Five Things I Learned at WordCamp


Train Ride, Photo credit: Casey Alexander, Creative Commons License

If you weren’t able to attend WordCamp US, I have three words for you.


Thanks to spotty WiFi, the “I’m on my way” draft I wrote on Thursday has dissolved into net-ether.

It was sort of bitter, anyway (I was missing all the fun); no need for you to experience my angst.

Here’s the rundown of my trip into Philadelphia for WordCamp US.

Train was late leaving. I was okay. Flexibility is key.

Train had another delay. I was mildly frustrated but could still attend the volunteer meeting, so…no big deal.

We left.

We stopped.

Train engine needed to be swapped for a new one, due to a faulty blinker.

Wait. A blinker. Trains just follow a track, right?

(I know, I know…)

After locomotive replacement, I realized we’d never make it in time. Not only would I miss the volunteer meeting but would also miss dinner.

Now THAT bugged me. Everyone ELSE was meeting and greeting (and eating) and getting to know one another.

Meantime, the enthusiastic guy beside me explained his acting career and need for a new agent. He even played a YouTube video of his role.

In which he portrayed a homeless guy.

Speaking parts? No. SAG affiliation? No.

Pretty sure he was an actual homeless guy the film-student-with-an-iPhone-and-dreams-of-producing grabbed off the street. I could be wrong. Also, I hope the student has a backup career plan. She’ll need it.

I pulled out the cashews-and-cheese snack I’d grabbed on a whim. At least I didn’t have to pay four thousand dollars for a frozen hamburger in the cafe car. Thank goodness for whims.

My seatmate told the car conductor that he’s in the CIA. I decided to sway my way to the dining car.

In spite of the train’s best efforts, I did not land in anyone’s lap and managed to keep my knapsack from bruising anyone’s head.

Prior to the event, WordCamp US organizers asked volunteers to join Slack. I am not, shall we say, the most advanced techie on the planet and had mild concern about learning a new system, but Slack is really easy to use.

Perhaps I’ll even consider learning to Tweet.

Slack chatting diminished the feeling of “everyone else is at the playground while I sit inside with the flu.” And I met a few really cool people, including one Ewok.

You heard me right. See?


My favorite Ewok. Photo Credit: Casey Alexander, Creative Commons License

If my train had been on time I might have missed getting to know Ruth. And THAT, my friends, would have been a tragedy.

Via Slack chat, she encouraged me to attend the last hour of the volunteer party; without her prodding I’d have gone straight to the hotel. Friday night I was planning for takeout in the hotel, but Ruth invited me to an event at the Magic Gardens (that’s a post of it’s own…stay tuned).

Today, she made sure I was safely on the train home, coffee in hand (coffee=definitely necessary during and after volunteering).

Without Ruth, this weekend would have been an utter disaster.

Okay, that’s a little extreme.

Without Ruth, I would have holed up in my hotel for the first two nights and missed a ton of fun.

The first thing I learned at WordCamp US:

  1. Making great friends is worth the trip, the time, the travel expense. More than worth it.

Train delays were frustrating, but an on-time train could have meant missing the connection with Ruth. I already look forward to hanging out with her next year. Perhaps I should find a Wookie hoodie.


Ewok Girl Wookie Photo Credit: Amy Gustafson

Thank goodness for train problems.





About Casey

Adoption = my life. I'm determined to give my kids the chance they deserve. Adoption isn't always easy. I promise, you're not alone in this. Join me at - we're in this together.

Posted on December 7, 2015, in Parent. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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