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Our most sustainable WordCamp trip to date

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The required team on their arrival in Turin in front of the WordCamp location.

We are staying true to our tradition: this year, we once again attended the largest European WordPress conference, which took place from June 13 to 15 in Turin, Italy.
In fact, we proudly claim it was our most sustainable journey to date – we cycled from Locarno in Switzerland to Turin for the conference.

Join our team on an exciting cycling adventure to the WordCamp! Discover how a spontaneous idea turned into a thrilling team project, filled with new passions, team building, and inspiring experiences. Read about our journey, challenges, and the motivation we gained from the conference.

Arrival

Our remote team traveled by train to the starting point in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Jeff came from Nuremberg, Dominik from Cologne, Karin from Chur, Velthy from Lucerne, and Tuğçe Nur from Zurich. Meanwhile, Paschi and Simon stayed in the home office to hold down the fort.

In Locarno, we met up with our former team colleague Corina, who lives in Ticino. Since we will be setting off on our bikes the next morning, we prepare ourselves with a hearty portion of pasta, as we should.

First stage Locarno → Gattinara

It’s Tuesday morning: after carb-loading the previous evening, enjoying a good breakfast and espresso, we set off on the first stage with our packed bikes and cool team jerseys, full of motivation. Corina and her son accompanied us to Ascona.

For our trip to WordCamp Europe, we had special team jerseys produced, designed by Jeff. These uniform jerseys expressed perfectly our team spirit and enthusiasm for cycling.

We handed our laptops over to our “pack mule” Velthy, who took them to Turin by train while we pedaled. The first stage covered 97.2 km to Gattinara. The weather was fine, and we enjoyed the sunshine along Lake Maggiore.

Second stage Gattinara → Turin

After breakfast, we are ready for the second stage and can hardly wait to get to Turin. Despite our tired legs, we set off with our sights firmly set on the finish. The second day awaits us with 103 km ahead.

We make a stopover in the small province of Santhià around 11 a.m., refresh ourselves with coffee, and hold a short team meeting. It was certainly one of the most unusual calls we’ve ever had as a remote team.

We’ll see Velthy again in Turin in a few hours. We get back on our bikes, and the rest of the day passes without any flat tires.

Finish line in Torino

We arrive at the conference location in Turin around 5 p.m., just in time as dark clouds gather on the final stretch before the city. As soon as the hotel doors close behind us, the downpour begins. What luck we had, just like the day before!

We toast to our great trip over dinner with Velthy, enjoy the Italian cuisine, and call it an early night. The next day is Contributor Day, and we are ready for it!

What happened to the rest of the team while we were pedaling south?
Paschi and Simon had promised to join us on the home trainer for at least a short time. The photos reach us at the hotel in the evening, bringing a smile to our faces.

Our commitment on Contributor Day

It’s already Thursday: our bikes are now allowed to rest for a few days while we participate in Contributor Day. This is always a great opportunity for us to make our open-source contributions to WordPress.

Our team participates in the following focus teams:

A conference with industrial flair

The actual conference begins on Friday. The location in Turin had an exceptional atmosphere as it took place in the Lingotto, a former Fiat factory. This setting provided an impressive mix of historical significance and modern architecture. The conference rooms offered a unique atmosphere and plenty of space for the numerous participants and sessions.

Another highlight was the visit to the famous test track on the roof of the Lingotto. Once used by Fiat, it is now a fascinating piece of automotive history.

Sessions that made us sit up and take notice

Once again, this year, we had the opportunity to listen to inspiring and informative talks. We were particularly impressed by these contributions, which we can benefit from in our daily work:

  • Sustainable Open Source Joost de Valk and Juliette Reinders Folmer show how open source projects can be made sustainable. Topics include the importance of financing, the involvement of finance departments and how the community can contribute to the sustainability of open source.
  • Interactivity API For a long time, the new React-JS components of WordPress and the old PHP code base did not work together, so that many templates had to be written twice, once in JavaScript and once in PHP. Michał Czapliński has clearly demonstrated how React functions can be controlled directly via the PHP code since version 6.5.
  • The European Accessibility Act explained → Rian Rietveld explained the European Accessibility Act and its impact on websites and digital products.
  • The Power of WordPress Testing and Automation: Test Types and When to Use Them → Vraja Das showed in this talk which different test types there are for WordPress and when they are best used. Other topics included an introduction to automation and how to improve the quality of WordPress projects.
  • Mastering WordPress Block Themes: 3 Key Principles → In this talk, Jamie Marsland shows you how to be creative with the block editor so that hardly any code is needed.

See you in Basel in 2025!

The final highlight of every WordCamp is the announcement of the next venue. And 2025 will be a special one – at least for us.

The European WordPress Conference will take place in Switzerland for the first time in 2025! Basel, located in the tri-border region of Switzerland, France, and Germany, will host the conference. Congratulations to everyone from the Swiss community for their great work!

And we are already making plans to combine the journey with a bike tour.

Return journey

And that’s how quickly this year’s WordCamp Europe came to an end. We had all planned to travel back on Sunday, but the Italian rail company Trenitalia had another surprise for us – a rail strike!

As a result, everyone had an individual yet entertaining return journey:

Velthy left by train on Saturday afternoon, as he was going on a well-deserved vacation on Monday.

Tuğçe Nur’s trains were all canceled, so she decided, without further ado, to cycle 190 km from Turin to Lugano on Sunday to catch a train directly to Zurich.

Jeff was luckier with his return journey: His train connection was one of the few that was not affected by the strike. This meant he was able to take a comfortable but still very long train journey to Nuremberg.

Karin and Dominik actually found a ride at the conference that even had room for their two bikes in the trunk!

They were dropped off in the Viamala Valley and went on a short gravel tour, where they surprisingly met our former team member Ulrich, who happened to be hiking there.

Our cycling adventure was a welcome mix of retreat, team building, and skill training. Every day, we experienced how important such activities are for us as a remote team. With such a great team and the wonderful weather we had, one wishes that WordCamp Europe could take place several times a year.

How did we come up with this idea in the first place?

The idea of cycling to WordCamp Europe came up during one of our team calls. Jeff, our enthusiastic touring cyclist, mentioned to Karin and Dominik that he was thinking about cycling to the conference in Turin. Originally, this was a solo idea, but Karin, a passionate mountainbiker herself, was immediately enthusiastic. Dominik, who wanted to buy a new bike anyway, was quickly hooked as well. Tuğçe Nur had wanted to start cycling for some time, and her new bike was already ordered. A spontaneous idea developed into an exciting team project.

“I’m delighted that Jeff came up with the idea. It gave me the final push of courage to finally start cycling. Now I’ve discovered a new passion! It was also my first WordCamp Europe, and I thought it was really cool to embark on this journey with the team and gather all these impressions. Now, after the conference, I’m not only well-trained but also highly motivated with all the new insights.”

Tuğçe Nur
Tugce Only on the bike in front of the traffic sign that Turin is still 3km away.
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