"It's a long flight", "I have to book the hotel", "Got to purchase my conference ticket", "I don't know too many people", "It it worth it to attend a Joomla! event?". These were my main concerns and honestly my excuses to stay at home and enjoy my French coffee while coding some Joomla! extensions. I was some kind of a hobbit...
Just to explain quickly, I have been working with Joomla since 2006, but never went to a Joomla event before, even in France. I'm in contact with the Joomla! Community Team on Skype and spend some time in Joomla forums, but all in a "virtual" sense.
It was in August and I had almost given up; California was too far, I had no passport, let's forget it...
At the beginning of September, coming back to the conference website, I noticed a link to a thread : "JWC – Share a room", and found this post :
I'm Helvecio from Rio de Janeiro/Brasil
I plan to be in San Francisco from Nov 11th to 15th. Then San Jose from Nov 15th to 19th.
If anyone is interested in sharing a room, contact me!
Damn, I could not argue about the hotel room price anymore!
I immediately checked the flights from Paris to San Francisco...second piece of good news, it was less expensive than I expected.
After a couple of days, I applied for a passport, my event and flight tickets were purchased. The room sharing was organized with a 3rd guy, Mark W. Bender whom I knew from the Joomla Community Magazine team.
During the conference, I met people I only knew from forums, emails or skype chats : Alice & Dianne from the JCM team, William White, a US Joomla user and friend, extension developers like Nicholas Dionysopoulos (Akeeba), Peter Van Westen (NoNumber), Sander Potjer (ACL Manager), Jisse Reitma (Yireo). There were many more, of course...
What about the sessions? Just check the videos on the conference website. I was most interested in the developer sessions. The ones I attended were high quality and from what I've heard, the other ones too.
To make a long story short, the people were great, the sessions were great, the organization was great, the food was great!
I had a lot of questions before this event, I had answers and still have questions, maybe more now, but no more about Joomla events. In 2013, I'll do my best to attend the JoomlaDay in France and JandBeyond, and why not as a speaker ?
So, if you're in the same state of mind as me before my first Joomla event, don't sweat it. Check your flight, book your hotel, buy your event ticket, relax and enjoy the event and the Joomla community spirit!