences of the day, and the days before. more information about the walk itself can be read in the post about this last stage.
Waking up for WordCamp Europe
On Thursday, June 20th, WordCamp Europe started with a Contributor Day. A day on which people can contribute to the WordPress project. Not just in code, but on all these subjects. There are 18 of them, so please take a look.
After breakfast I walked up to the registration desk where volunteers and organizers were preparing for registration to open up. I was welcomed by Remkus de Vries, in a slightly different way than my first meet with him in (I believe) 2011 when he just said ‘Hi nostromo’.
For me Contributor Day was a bit different than other times. I had a few planned interviews, talked with lots of people that were interested to hear my story, and took a rest in my hotel room to process all the attention I got. Oh, and I had a nice chat with Matt Mullenweg, on of the co-founders of WordPress, about, yeah, walking.
That night it was time for the speakers/volunteers/sponsors/organizer social event. A great location alongside the Spree. I met a lot of new people, talked about my walk (surprise!) and had a great time. Seeing so many people being inspired by what I did really gave me a good feeling.
The first conference day I attended the opening ceremony, and talks of Jenny Beaumont and Matt Mullenweg. That was it, the rest of day it was hallway track, interviews, selfies with people congratulating me and a small afternoon rest.
The second, and last conference day I was scheduled to be on stage. I did some final edits in my slides for the flash talk (10 minute talk) in the hotel lobby and went to Track 1 just to get a feeling of the room, and talk to the Room Manager about further planning. Around 11:00 I was ‘microphonized’, and waited for my time, 11:45.
My talk in Track 1
Here’s my talk about my Walk to WordCamp Europe.
This was an emotional experience, I almost cried a few times on stage because of the enthusiasm of the audience, by the numbers I presented, the organizer take-over and receiving my own Wapuu.
Resuming my experiences
If I were to summarize this whole adventure in one word, I would pick the word impressive. Let me explain. I had trained before I started, but not with:
heavy backpack (11 kg)
being alone during the day for more than two days
being outside all days
being in a small hotel in a small village with no shops/restaurants in walking distance
seeing wolf tracks in a forest
walking on a hill and experiencing a close-by thunderstorm
walking on paths that were officially not there
being away from my family and coping with the emotions that come with that
Well, I can go on and on, you probably understand what I mean.
So many impressions, so many nice people, so many personal mental challenges, the joy of arriving in Berlin, and in other cites where family and friends visited me, sometime even by surprise.
Have I learned from this experience?
Oh yes I have. A lot, maybe even too much to mention. The key things I have learned:
Don’t be afraid of things you don’t know
Do things that feel uncomfortable and give you lots of energy afterwards (which you don’t know is going to happen, so just do it and see)
Focus on small achievements, not just the final goal
There’s no such thing as trying. Just do it, and if you fail, do it again.
Average donation: €51,94 (!)
Donors from 28 countries
I have received donations and got sponsor income. Because I didn’t want to use any of that money for myself, all income goes to DonateWC, excluding the cost of my replacement and the payment transaction costs. And because I want to be transparent, here are the numbers.
€ – 176,59
€ – 43,67
€ – 747,18
Total funds received:
The final donation total
After even more donations came in after giving my talk on WordCamp Europe, the total amount of donations is: €8590,26. That's eight thousand five hundred ninety euros and twenty six cents. Thanks donors and sponsors!
Keep on walking
Have you blogged, tweeted, recorded a video about Walk To WordCamp Europe, please leave a comment with a link, I’ll post them in a list in this post.