This is the complete story of my eurucamp journey. I had submitted a talk proposal back in April, 2014 and happened to know that they accepted the proposal on 6th of May. Then I asked myself, “Do you have your passport with you?”. :P . Then I happened to notice that I hadn’t applied for one. Then it all started - The complete journey.
I was in contact with some of the organizers of eurucamp 2014. They were more than helpful I must say. The conference was about to take place in August. So I had only 3 months. I applied for the passport and was just thinking about the visa. During every discussion with my family, I used to tell only one sentence and that was “wait for the passport !!”. :P. Finally with some external efforts from my family, I got my passport after one and a half months.
Then I followed one of my seniors, Tarashish Mishra who was also applying for a visa to Germany for his talk at europython. And then I applied for the visa and went Kolkata with my brother (because my mother wouldn’t have allowed me to go alone) on 15th of July(just before 15 days of my journey). That was my first journey in an A/C Train(I am not kidding) and that was my third time in a train journey. Then at the visa application center, they didn’t take my visa fees as I was a student. That was something awesome. After 3 to 4 days, I got my visa. This was going to be my first talk so, after all these, I started preparing on my slides. Eurucamp had assigned me with a mentor (Ben Scofield). We used to talk through emails. And he was the man who taught me how nervousness can be helpful for a nice talk. I got pretty inspired by his words.
Then Dajana(organizer of eurucamp), helped me with my flight tickets and sponsored the whole to and fro journey for me as I was a student. My flight was about to take off on 31st July from Mumbai International Airport. I went mumbai on 30th July and stayed at my uncle’s in Thane. He was a bit worried as well, but he pushed me to go ahead. Then I went to the airport at 1 o’ clock in the morning, 31st July. Flight was about to take off at 5:55 or 6:55 am (I forgot :P). I was too early and I was all alone and after reaching the airport, I was completely ignorant of how to proceed, as that was a huge airport indeed. Then I entered and happened to notice that there was a “C” written on my ticket and there was a big “A” over my head. Then I moved around to find out the C. Then I got the check-in point of Turkish Airlines. I was too early because I had something in my luggage, which I wanted them to check before leaving(for security issues). That was my mini robot-car with magnetic motors. So, I requested them to check whether I could take that with me. Then they scanned almost three times and allowed me to take that with me. After immigration, I headed towards the gate. I had two boarding passes ready with me. I don’t remember how many times my mother called me that night before leaving. Thanks to Dajana, I got a window seat. Then I went to Istanbul.
I had to change my flight at Istanbul. I was a bit scared because the gate number was not there on the second boarding pass. The flight from India to Istanbul was a bit late and I was ignorant of that fact. After landing I searched for the gate at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul and to my utter surprise I got nothing about the flight to Berlin on that electronic board. Then I moved around a bit and after checking again it showed the gate number and check-in had been started. I was in a hurry and couldn’t find the gate number out of excitement. Then I asked at the information center and they helped me and showed the direction. After check-in, I went to Berlin. That flight was too good and thanks to Dajana again, I got a window seat with empty seats near to mine. That journey was pretty amazing with turkish grilled chicken and coke. :)
I reached Berlin after 11 hours of journey. It was 1:30 pm there. I had no internet access and my damn iPad couldn’t able to catch one open WiFi network at the airport. Florian(the conf chair of eurucamp-2014) was about to receive me there and after 15 to 20 minutes I happened to meet him and we went for euruject-2014 (another confernce at Florian’s office, ofcourse after replying my brother so that he could inform my mom :) ) in his car. I was a bit tired. After that conference, we, the speakers went to the hotel at Potsdam and in the mean while I learnt how to book a travel ticket :P for the trains, buses and trams. We went for the hotel Am Gribnitz, Potsdam in train. Thanks to my mom, my luggage was a pain for me :( . After reaching, the organizers were at the hotel gate to welcome us. Then I checked in. Then I met Dajana, Alex and rest of the organisers. It felt home after meeting ‘em. Then we were to go for the speaker’s dinner after 15 minutes. So I went into my room (the room was more than awesome and there was a big smile on my face.)and got a good shower. After that I got ready for the dinner. We went in a bus, and during that I met some other speakers and had a good chat. The streets and arcitecture in Germany is the best I must say. It was even nicer to watch the sun set after 9:30 pm. We had our dinner at an open place. I met organizers including Bascht and some other speakers including Frank and Blithe. We had a good chat and that evening became memorable.
Then we returned and I had a good sleep that night because I had been awake for last 28 hours.
The next morning we gathered at the venue of the conference (the HPI campus). I met another organizer Nico. I attended some of the talks and talked to some of the attendees over there. It was nice to meet people from almost all over the world. Thanks to Roman(one of the attendees) who helped me a lot to configure my raspberry pi. Unfortunately my mentor Ben couldn’t come to the conference so I needed someone to mentor me as that was my first ever talk. Then I attended a photography workshop. That was fun because I didn’t know much about cameras. That workshop was completely for me. I learnt a lot in that workshop and thanks to Florian for the camera. :P . And people out there in that workshop must have remembered me as I was at the very novice level. :P I clicked some photos then. On the same day, I attended the awesome eurucamp keynote. I had pretty good German vegan lunch at the conference. And I have no idea how much coke I was drinking all day. Then I had dinner at a near by restaurant with all of the eurucamp speakers, attendees and organizers. That dinner was sponsored by Fyber. I had a mushroom sandwich and a big glass full of carrot soup. That was heavy. And I had a good chat with Lucas. Then back to hotel and I slept.
My talk was on the next day. I went to the venue very early and I was getting ready for my talk. Then I met Jose (another organiser) who helped me a lot for the talk. I prepared in front of him and went for the talk. I was pretty nervous and I finished my talk within 9 minutes and I was getting fast. People appreciated and I was more than happy. After the talk, Lucas told me that the manager of sinatra was there and he was listening to my talk(sinatra is the framework in ruby that I had used for my project). That was a great feeling for me and I met him after lunch. Then I attended few more awesome talks. Then I had a good chat with Sukanta (a guy who was from Banglades, living in Germany). I had again German vegan lunch and coke. Then I attended the lightning talks and all on a sudden it was about to rain and we changed our further plans. Then I went to the hotel in Dajana’s car. Then I had a good shower and we went to an Italian restaurant nearby. We had a good chat and I ate an italian pizza with a glass of coke. That was awesome.
The next day I was preparing for the second talk. I was completely relaxed and calm. I didn’t want to get nervous again and wanted to use all the time(15 minutes). That talk was going to be live streamed. Then I went up to the stage and gave my second talk. I was pretty calm and it was like I was telling a story. I cracked some jokes as well. It was quite nice and people appreciated and encouraged. And I was pretty motivated. Then I attended some other talks. Then I went Berlin with Nico to his house. After having a good drink (spring water with mint) we went to the party (last night party). I had my dinner there with awesome people around. It was late in the night and the last train had left to Gribnitz. Then one of the attendees from elastic-search (Colin) helped me while returning. He booked a cab and we returned to the hotel. It was nice watching the city at night from a cab.
Then I slept and the next morning I went to buy some chocolates from the near by super market for my family and friends. then I bought a designer watch from the hotel and finally checked out. Dajana was there to see off at the bus stop. I went to the airport with Ben(another speaker), who was going to London. We talked about other conferences and after reaching the airport, he offered me a burger at burger king. :) That airport is a small one. So to my utter surprise I met some other fellows from eurucamp including Austin (one of the speakers). Then I returned India. :) Went to my uncle’s again at mumbai and in the afternoon came back to Bhubaneswar.
It was a great experience for me. I did a lot of things for the first time in my life. Like traveling out of country alone. First ever talk. Travelled to a country’s capital(I have never visited New Delhi :P ). Travelled in metros and trams(never have done that in India unfortunately).
And I must thank all the organizers (Dajana, Florian, Jose, Malwine, Alex, Bascht, Guillermo, Nico, Lucas and the rest). They were amazing and because of them, I learnt a lot. This was the whole stroy behind my first ever ruby conference and I am pretty glad that I was a part of that awesome event with like minded geeks. :)