WordCamp is always a momentous occasion for a WordPress enthusiast to participate. Being a WordPress developer, I also can’t lose the chance to attend one. I attended at WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 in Nepal on 22 December, 2018. It was my first WordCamp participation in my 5 years+ WordPress career. Besides my regular participation, I contributed as an international/traveling speaker.
What is WordCamp?
Before I share the in-and-out of my first WordCamp experience, it’s important to give an idea about WordCamp to them who don’t know. Well, WordCamp is a conference that focuses on everything WordPress. It held worldwide and once a year per city. WordCamps are inclusive, community-organized events that are put together by WordPress users like you. Everyone from casual users to core developers participate, share ideas, and get to know each other. You can learn more about WordCamp from the official website of WordCamp Central. It’s an opportunity for people and organizations around WordPress ecosystem to give back to the community with their involvements in WordCamps.
Where & When WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 Was Held?
WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 was held in Biratnagar, the commercial capital of Nepal on Decemeber 22, 2018. Hotel Asiatique was the venue, near the domestic airport. It’s a quite place on Airport Road and easy to move from rest part of the city.
People Behind WordCamp Biratnagar 2018
There were a fantastic organizing team behind WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 with full of enthusiasm lead by Ganga Kafle. The teamwork is praise-worthy with no-doubt. Folks from different parts of the country came across and contribute as organizers and volunteers. It really takes a lot of efforts to organize a WordCamp. Specially, when it’s a first time WordCamp, challenges and barriers are even more than you can imagine. However, they could manage everything very well.
Kamal Prasad Sah (Speaker Wrangler), Abi Rana (Design Wrangler), Sujit Jha (Sponsor Wrangler), Saroj Karki (Media/Publicity Wrangler), Parbat Raj Jha (Finance Wrangler), Bicky Tamang (Website Wrangler), Rishav Malla Thakuri (Volunteer Wrangler), Sagar Bahadur Tamang (Venue Wrangler), Siddhant Mandal (Print/Content Wrangler), Aakash Jha (Creative Wrangler) were the folks who worked day and night to make the WordCamp happen. I couldn’t name all here though, but don’t be limited to check this Organizers and Volunteers list.
Who Spoke at WordCamp Biratnagar 2018?
There were a handful of highly skilled and experienced local and international speakers contributed in this WordCamp. The sessions were undoubtedly knowledge worthy for the audience. Prakash Upreti, Saroj Karki, Ganga Kafle, Kamal Prasad Sah, Sunita Rai, Bibek Sapkota, Pratima Sharma, Prithu Singh Thakuri, Madan Panthi, Abhisek Rijal, Regan Khadgi, Vedanshu Jain, Liton Arefin, Fahad Murtaza, Utsav Singh Rathour and me were in the speakers line-up. Don’t forget to check the Speakers list to learn more about the awesome speakers.
How I Got Involved in WordCamp Biratnagar 2018?
The back story is pretty interesting for me. One fine day (probably September 01, 2018) I received a message on meetup.com from Ganga (the lead organizer of WC Biratngar). Since I’m one of the organizers of Dhaka WordPress Meetup it’s obvious to come get frequent messages. He invited me and other enthusiasts I know in our community to take part and contribute in WordCamp Biratnagar 2018. I found this to be the first WordCamp in Biratnagar and made up my mind to contribute in all possible way. I always have a soft corner for first movers which I can’t deny. I immediately respond to him and showed my interest of contributions. I started looking into the opened scopes of contribution and found speaking very exciting. I also asked few of our community members and companies I know to contribute by sponsoring or any other ways they find suitable.
After getting confirmation of my spot as a speaker I went to prepare presentation and other required staffs to travel. Note that It was my first ever trip to abroad and first ever WordCamp participation.
Journey To Biratnagar, Nepal
It’s really hard to describe the journey in a nutshell. I flew to Kathmandu, Nepal on December 20, 2018 keeping 2 days ahead on hand. It took around 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach Trivuban International Airport, Kathmandu from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka. I had domestic flight from Kathmandu to Biratnagar the same day. After having back to back flight I reached Biratnagar around 6:00 PM in local time. I called Ganga and asked for help to find a hotel nearby. He immediately sent Rishav to pick me to hotel. It was really so sweet of him. He took me to main city where few other organizers were working hard to find suitable hotel for me and other traveling attendees. It’s worth saying that I mostly had interaction with Ganga, Kamal and Rishav in the organizing team. They are such a wonderful guys I can’t explain in words.
They brought me to Hotel Eastern Star who really provided best value to stay. I stayed there two days and then moved to the venue hotel on 22nd due to having flight in very early morning the next day.
Pre-Party with Speakers, Organizers and Volunteers
WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 was split into different segments; Pre-Party, Main Event and After Party. On December 21, 2018 at 7:00 PM I attended the pre-party and meet the awesome contributors of WordCamp Biratngar 2018. It was held at Purple Haze a walking distance from the main venue.
We had chat, fun, food over there. We shared knowledge and experiences among us. I made many new friends over there. Some good mention would be Vedanshu Jain, Fahad Murtaza, Liton Arefin, Roy Jme, Prakash Upreti and many others.
On 22nd December the main event of WordCamp started. Check in started at 7:45 AM local time and attendees were offered with delicious breakfast. The inaugural ceremony started at 8:50 AM in Nepali tradition which I really loved. Guests, Speakers and Organizers were greeted with due respect.
Right after the inaugural ceremony, the sessions started in two different hall; Danfe and Laligurans. My talk was in Laligurans hall. It was the last session of that hall right after the lunch. During other sessions and lunch break, we took photos around the place, had chat with many attendees, coffee and refreshments and lot of fun.
My talk was on “WordPress Security Fundamentals“. Considering mix audience, I tried to prepare that for both developers and non-developers. I was really very exited for my session for being that my first WordCamp speaking experience. Before that I had pretty much speaking experience though. But not in any WordCamp. I could conducted things well. Honestly speaking, I didn’t feel any hesitation to speak. There was no such feeling inside that I’m speaking in somewhere too far from my neighborhood. It felt like home for me to be in Biratnagar.
I must acknowledge the interest, enthusiasm and coolness of audience at WordCamp Biratnagar 2018. It’s praise worthy how disciplined they are. I saw audience in very few events I’d been like them. Calm, quite and attentive people! You may not need an ice breaker if you speak in Biratnagar. I’m not being biased just because I’d been to there. They really are such attentive audience. I saw them to be in the hall till the end of whole WordCamp.
I took around 25 minutes for my talk. Here’s the slides of my presentation on WordPress Security Fundamentals.
Wrapping Up WordCamp Biratnagar 2018
The closing ceremony of WordCamp Biratmagar 2018 was very exciting. Organizers gave away “Token of Appreciation” and “Token of Love” to all the organizers, speakers, sponsors and volunteers. I was thrilled to be present at the closing ceremony and receive the honor. I saw happiness and satisfaction in every face.
Wait, it’s not ended yet. Right after the closing ceremony, there was After Party at Purple Haze, the place where the Pre-Party was held. It was a great networking opportunity among organizers, speakers, volunteers and attendees. I got to know new people over there and made new friends. We had snacks there, many photos and fun!
What I’ve Learnt?
WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 was like a learning institution to me. Although I spoke but I’m not geek of all. I learnt a lot from the fellow speakers, representatives of sponsors, organizers and not but the least the audience. I got the chance to be an audience of few sessions. I came across to learn on different topics which was completely new to me. It was a worth lesson for me to learn how you should be positive in hardest and challenging time seeing the organizers. I have to admit that organizing a WordCamp is not an easy task at all to deal with. It’s undoubtedly clear that WordCamp Biratnagar 2018 organizers were capable enough to handle things.
What I’ve Achieved?
As I mentioned earlier, WordCamp Biratnagar was my first WordCamp to date. So, participating that is itself an achievement for me. Speaking at first WordCamp is a bonus! I made friends who were kind enough and lovable. I’ve received at least 50 messages from organizers, fellow speakers, volunteers and participants after returning back to home. They just asked if I could reach safely. Such caring people, so sweet of them.
I spent most of my time with Vedanshu Jain, Liton Arefin, Roy Jme, Fahad Murtaza, Prakash Upreti, Kamal Prasad Sah, Ganga Kafle, Rishav and some others. Vedanshu was with me till my boarding of flight to Dhaka from Kathmandu. We became very closed friends during WordCamp Biratnagar. We shared many things between us, we were neighbor in hotel. There are many sweet memories.
Prakash Upreti is a broad hearten guy who offered all the traveling speakers for trip to some tourist spots in Nepal. Although me and Vedanshu couldn’t make it due to having our return ticket booked. He took other guys. The day we were leaving, Prakash came to pick us to the Airport. He stayed with us till our check-in. We had coffee and lot more discussion in that very early morning. I must take great care of these guys when they visit Dhaka in future. I really learnt from him how to treat your guests. Great man indeed.
My experience of WordCamp Biratnagar 2018, can’t be explained even in 10 articles. However, it’s a little effort from me to acknowledge the honor and love I’ve received from Biratnagar and Nepal. I would love to travel more in Nepal in coming days. Nepal is really a piece of beauty. Not only the nature the people who really matter. WordCamp Biratnagar was yet another a successful and last WordCamp of 2018. I feel proud and privileged to be a part of this. It helped me to learn tons of things and encouraged me to increase my involvement in community contribution. I’m hopeful to see those wonderful faces soon again.
That’s all from me now. I’ll share more of my activities in my next blogs. Thank you so much for having your patience to read this article. I wish a prosperous and happy new year to people around the world.
You can watch some beautiful moments of WordCamp Biratnagar in this video created by Focus.