It all started with the idea to send a talk to Heart of Clojure, based on my work on Chlorine. Now, the talk wasn’t selected, but I decided to go to the conference even then. Being on Brazil, this meant about 19 hours of travel, so without thinking too much I bought the ticket to the conference and decided what do to latter about the travel, where to stay, and how many days I would stay. The first idea was to simply go there to the conference, but I imagined it would be very tiring, so came a strange and incredible idea that I’ll let to another post.

Now, the conference. In fact, it was different from everything I ever saw. First of all, it was amazing – not only because of the technical talks, but the whole experience of being in Leuven, meeting new people, using English as the first language everywhere, trying to understand a little of Dutch (spoiler alert: it didn’t work), and so on…

The talks were incredible: first, it was only a single track, so all the time all the people had no choice but to talk about it, and notebooks were not allowed. At first it seemed to me a limitation, but after a while I began to understand how amazing it was: it meant everyone on the same page all the time, speakers sure that people would be paying attention, and also that you wouldn’t have that “ah, my talk was so bad, yours seemed awesome” feeling that I have in almost any conference I go.

Even the non-technical talks were amazing: most had real call for actions and real issues that we can try to address right now, with simple (and not-so simple) steps that we could put into use. Lots of talks about personal experiences too, and probably the first conference I’ve been where people didn’t spend half of their time explaining their backgrounds, their projects, and left the smallest fragment to talk about the solution: so, congratulations for all!

There were some experiences that’ll probably stay with me for life: the Empathy talk got me an idea for a meetup on my work, and I’ll try to apply it as soon as I can (and I’ll post the results here, too); some informal conversations gave me ideas for Chlorine and for newer projects; the attention to detail and to simplicity in this conference was so big that I’ll also use it on my talks in the future. And one of the really important things for me right now is to know people living outside their comfort zone: on another country, or working on a unfamiliar environment, and so on. I was also really surprised on how much people were talking about “being burnt out”, as it’s something we almost speak nothing on Brazil, so I’ll be keeping an eye on these things too.

In the end, it was a completely new experience for me. Stay up for part 2 (and probably part 3) where I’ll speak more about the rest of the trip: after all, I got 19 hours on an airplane, so the conference was just the first step on a big journey of self-discovery.

Thank you all, and see you next time! Maybe we’ll be able to see ourselves in another conference in the future. As for me, I really hope so!