For 13 years I have been going to the smaller and local WordCamps and when the first flagship WCUS started, I jumped on the opportunity and have been lucky enough to attend all of them so far.
Then comes WCAsia
Judy and I were excited that we would be able to attend the very first WCAsia. Neither of us had been to any part of Asia, so Bangkok was soon to be our first.
Now with all that comes for anyone attending a WordCamp, it can be anything from intimidating, to exciting, or both. I did not know what to expect from this very first flagship event. I knew that it would be good, but I didn’t know I would be blown away.
The event itself
The event was held on the top floor of what’s called Iconsiam. A gigantic mall with a conference center.
And everything about the organization of the event was top notch. The sponsor area was strategically placed. And I personally experienced a volunteer approaching me a few times and asking how I was doing and if they could help with anything. It was amazing.
This was my second contributor day. And it did not disappoint. I spent my time with the Community team and we had several very good discussions. Of course a lot of time was put into the day-long event from both organizers and volunteers. And I had to get a shot of all the team table leads from around the world.
This was just how big contributor day was.
Two days of WordCamp Asia
The minute I walked in that morning and headed straight for the expo area, this is what I saw. It was one of the most busy WordCamps I had ever been to, at least from this perspective. And the vibe in the air is what I believe energized everyone.
The community, the people
There is no single word to describe all the new and old friends that I met with. There were hugs, fist bumps, handshakes, and a lot of conversation. I had the chance to meet people who had literally been reading or listening to my stuff for over a decade. It was incredible humbling.
Although I don’t have these tagged, here is are bunch of selfies and other pics that were taken by others and myself.
Three things really stood out to me
As I mentioned earlier, this was likely the best WordCamp I have been to. If asked, I would have to say that there are three words that come to mind if I was to describe it as a whole.
I have never been to a WordCamp that had as much energy as I experienced here. I’m sure it was a combination of it finally happening for the Asian community (the first time it was cancelled due to covid), the pride they felt and the fact that so many of the attendees were experiencing their very first WordCamp of any size.
Everyone seemed hungry for community and education. Even the sponsors who frequent many WordCamps, the teams they brought were energized and kept very busy. There was a vibe of this energy with everyone you met.
I know that both my brand BobWP and Do the Woo is very popular in that part of the world. But until you are able to talk, shake hands or hug, you just don’t know. I met strangers and people who I have been connected with online for a decade or more. I was in what felt like hundreds of selfies with friends and new friends. The energy there was contagious and even by day two, it did not let up till closer to the end of the day.
This is probably the most powerful word that stuck with us during our entire stay, both at the event and beyond. We felt welcomed wherever we went. The kindness and consideration of each individual we had contact with and I had contact with at the event, was something that added to the energy I previously talked about.
Culturally, between the greeting with a bow and hands held together, and those who held their hands over their hearts as they approached you, other parts of the world could learn from those warm and loving gestures and how they made us feel each and every time.
Empathy has always been a huge part of my life, and I wish more people would naturally feel it in all circumstances.
As I mentioned previously, a lot of the attendees where first time WordCampers. Because of the nature of our business, many are introverts and that first event experience can be overwhelming. But it was different. There was a natural born vibe of empathy coming from everyone.
The vendors talking to community members. People meeting each other for the first time. Questions asked and answered. I would often catch pieces of conversation near me, and more times than not there was a tone of empathy. A tone that said we are the community and here to help each other, no matter who you are, what skill level you have or where you come from. The glass was half full, if not brimming over.
Of course all the other stuff
There was so much to the event, but at the same time the entire experience.
Having a little fun and a good laugh
There is nothing better than a good laugh. You may or may not know Nathan Wrigley from WPBuilds. A great friend of mine and a treasure to the WordPress community. Unfortunately Nathan could not make it, so our friend Mark Westguard from WS Form created a “Nathan head”. And it started popping around here and there at WCAsia. Make sure and click on the images so you can easily find “Where’s Nathan?”
The food was incredible. I’m not a foodie as much as many who travel, but the tastes I experienced are really beyond words. I am still deciding my favorites between Thai, Indian and Japanese. Unfortunately, I am terrible when it comes to taking pictures of our food. In fact, I likely got more from the food served on our flights than at the event.
There was this amazing Espresso Martini that we had, in some kind of a chalice at a restaurant in a local marketplace.
And the best experience I had was a cup of Spicy Coconut Soup with Scallops at a restaurant in the Iconsiam. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take a picture until I was half-finished. Trust me, the untouched presentation was pretty impressive. The taste, out of this world.
And then there was the host city. As mentioned, this was the first time Judy and I have been in Asia. The city was interesting and amazing at the same time. The weather was another thing. We spent an extra three days and found we could spend very little time outside because of the heat and humidity. Average days temp while while there were around 94°F / 34°C. We thought we would either melt away or simple pass out. But between the hotel, a boat ride down the river and a few other places, I do have a few shots to share with you.
What have I left out?
Likely a lot. But still recovering from jet lag and a good chunk of this post was written on the flight back.
If we connected at WCAsia, you are now a big part of one of my favorites memories since using WordPress.
And if you were an organizer, volunteer or sponsor this year, a big thanks and hug for one amazing event. You should be proud of what you did and the community that you brought together.
Until WordCamp Europe….