Imagine loving a cause so much, you’d be willing to walk across a continent to support it. That’s exactly what Marcel Bootsman is doing with his Walk to WCEU.
It all began with a single tweet. Marcel Bootsman tweeted out his desire to walk to WordCamp Europe and the idea spread through the WordPress community like wildfire.
I'm thinking about walking to the next #WCEU. Needs some planning of course, and funding / sponsoring. Will launch a separate website after this years edition.
— Marcel Bootsman #WalkToWCEU (@mbootsman) June 4, 2018
But why walk across a continent?
WordCamp Europe and DonateWC
Marcel started the Walk to WCEU to support the community and spread the good word about WordPress. As a bonus, it will get Marcel out of his comfort zone and help him make new friends.
We asked Marcel why he chose to walk to WordCamp Europe, aside from its proximity to him. He said,
“WordCamp Europe is the largest WordPress conference in the world. An annual event that welcomes everyone and aims to form and strengthen connections between European WordPress communities and beyond, it includes two conference days and a separate Contributor Day, when people gather to give back to the WordPress Open Source Project.”
– Walk to WCEU
WordCamp, in general, is a wonderful way to connect to others and learn something new. Sometimes getting to a big event like WordCamp Europe is impossible due to lack of funding. There are many of us WordPress fanatics out there who would love the chance to go to WCEU, but the money just isn’t there.
That’s where DonateWC comes in. All of the money raised through Walk to WCEU will go to Donate WC.
“DonateWC is an initiative that aims to provide people with lesser financial means with funds to get to a (big) WordCamp.”
They provide recipients of the fund with a WordCamp ticket, travel and accommodations, food and beverage money, and internet access. In this way, those who are less fortunate are able to enjoy the amazing experience of a large WordCamp like WordCamp Europe.
Marcel Bootsman and The Walk to WCEU
Marcel Bootsman has been a part of the WordPress Community for over a decade. He started his business, Nostromo, in 2009, where he develops WordPress websites, themes, and plugins and provides the sites of his clients with periodical maintenance.
Over the years, he’s contributed to the WordPress project in various ways, including organizing WordCamp. So his desire to promote WordCamp Europe comes from a deep history with the organization and community as a whole.
This year, Marcel plans to walk to WordCamp Europe to get out of his comfort zone and meet new people. So far, his campaign has grown and taken on a life of its own. A national radio station even picked up the story.
Marcel will start the Walk to WCEU on May 19th, 2019 in Berkel en Rodenrijs, Netherlands and arrive at the start of WordCamp Europe. WordCamp Europe takes place June 20-22, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The total distance is over 730 kilometers, or about 450 miles. It’s quite the trek for someone who has little experience backpacking.
Due to the difficulty of the walk, Marcel is spending ample time training and planning. Traveling that distance on foot is not very easy and can be dangerous at times, so Marcel is taking time for training and precautions.
The Walk to WCEU is still seeking sponsors and Marcel also needs a few more beds to spend the night in along the way. So if you’re interested in sponsoring or you live along his route, you can contribute to the Walk to WCEU. Below is the route map, followed by sponsorship and route information links.
Fundraising for the Walk to WordCamp Europe
Marcel hopes to raise €6.000 with the Walk to WCEU. This should be enough to support three people to go to a WordCamp, based on average costs. As of writing this article, €1,304 has been donated so far.
To reach his goal, Marcel is looking for sponsors, to support his absence as a business owner, as well as using Give to raise money through online donations. He said,
“Give gives me a basic form which I can use to let visitors donate money. Easy, fast and solid.”
If you’re interested in giving to the cause, you can donate here.
Are you attending WordCamp Europe next year?
I am. And I'm going to walk 700km to get there. Why? To raise awareness and funds for @donate_wc.
— Marcel Bootsman 🐬 (@mbootsman) October 8, 2018
We’re excited to see where Marcel’s story takes him. The Walk to WordCamp Europe will be quite the journey.