I had the extreme honor of attending the very first flagship WordCamp Asia! In my opinion, it was one of the best tech conferences ever organized. From location to accessibility, the organizers made sure to pay attention to every detail. I left the conference feeling more educated, enriched, and most importantly confident in myself than when I arrived. WordCamp Asia should be the standard to which all future major WordCamps are held.
WordCamp Asia took place in beautiful Bangkok, Thailand, at the Iconsiam mall. Pictures do not do justice to the city or the mall. The city was full of friendly and helpful people, accessible transportation/areas, and convenient activities. The hotel which was only a few feet from the venue allowed you to reach the conference by walking, rideshare taxi, rideshare tuk tuk, rideshare moped, and even 2 free boats. Yes, you could access the venue by boat!
Since the venue was in a large mall, there were plenty of places to go shopping, rest, network, and even catch a movie if you wanted to. Several escalators and elevators located throughout the conference made getting around easy even when the big crowds came in to shop. The rooms where the speakers presented were also extremely amazing, so many people asked me if I was at a TED Talk!
The city itself was an amazing mixture of the nicest people you’d ever meet, amazing historical and cultural landmarks, and probably the best food I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Many reported that if they were lost or had any questions it was nothing for a stranger to ask them how they were doing and how they could help. This prevented so many people from getting lost! The organizers are truly magical for getting the perfect hotel, venue, and city all in one go – 10 out of 10 truly.
Did I mention it seemed like we were at high profile TED Talks? The speaker selection was not only diverse but full of a wide variety of technical help, job advice, and community enrichment. You could go to a talk to improve your WP-CLI skills as taught by Milana Cap , and then on to learn how to get into tech/WordPress without coding with Allie Nimmons! My favorite talks focused on how WordPress changed the lives of so many people and brought them closer together. Topher DeRosia spoke on how HeroPress gave so many a platform to express their emotions and triumph. Michelle Frechette further cemented the fact that when some of us join the WordPress community we don’t just get colleagues, we get family. There were many more amazing talks at the conference that you can watch when they are posted here!
I met so many people in the community at WC Asia for the first time, and you could not tell me that we were not old friends. So many people I only knew from Twitter or slack reached out to me to give me a hug or words of affirmation. The atmosphere was that of friendship, community uplift, and warmth. People checked to ensure you were hydrating correctly in the hot Bangkok weather. There were refreshments from full meals to snacks, drinks, and coffee available there were even-side refreshing renewal activities such as the quiet spaces and group yoga. It reminded me of being back in my small hometown community. Where people might not have known you intimately, but we were all community and family. As someone navigating a new city in a new place right now, I almost cried to have that familiar feeling creep back into my bones. I thought more than once after taking pictures or laughing with someone I just met, “This is what community is.”
If you follow me on Twitter, you know it just wouldn’t be right if I didn’t mention the food. The lunches were organized by dietary restrictions so that people would not have to go without food. Halal, vegan, and more were some of the options there for attendees. This meant a lot to me for a few reasons, one was that, hey everyone deserves to eat and have a meal! Also, it goes back to a saying one of my friends Chef Rodney Gray always says. “Everybody eats! We say this but we also need to make sure everybody can!” That was not a worry at the conference, and I was so glad for everyone. The food was delicious and varied, and I honestly came back home and just stared at my refrigerator in silence. I need whoever organized the food to come organize my life.
As you can tell I had a really great time
I will say it again. WordCamp Asia is the standard that all WordCamps should be held to. It was the first one ever, and they managed to overshadow every tech conference I’ve ever attended. By the final day, it was hard for me to leave! The wonderful people and knowledge that WordCamp Asia gave to me are priceless! A special thanks to all the wonderful organizers, speakers, sponsors, volunteers, and the wonderful people of Thailand that made it a once in a lifetime experience! I look forward to returning next year to Taipei, Taiwan where WordCamp Asia 2024 will be held. I hope to see you all there!