The Ultimate WCUS Nashville Map

Photo Credit: Randy Hicks

With just a couple of months to go, Nashville is revving up to welcome everyone from around the globe to WordCamp US. We are so excited to host WordCamp US, and it looks like you’re excited too.

Hopefully, you’ll have a little time to explore the amazing city of Nashville before or after WordCamp US. In order to make this free time more enjoyable, we cooked up a map that covers a variety of what you might need while in town.

If you are flying in, make sure you check out this post that covers tips on ground transportation once you arrive.

In it’s current form, the map is a jumping off point that focuses on the area that is within walking distance of the venue and the hotel. We covered what we thought would be the most asked for areas:

  • Coffee and Tea Shops
  • Restaurants and Ice Cream Shops
  • Banks, ATMS, Pharmacies, Post Office and Shipping Centers
  • Bars and Karaokee
  • Parking Facilities
  • Public Transportation Routes

We will also have some upcoming posts that focus on the food and entertainment scene, not only in the immediate area of the venue, but also what’s available a quick cab ride away. We’ll also be making some additional maps to make those places easier to find.

Did you know that Nashville is an up-incoming foodie hub? Don’t just take our word for it, check out why Style Blueprint called Charlotte Ave. a Foodie Mecca, and why the New York Times and the Travel Channel said:

“Any higher-end Southern chef definitely has an eye toward opening a restaurant in Nashville these days because it is so dynamic and both the audience and good-quality meat and produce are there in abundance. The number of people from the high-tech sector, the country music industry and, increasingly, the Los Angeles music and film scene demand sophisticated food, but they also want it to be authentic. So you can get a great mix of smart takes on Southern standards along with dishes that push the envelope, with wine lists and cocktails to match.”

We hope you fall in love with Nashville while you are here. If there’s a topic you’d like to see an upcoming post or map cover, give us a shout and we’ll try and include that information for you.

Check out the map here.

WordCamp 101: 10 Things to Make Your Experience Rock

Congratulations! You’re attending your very first WordCamp. If you’re choosing WordCamp US as your first camp, we’re flattered and excited to share nearly a year’s worth of work with you. Over the years I’ve attended several conferences and other WordCamps and learned a lot of lessons. I’ve put together 10 of the most important tips and tricks to help make your first WordCamp a great experience.

1. Wear good, comfortable shoes.

If there’s one thing that makes me miserable the fastest, it’s when my feet hurt. I’m not talking about just a small ache because I did a lot of walking, but the kind of pain where chopping off your feet sounds like a reasonable option. If you want to have a great time the whole time you’re at WCUS, I STRONGLY recommend wearing shoes that are comfortable, but give you lots of support. You don’t want to miss out on all the fun stuff we have planned because you have to take a break to rest your poor tootsies.

Pro Tip: Don’t wear brand new shoes either. I made the bad choice of doing this when I went to Las Vegas for a conference earlier this year. During the 3 days I was there, I walked over 20 miles. By the end of the conference, my feet –  and the rest of me – was screaming. I could have easily prevented this by wearing shoes that were still in good condition, but broken in enough to conform to my feet.

2. Bring a laptop.

The first WordCamp I ever went to, I only took my phone and my iPad. Needless to say, I was miserable. Everyone around me was able to follow along and try some of the cool things the presenters were showing us, but I was stuck sitting there with my iPad. If you want to get the most out of your WordCamp experience, be sure to bring a laptop. You’ll be far, far happier.

Pro Tip: Bring a notepad too. Sometimes getting to an outlet to charge your laptop can be tricky. So that you don’t forget something important while your laptop charges, bring a notebook or notepad (I’m particularly fond of legal pads) and a pen or twenty and take some notes. You’ll hate yourself a lot less later for not getting to an outlet sooner.

3. Bring a water bottle/travel mug.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to WCUS to learn. What keeps me from being able to learn? Among other things, being thirsty. While I could just run and grab a refill in a cup when I need it, that takes away from my valuable learning time. Because for me, it’s not just running to grab the cup of water, there’s also the part where I have to come back in and get focused again, which isn’t one of my strengths. Bringing a refillable water bottle means that I can stay focused on what I’m doing longer and get the most out of the sessions I’m attending. Not to mention, using a water bottle instead of a disposable cup is far better for the environment. If you’re more of a coffee drinker, I recommend bringing a travel mug for the same reasons.

Pro Tip: No matter how much you trust your beloved Nalgene, there’s a chance it could leak all over your laptop and anything else in your bag. Either find a backpack with a pocket for your water bottle, or get a carabiner clip and clip it to the outside of your backpack. You’ll thank me later when you’re not crying over the corpse of your waterlogged laptop.

4. Bring chargers for all of your devices.

There’s nothing worse than being out and about with a dead phone/tablet/laptop. Bring chargers for all of the devices you intend to use at WordCamp. If you use a battery-operated mouse (or wireless remote for presenting), bringing an extra set of batteries couldn’t hurt either. Even if you don’t end up needing them, you could find yourself with a new friend when you share those extra batteries with someone in need.

Pro Tip: Be sure to keep all of your cords separate. I wrap mine using this cable shortening method. It keeps the cables in a neat loop that I can clip on to one of those carabiner clips that I mentioned earlier. It works pretty well for charging cables, earbuds, extension cords, really anything that gets tangled easy.

5. Bring a pair of headphones.

As much as I want to be able to unplug from my job and just focus on the sessions, it’s not always possible. Sometimes you have to put your nose to the grindstone and get some work done. If you’re the type that needs to listen to some music while you work, bring along a pair of earbuds so that you can focus and not disturb others around you.

Pro Tip: Besides learning about new concepts and ideas, we’re at WordCamp to connect with other members of the community. Tuning out and keeping to yourself may be tempting when new people and situations make you uneasy, but when you stop yourself from meeting new people because you’re afraid of the worst, you also keep yourself from opening up to the possibility of making a great connection that could lead to a life-long friendship.

6. Condense your stuff.

My usual “load” for a day involves a purse, laptop bag, lunch bag, and the occasional tote bag. While this is fine when I’m going to work, it’s not so great when you’re running around all day at a conference. When I attend conferences, I usually condense my backpack down to the following:

  • Laptop
  • Chargers (phone and laptop)
  • Batteries
  • Wireless Mouse (and presenter remote if I’m speaking)
  • Wallet – I condense my wallet down to the following
    • Driver’s License or other government-issued Photo ID
    • My Debit Card
    • A Credit Card (for emergencies)
    • Insurance Card(s) (just in case)
    • A card with emergency contact info – ICE Card is a pretty great resource for this.
  • Luggage Tag – put this on the outside of your backpack
  • Flash Drive/External Hard Drive
  • Extra Socks (optional) – I hate wet feet, so I always pack an extra pair.
  • Any medications you might need during the day – pack each medication separately in a clearly labelled container. I usually just keep mine in their bottles from the pharmacy and black out any personal info.
  • A small snack – there will be food and snacks provided throughout the day, but I always bring an extra just in case. Think nuts and granola bars vs. something soft and/or melty. Choose something durable that won’t get destroyed in your bag, but will give you a little energy boost if needed.

Pro Tip: Get a small tote or even a Ziploc bag to stick all of your conference swag in. That way all of the stickers and little bits and pieces are in one bag that you can stick in your luggage at the end of the conference.

7. Invest in a good backpack.

Getting a good backpack is a sound investment in your neck, shoulders, back, knees…really your whole body. Carrying around your stuff all day in a tote or shoulder bag is murder on whichever shoulder you choose as your victim. I strongly recommend a backpack, preferably one that has a strap that connects the shoulder straps across your chest. This extra strap helps to distribute the weight more evenly across your upper body, keeping your neck and shoulders safe and the straps in place. I usually look for the following in a good backpack:

  • Laptop pocket – it’s usually situated closest to your body when you put it on and it’s padded for extra protection for your most valuable device
  • Accessory pockets – I like a variety of pockets to put all of my little bits and pieces in
  • Good padded shoulder straps
  • The cross body strap I mentioned above
  • A water bottle pocket
  • Rain cover – this is a feature I didn’t know I wanted until I got stuck out in the rain one day with my backpack. I ended up putting my jacket over my backpack until I could get inside. I was soaking wet, but not a drop of water ended up inside my bag.  Something like this backpack cover would have saved me (and my hair) a lot of grief.

Pro Tip: Get a lock for your backpack, something that can loop through the laptop zipper and then wrap around something. While I hope something like this wouldn’t happen, it does, and it sucks. While WordCamps are generally very safe environments, people often meet up for breakfast in the morning before the conference or dinner after, and they have their backpacks with them. Extra security never hurts. I have had my laptop stolen and I still get the heebie jeebies when I think about the stuff I lost.

8. Dress in layers.

Let’s face it, room temperatures are unpredictable. For this reason, I would bring a sweater or hoodie that you can throw on and/or take off as the climate requires. As I write this post, I sit in the middle of a Meetup freezing because I left my sweater in the car. Don’t be like me, bring a sweater. Otherwise, your brain will freeze. Disclaimer: I’ve never actually heard of someone’s brain freezing from being too cold.

Pro Tip: Let’s not forget that we’re going to be in Nashville in December. The historical average for that time of year is in the mid 50’s (about 12 – 15 celsius). However, last December temps were in the 70s (anywhere from 21 – 26 celsius). Bottom line, be sure to check the weather report and pack accordingly.

By Sportstagid (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

9. Wear a medical bracelet.

Do you have a condition that requires special treatment such as a food or medication allergy, asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy? Wear a medical bracelet. Under normal circumstances you may not need one, because people familiar with you probably already know about your medical history. But you’re going to be coming to a city you’re not familiar with and hanging with people who may not know about your medical condition. In the event of an emergency, first responders will need to know these things and if you’re not able to communicate them, you could be in a whole lot of trouble. There’s loads of options out there (Walgreens carries several different kinds), pick one and make sure you wear it.

Pro Tip: If you have an allergy that causes anaphylaxis, such as a bee sting, and you carry an epinephrine auto-injector (you may know them as Epi-Pens), it couldn’t hurt to label that pocket on your backpack. That way if you can’t get to it fast enough, someone can help you get help.

Attendees talking between sessions at WordCamp US 2015 #wcus Photo by Sheri Bigelow, licensed cc-by-nc.

10. Bring a friend.

While not required, having a friend tag along with you can make for a memorable WordCamp experience. If you’re like me and you’re road tripping to WordCamp US, think of all of the awesome photos, sing-a-longs, and weird roadside attractions that you’ll see and get to enjoy together. If you’re flying, it’s always nice to have a travel buddy to keep you company while you’re waiting at the airport during the inevitable layover.

Pro Tip: Don’t use your buddy as a reason to shut out others. Go in with an open mind and you’re sure to find another new friend (or friends!) to share the experience with.

Whether you follow my advice or not, WordCamp US is sure to be a great event. Tickets are on sale now for the low cost of $40. Get your ticket today!

Post Contributors: Laura Byrne-Cristiano

Featured Photo Credit:

  • Top Left: Attendees at WordCamp US 2015 #wcus Photo by Sheri Bigelow, licensed cc-by-nc.
  • Bottom Left: BY SPORTSTAGID (OWN WORK) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY-SA/3.0)], VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

WCUS Needs You: Volunteer Applications Are Now Open

We are excited to announce that that our volunteer applications are open starting today. Every year, our volunteers give our event a personal touch. Their community spirit is a huge part of what makes attendees eager to come back the following year.

Without question, volunteers are the backbone of WCUS. WCUS could not happen without the myriad of people who donate their time in so many different ways to ensure that the event goes off without a hitch.

There are lots of options for people who would like to volunteer. We have flexible hours and roles. There is one thing that is certain; there is something for everyone. If you would like to volunteer, fill out our application to help us find the right role for you. No previous experience is necessary, just a willingness to lend a hand.

A big thank you in advance from everyone on the organizing team. We could not do this without you!

Apply here to volunteer

Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship Applications Open

Two people wearing conference badges standing together, the subject on the right has their arm around the person the left. The person on the left is Kim Parsell, the person on the right is Jose.
Photo Credit: Kim Parsell on Twitter

We are pleased to announce that applications for the Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship are being accepted as of today.

Kim Parsell was an active member of the WordPress community until her untimely passing in 2015. She was given the nickname “WPMom” because of the care she took in making sure any member of the community that she encountered felt welcomed and valued.

Kim actively participated in WordPress Meetups in her native Ohio, often driving over 90 minutes each way to do so. She also attended multiple WordCamps from Ohio to San Francisco and everywhere in-between. As a contributor, she contributed to every release of WordPress from 3.7 to 4.2.

Online, Kim could often be found on Twitter encouraging community members in whatever they were doing. She’d also post comments on countless WordPress sites to give members a shout out, boost of confidence, or help if they needed it.

For the reasons above, and so many more, a scholarship for a women who has never attended WordCamp US before is named after Kim Parsell.

Applications for the 2017 Kim Parsell Memorial Scholarship are now closed. Applicants will be contacted in the fall regarding their status.

WCUS Community Bazaar!

WordPressers

I’ll never forget my first time at a WordPress event. It was at the WordCamp San Diego 2012 after-party. I was new and being introduced to many faces that night. Almost immediately I felt a sense of shock at how warm & inviting this community was. This was one of the very few times I had been around a group of people that genuinely cared about getting to know me; that sincerely desired to listen to me; that was just plain interested in others more than themselves. I was hooked.

Everyone has their “WordPress origin story;” the story of how they got sucked into the community. How they discovered a community to get involved with and invest in. This is mine.

What is yours? Tell us about your local WordPress Community and what makes it special. We would love to feature our local and regional WordPress communities at our WCUS 2017 Community Bazaar! Read all about it and join us in the fun!

Check out WP Tavern’s interview of two of our organizers where they talk community love:

Interview with WordCamp US 2017 Organizers Dustin Meza and Laura Byrne-Cristiano

Travelling to WordCamp US

WordCamp US is in the very accessible location of Nashville, Tennessee. After you get your ticket, you’re going to want to get your hotel reservation, and then figure out your transportation. Here’s some tips and tricks to make your planning as stress free as possible, and get you here ready to celebrate all that the North American WordPress community has to offer.

Airport

Nashville International Airport (Airport Code: BNA) is located about 30 minutes from the the downtown Nashville area where all of our venues are located.

Hotel

Renaissance Nashville Hotel, is our official hotel for WordCamp US. It is withing walking distance of Music City Center, the site of the WordCamp US and Contributor Day. Make sure you reserve before October 31, 2017 to take advantage of our $189 per night special rate.

Ground Transportation

The Renaissance Nashville does not provide shuttle service from the airport. No worries, you can get to the hotel a number of ways:

Rental Car

Nashville International Airport has a rental car facility a short walk from the terminal. There, you will have the choice of nine (9) rental car brands including Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, and many more.

Note: If you do intend to rent a car and stay at the Renaissance Nashville, please note that the hotel does not own any on site parking. The hotel provides valet parking services through a company called TownePark.  This service is currently $38 a night (plus applicable taxes) and includes in/out privileges. If you prefer, there are a number of garages downtown that you can choose from. The library garage, which is right across the street from the hotel, is about $14 a day (plus applicable taxes) with no in/out privileges.

Taxis

There are a variety of taxi companies to serve you. There is a flat rate of $25 to get to the downtown area.

Ride Sharing

Lyft and Uber are available in the Nashville area.

Jarmon Transportation

You can also get a ride via Jarmon Transportation for about $20. A reservation is required. Call (615) 275-0146 to reserve your ride.

International Travelers

To make traveling to the US a little easier, we’ve put together an International Travelers page with instructions on how to get a letter to attach to your visa from the WordCamp US organizing team and the latest information we have on traveling to the US.

To make this as smooth as possible for everyone involved, please follow the directions as listed in the Sending a Secure Note via LastPass documentation.

Don’t Forget

  • You MUST purchase a ticket before we can send you a visa letter. No exceptions. If you have issues purchasing your ticket, please contact us.
  • We’ll need 1-2 weeks to process your letter. Allow yourself plenty of time to get your letter and submit it with your visa application.
  • To ensure that your request is processed in a timely fashion, we need your request no later than November 1st.

The Loss of One of Our Own

It is with a broken heart that we write that the WordPress Community lost one of its own today. Jesse Petersen, a Genesis Preferred Developer, theme and plugin developer, and so much more lost his fight with Cystic Fibrosis today. Jesse was a valued contributor to the WordPress community and will be greatly missed by those who knew him. He was a WordPress user since 2005, a developer since 2008 and a friend to many.

Jesse is most known as being a Genesis Preferred Developer. As a Genesis-preferred developer since 2009, StudioPress trusted Jesse with their customers to assist with custom sites  and he was often personally recommended by the StudioPress founder, Brian Gardner for work. He was dedicated to his profession and to his clients to build products that they can be proud to use on their website. You can find some of his newest themes at GenesisThe.me.

Jesse was also a plugin developer. His newest plugin was GenesisThe.me After Entry Widget Pro that added a widget after a post.  He also has 5 plugins in the WordPress repository including Genesis Latest Tweets and Stealth Login Page. His last commit was only 5 days ago.

Jesse enjoyed being a WordCamp Speaker. He spoke at WordCamp Tampa and WordCamp Orlando in 2015 to name a few. Some of his talks  can be found at WordPress.tv. He enjoyed being a part of the WordPress Community and sharing his knowledge of WordPress.

Also, Jesse was a member of The WP Crowd and was on many of their podcasts. He was also a Treehouse instructor. His lessons include  Modern WordPress Workflow and Genesis Theme Development, which was released in August 2015

Jesse’s personal life was as full as his professional life. He was a family man with a beautiful wife and two adorable boys. Both of his boys came to them as foster children and then they became a forever family. You may remember his “surprise adoption” story of when they adopted their youngest son, Parker back in January, 2016. Jesse and his wife, Kristin, were foster parents up until they decided to take a pause from accepting anymore foster children. He was dedicated to his family and friends. He had a heart bigger than WordPress. 

Cystic Fibrosis had other ideas for Jesse. CF is a genetic disease that affects the ability of chloride to pass through cellular walls. This results in a lack of water balance in cells. Lack of water balance results in a thickened mucus that creates a problem in CFers’ respiratory tract (including sinuses), pancreas, liver, skin, and digestive tract. The life expectancy for CF is about 37 years. Jesse was 38.

Jesse leaves behind a wife and two precious boys who will be going through a lot in the upcoming days. They also could use all the help they can get for last expenses and going forward. Ben Meredith has setup a Give fundraiser to help with the last expenses and for the family going forward.

If you would like to read his story about his past few months of waiting for a lung transplant, please see New Lungs For Me . His older blog about Cystic Fibrosis can be found at Cystic Fibrosis Fatboy.

Jesse said just two days before his passing on TwitterCan you look over your life and say you’d be leaving those connected to you better off having known you? If not, start today.” I think we can all safely say, we are better off for knowing you Jesse Petersen.

 

Images used from Jesse’s blogs.

Call for Sponsors

TL:DR The call for sponsors for WordCamp US 2017 is open! Click here to apply

Sponsoring WordCamp US is a little different than sponsoring your average tech conference or trade show. It’s different than vying for a branding opportunity at a swanky corporate party. It’s sponsoring a lot of intangibles, but those intangibles pay off. It’s supporting the WordPress Community.

It’s being a part of the WordPress Community.

So, what does your company get out of sponsoring WordCamp US? It gets the attention of attendees who are highly engaged. They tune in, listen, and observe. You have the opportunity to be a part of a community that works because everyone works together. By being a part of this event, community members and attendees get to know you and your brand on a deeper level. Your support enables attendees to have a high-quality conference at a super affordable price.

We’re more about the holistic experience than the showmanship. Sure, there will be booths, banners, and swag. A bit of glitz and glamor. Everyone loves those. But more importantly there will be connection and conversation. Engagement with the driving force of WordPress. We are people driven. Community driven. Code driven.

The WordCamp program is unique and thrives because of the sum of all its parts and when you sponsor WordCamp US 2017 you make all this possible.

We want to make sponsorship and support of our event as attainable for those who support the WordPress Community as possible. With that in mind this year WordCamp US has sponsorship opportunities available from $300 to $75,000. We hope there’s a level that will work for you and your company.

For more information or to apply to sponsor, check out our Sponsors page.

We’ll see you in December.

Call for Speakers

Update: Speaker submissions are now closed. Thanks to everyone who submitted a talk! We’ll get back to everyone as soon as possible.

We’re thrilled to announce that WordCamp US 2017 is officially accepting speaker applications!

The 3rd annual WordCamp US will be held December 1-3, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. We are excited to bring together WordPress enthusiasts from around the globe to participate in this fantastic event that celebrates all things WordPress. We appreciate the varied talents and perspectives that developers, content creators, designers, etc.  bring to the WordPress community. We’re looking to build a program packed with amazing presentations which reflects this incredible diversity of the WordPress community, and we want you to be a part of it!

Photo credit: Seth Goldstein.

What We’re Looking For

WordCamp US showcases the best of WordPress and the WordPress Community. We’re particularly interested in hearing from those who have used WordPress in interesting, innovative, and significant ways. Whether the open source software was used to deliver something technically amazing, or whether WordPress was the foundation for creating something meaningful in the community, we want to know about it. We’re also looking for dynamic and versatile speakers to talk about how they use WordPress to grow their business, develop advanced plugins, tell their stories, and much much more. Everybody has a unique WordPress story to tell, and we want to hear yours.

There’s much we can learn from others who haven’t traditionally spoken to our community. Your voice is welcome here.  If you work on other Open Source projects or web design and development in general, and think the WordPress community could benefit from your story, we want it told at WCUS.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out presentations from last year’s event.

Photo credit: Seth Goldstein.

Apply Today!

Please use the application website below to share your ideas with us. We encourage potential speakers to upload more than one pitch, but no more than three submissions will be accepted from an applicant. If you choose to submit more than three, the first three will be the only pitches considered.  If you run into problems submitting your application, please contact us.

Apply to speak at https://wcus-speakers.org

All applications must be submitted by June 23, 2017 at 11:59 EST (-5 GMT).

The Renaissance Nashville Hotel is the WCUS 2017 Official Hotel

The Renaissance Nashville Hotel, one of the Nashville’s premier hotels, is the official hotel for WordCamp US 2017. It is just a short walk away from Music City Center, our official venue.

Photo Credit: Marriott International

Cool off in the indoor pool, burn off some steam in the fitness center, or relax and enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi in the hotel lobby while you work on a few lines of code.

Several trendy eateries and bars are located within the hotel proper, and there are multiple other options within walking distance of the hotel.

Photo Credit: Marriott International

We have also been able to secure a special rate for WordCamp US attendees of $189 a night for rooms that feature either a King or two Queen beds. Reservations can be made online at this specific link. Alternatively, attendees can call 1 (800) 468-3571 or (615) 255-8400 and mention WCUS to get the special rate.

Don’t wait until the last second! Reservations are being accepted now through October 31, 2017.

Buy your tickets to WordCamp US today!


Contributing Writer: Eleasha Drew
Photo Credit: Marriott International