It’s Halloween and I’m on an Amtrak train headed to St. Louis. My morning starts with a snowstorm, the second ever on Halloween, howling wind (appropriate for the day) and biting temperatures. But I’m warm, dry and comfy aboard train #33 service to St Louis.
It’s actually a very scenic ride with the blowing snow covering the empty corn fields and surrounding trees with a layer of wintery snow. A lone coyote is spooked from its hiding spot by the train horn. By the time we reach Springfield, the snow has stopped. So much for the blizzard that was expected. In a little over 5 hours we reach our destination, St. Louis, Missouri. This is the view from the train, The famous Arch:
One can actually ride to the top of it if one wanted. I’m sure the view is spectacular.
Baseball season is over so hotel rooms are available only 3 blocks from the convention center, where the Camp is located. Thankfully, it’s warmer in St. Louis. OK for walking.
Truth be told. I have attended hundreds of conferences, conventions, and workshops but none of them ever started with morning yoga.
I wanted to do it, but my back still needed to heal from surgery. (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
This being my first WordCamp, I didn’t know what to expect (yoga ?), but the sign that read, Quiet Space Here, pretty much told me that this was not going to be a cookie cutter conference.
Here is a look at the Great Hall where vendors were telling their stories, presenting free swag (lots of it), handing out brochures but in a non-hassled way. Very laid-back. The likes of Google, Bluehost, Go Daddy, Amp and about 75 more very cool suppliers were in attendance. Have a look:
This was quite early on Day one so it appears the attendance was low. Not so. I was told about 1000 were registered and at the free buffet lunch, yes all 1000 were there.
Now my opinion of the Camp and my recommendation to attend or not really depends on ones interest in the inner workings of WordPress. I’m a blogger, as most of you may call yourselves. I’m not a web designer, developer, a teckie, I don’t have a brand, or a web store and I’m not in competition with other attendees who have clients and want a bigger slice of the pie. Moreover, and here’s the biggest minus, the Camp is dedicated to those who use WordPress.org I do not, I’m a WordPress.com blogger. So most workshops were .org related and how different plug-ins and apps for .org users could help them with their sites. I was also disappointed when the Google rep told me that Google Analytics were for .org users only (But Google might be working on something for .comers). Bummer. Oh, if you love to code, this is the place for you. It’s a coders heaven. However, writers, poets, photographers, not really a place for you.
My goal in attending was to find out more about WordPress and its inner workings. I did, and I also realized that I don’t need to migrate to .org at least not yet. I also attended a workshop that made me think about what I wanted from my blog and what kind of content I wanted to present to my fellow bloggers. So I have no regrets for attending the conference. I met some extremely talented young people who courteously answered all of my dumb questions and made recommendations based on my goals for my site.
Yes, I’m glad I attended, but if you have questions about Slack, Bert, Gutenberg, Gatsby, Tide, Schema, Strategy patterns and so forth, I must excuse myself. Not my cup of tea !