He is also a co-author of the Professional WordPress book series. Brad is a US Marine Corps veteran and has been developing websites for over 20 years, including the last 10 where he has focused on open-source technologies like WordPress.
I’ve been to a number of WordCamps and tech-related events over the years. They all follow a similar pattern of speakers, panels, sponsors, after-parties, etc. We’ve all been to these types of events and generally know what to expect; so when Mendel Kurland pitched the idea of Camp Press to me as ‘geeks camping,’ I was intrigued.
I went to Camp Press with no idea of what to expect. I honestly have never felt less prepared for an event as I did for this one. I like to plan. So, going to an event where I wasn’t 100% sure how it would work had me feeling nervous. What I soon realized is that I liked being pushed out of my ‘safety bubble.’
The Camp Press location was absolutely amazing and truly helped make the event special. We stayed at a large summer camp style setup, about an hour outside of Oklahoma City called Fry Lake. If you aren’t familiar with Oklahoma, just imagine driving an hour from a large city to the middle of nowhere. Perfect.
Fry Lake had cabins, shower and bathroom facilities, an amazing swimming lake with diving boards, and a full cafeteria kitchen. We were literally back at the type of summer camp we experienced as kids, and we immediately knew it.
As we learned more about each other, we quickly became more comfortable as a group. We shared stories, laughed, cooked, and debated topics from tech to TV shows. We discussed very personal struggles and experiences, some of which I would guess haven’t been shared outside of close family. We sang songs around the campfire, performed late-night improv, made s’mores, and enjoyed each other’s company.
Even more amazing is that nothing was scripted. There was no agenda, set activities, presentations. It was just natural interaction. Over the course of a few days, we all grew closer to each other. There was an unspoken bond forming between everyone at Camp Press.
I didn’t know what to expect going to Camp Press. What I promptly learned is that was the entire point of the event—doing the unexpected, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, making new friends, having fun and serious conversations, and doing all of this without the normal technology that is always around us.
When is the last time you had a detox from digital life? My detox was last weekend, and I can’t wait to do it again!
For more insight into Camp Press and to get Mendel’s perspective, check out the event’s official blog post.