BoldLife 2.0 – Marcel Bootsman is Walking to WordCamp Europe


Marcel Bootsman- I had the Idea to Walk

Marcel Bootsman of Nostromo joins us to discuss his plan toWalk to WordCamp Europe, raising funds for others to attend the camp who may not otherwise be able to.

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The following transcript was created automatically, please forgive us if there are any typos or grammatical errors.

Demo: 00:02 Hello and welcome to another episode of the BoldGrid BoldLife podcast. I’m your host Mike Demo, joined by my wonderful cohost Jesse Owens. Hey, do you and Jesse?

Jesse: 00:12 I’m doing wonderful Mike.

Demo: 00:13 Anything new and exciting over the weekend over in the Denver area?

Jesse: 00:16 Well, we’ve got snow in May today, so that’s a little disheartening. Uh, but you know, should be getting warm soon.

Demo: 00:26 Yeah, we have snow up here in Minnesota when I landed, uh, from WordCamp Orange County. So it is what it is, but we’re going to go to the other side of the world to the Netherlands to joined by our guest. Marcel, how are you doing Marcel?

Marcel: 00:41 Hey, I’m doing good. Thank you.

Demo: 00:45 Awesome. So for those people that may not be familiar with you, can you give like a little explanation of yourself and your company and your experience with the WordPress community?

Marcel: 00:57 Sure, I can do that. How many minutes do I have?

Demo: 01:00 As many as you need.

Marcel: 01:01 Yes. Any as I need to be careful with that. No, I can tell you a little bit about myself. Uh, well, my name is Marcel Bootsman. Uh, I live in the Netherlands in a small town near Rotterdam, one of the major ports in the world. And, uh, for the last 10 years approximately, um, I’ve been having my own company, which is called Nostromo. And I’ve been doing all kinds of WordPress stuff with my company. I’ve been doing WordPress maintenance, uh, from the start. Uh, I’ve been building plugins, themes, uh, maintaining them for customers. And because WordPress is a, is a, an amazing piece of software. I decided about seven or seven and half, eight years ago that I didn’t just want to use the software and make money with it, uh, for, for, for building stuff and maintaining it. But I also wanted to do something back, uh, to the project WordPress. And so I started visiting WordCamps in the Netherlands, um, and abroad, uh, started to meet people. And, well, I’ve been doing a lot since then. I’ve been organizing WordCamp us. I was one of the co organizers of the first WordCamp Europe, in Leiden. Um, they’ve been helping with translating for the polyglots. I’ve been helping on the support forum for the Netherlands. And, um, yeah, that’s basically what I’m doing in the WordPress area right now.

Demo: 02:32 Excellent. And Are you planning to go to a WordCamp Europe this year? Right?

Marcel: 02:38 Uh, yes, I’m definitely going there. And, um, I’ve been planning that since, uh, July last year. Um, before I wanted to go to a WordCamp or European Belgrade, I had the idea to walk to the next edition of WordCamp Europe. So that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna Walk to the next edition of WordCamp Europe in Berlin.

Demo: 03:08 Okay. And how many kilometers is that?

Marcel: 03:10 Uh, last, what was it yesterday? I finished my, uh, my, my, how you say it by walking schedule my itinerary and the total amount of kilometers is now 748 and a half kilometers.

Jesse: 03:25 So that’s 465 miles for our US listeners.

Marcel: 03:30 Yes. Yeah. Stepped up 465 miles, correct. Yeah.

Jesse: 03:36 Okay. So are, are you insane?

Marcel: 03:40 Uh, some say I am.

Marcel: 03:43 So some say I’m not a, some say, where do you get to time? Uh, how do you plan it? Well, that’s a long story. And, um, uh, I just, I had the idea, I don’t know why and I know where it came from. Um, and the other thing I don’t know is why the Hell I put it up on Twitter because

Jesse: 04:07 You put it out there. You can’t take it back.

Marcel: 04:09 I can’t take it back anymore. No, I had to do that in the first minute or something then. Well, there was a, an opportunity for people not to see that tweet, but a lot of people saw it and, um, people were enthusiastic and wanting to join me. And well, from that moment on I just started organizing it and well here we are 10 days or actually nine days in, 16 hours left until I’m going to start walking.

Demo: 04:34 Okay. So what are the logistics like? So are you getting a hotel along the way? Are you staying at hostels? Are you camping? Are you just not sleeping? Like how did the logistics work?

Marcel: 04:48 Uh, well, I am definitely sleeping. Um, I really need them. Walking is something that I started with after I had this idea. Um, we have a dog at home and we do some walking and that’s one, two kilometers maybe for per round that you do with the dog. But walking 35, 40 kilometers, uh, is a totally different thing. And while your brain really gets some rest but your body needs rest also. So sleeping is something I really have to do. And immediately after I had the idea, I started, started looking at Google and Google maps and clicked on the walking a icon and saw that the route was swell. Pretty much a straight line. And I realized I needed places to sleep. And at this moment, uh, I’ve got hostels, I’ve got hotels, uh, arranged. Uh, some of them paid by myself, some of them paid by a anonymous sponsors. And the most of the places that I am staying are at people I know from the WordPress community and people related to that or people that saw my tweets and said, hey, you’re walking really close to my town. Is it okay if you want to spend the night here and we’ll arrange a dinner and breakfast and well, you’re welcome to do that. So that’s basically how I managed to get the route, uh, well on the map and arrange all the places where I need some sleep.

Demo: 06:22 So. Okay. So, uh, when you, once you get to WordCamp Europe, are you walking back or are you taking them more? I take a train or fine.

Marcel: 06:30 Yeah. Uh, I had the idea to not walk back. I think I’m done with walking for a few days and uh, um, so walking, I’m not gonna walk back now. I’m going to book a train and going to go back by train. There was a nice speedy train going from Berlin to Amsterdam, so I have to switch trains in Holland somewhere and go to Rotterdam. So, uh, when I arrive in, in, in Berlin, that will be a, an awesome thing I guess because I’ve been walking then for 750 kilometers and finally reaching the destination and getting to my hotel, um, which I might not exit for three days. I think I need to go to the conference because I have a, I have a talk planned also, um, a lightening talk on WordCamp Europe itself to what to tell about my adventure and what I’ve done and what I’ve seen along the way in which nice people I’ve met and what basically like that. So

Jesse: 07:33 a full month of walking with just a couple of of rest days, uh, in their, um, w what is surely you’re doing this for a reason right there, there is an underlying cause other than, you know, just uh, doing the, the walking itself, which I mean, you’re going to get quite fit I’m sure. Um, so tell us about the, the, the cause that you’re working for.

Marcel: 07:58 Yeah. As soon as I had the idea I wanted to want to do well, get some attention for it and I thought, well, I can use this attention to, uh, to do something good and not just walk to Berlin. So I immediately immediately started looking at what kind of initiatives are there within the WordPress community, um, to, to support that and to raise funds for that. And the first thing that came into mind was DonateWC, which is a foundation which was started by Inez finessing. And that foundation is helping people to go to work camps, um, and help them in a financial way. So if they want to go to a WordCamp and give a presentation or help organize or be you volunteer or what contributing any from possible, uh, but they can’t go because their employer will not pay them or they just don’t have the money to pay for, uh, for themselves. Uh, donate. WC is the foundation that helps these people to go to a WordCamp and contribute in the, in any way they want.

Demo: 09:07 Excellent. And we’ll give links to their foundation on the show notes on So I know you have a website where people can see the schedule and see the route. Will this be also the place where people to follow you as you are doing the journey?

Marcel: 09:26 Yes. That will be the main, uh, place where I will store everything and we’ll link to all my, um, stages. I will record them all. If you had the Strava App, I don’t know if you know that. Um, uh, I will record that and we’ll publish it on the site. I will do some vlogging a, I will do some blogging of course. Uh, I have some sponsors to thank also on those vlogs and blogs and I will do so, um, uh, and publish them on the website so people can see the progress and I will update the map daily and put a pointer on the route where I am. Um, I’m gonna track, uh, my gps position also. Um, how do you say that real time. Uh, but I’m not going to publish that worldwide. That’s just for my family and friends too, too well for them to be. Um, uh, how do you say that? Updated on the places where I am also for security ops, security issues and other things that might happen. It’s also, it’s a good thing too for them to know exactly where I am.

Demo: 10:31 Sure, sure. So would this be possible if Europe didn’t have the, you didn’t have open borders, would it be a lot more difficult for you to do this journey or would you still attempted? I know that’s kind of like a big one if question, because you know, the EU does have open borders, but

Marcel: 10:50 yeah, we do have a open borders. Um, if I go back to a time where we didn’t, uh, well there’s only one border I need to cross from the Netherlands, Germany. Um, and the thing that I remember is that always on holidays with my parents, the thing you had to do was a wait in line for the, for the border crossing. There was some kind of officer, uh, along the border yet to show your passports and well, that was it. Um, so I think if we still had that border that it wouldn’t be a problem to go to Berlin, uh, walking. No.

Demo: 11:25 Excellent. Uh, so you mentioned that a lot of the people you’re staying with, you’ve met through the WordPress community. So what has WordPress meant to you in your career and your life? Cause I know for me, I travel full time, go to WordCamps, I do about 180 days on the road a year or so. I have made some amazing friendships at WordCamps at other conferences that I look forward to meeting with certain people at all these events. So what has the community meant for you personally and professionally over your career?

Marcel: 11:57 Okay, well as soon as I started visiting WordCamps my first WordCamp was WordCamp Netherlands I believe was 2010 was the first one. Uh, the thing I still remember is that, uh, I also, I started following people on Twitter and one of, one of the guys that I started following was Remkus de Vries. I don’t know if you know his name, but he’s a, he’s a pretty familiar face and name and the WordPress community worldwide. And the thing that he did when I walked in, he said, hey, Nostromo. And that was my Twitter id at that time. And that, that totally broke the ice. I was there as a single person, not knowing anyone. I was new in the community. And, uh, it’s always a well a thing to show up in a place where you don’t know anyone. And that immediately made me feel welcome and started talking to people.

Marcel: 12:52 And basically at that point, my, uh, career in quotes in the WordPress community started and made a lot of friends, uh, made a lot of, uh, business, uh, relationships, which help me do my business and helps others do business because we help each other. Uh, if there is a schedule for us and a client wants something and I don’t have time, there’s always someone I can rely on to, to well to do the work for me and I do the favor in return. And that really helps me as a company. Um, well stay alive and others also. So it’s been a major, a major change in my life, uh, from, from the moment I started doing WordPress. And a, a very positive one to be a, to be honest,

Jesse: 13:43 that’s a very strong argument for using an actual picture of your face on Twitter and slack and those things there. So Remkus can I can recognize you

Marcel: 13:53 exactly a little. I, I used a, an Avatar of a, well a picture of myself. Uh, I just had the Twitter, a nickname, uh, as the my company name. And after a few years I also changed that to be just my name because it’s, it’s me on Twitter and it’s not my company. And that really, uh, uh, really helped and um, I’m, I’m pretty happy in what’s happening right now with, with my, my business, which is still running after 10 years. I’m very happy with that. Everything and how it goes and I got happy clients and well I’ve got some nice adventure on the, on the planning for the next month.

Demo: 14:31 Excellent. So we are going to be at WordCamp Europe. I will for sure. We’re still figuring out who else from the team is going to be joining us. But we would love to hook up with you. We will have one of our video teams, they’re probably recording some video to kind of get a, a post walk to WordCamp EU, recap maybe some stories and highlights that would be cool with you.

Marcel: 14:54 Cool. Yeah, that would be very cool. I have, um, I have a WordCamp Europe 2019 wants to meet at least list and a, I just added your names on that list because I really want to meet some people that been talking to me about, well my work to WordCamp Europe but also been talking to me and uh, really want to talk to me in person and I really want to check the names off that list and really getting contact with people and talking to them. Shaking a hand or a well having a beer or whatever.

Demo: 15:26 Yeah. Well speaking of whatever, where the coffee break sponsor and one of the days. So, um, if you need some of that caffeine at the conference, we can help you out there.

Marcel: 15:36 I, I’m not that, I’m not that of a coffee drag.

Demo: 15:39 Fair enough.

Marcel: 15:39 Rarely drink coffee, but I hope you thought of tea or some other beverages that could help me.

Demo: 15:45 Yeah, it’s called the coffee break sponsor, but there’ll be all sorts of liquid options available. So

Marcel: 15:52 excellent. I thought you were going to say now there’s going to be all sorts of liquor, but that’s not the case, I guess.

Demo: 15:57 Uh, not in the middle. Not In the middle of the day. I’ll do it is Germany. So who knows.

Marcel: 16:02 Yeah, they, they, they, they uh, I believe Germans is really like a beer with lunch and stuff. Yeah. Maybe if you go a bit southern in Germany, a also a glass of wine now during lunch, uh, is, is not weird. It’s just normal, but hard liquor is going to be weird.

Demo: 16:19 Hard, hard, hard liquor. Yeah. I would, it would be weird. But like beer and wine, I was a couple of weeks ago, I was in Austria for a Joomla conference and they had a beer and wine just, you know, um, at the conference lunch and it was just what it was. And I was, uh, that’s just the culture, so.

Marcel: 16:35 Exactly. That’s what it is. Yeah.

Demo: 16:37 Excellent. Well, how do people follow you on Twitter? Um, can you say your website again? Like, uh, what’s your company domain? So where all the people, places that people can follow you on the interwebs.

Marcel: 16:49 Yeah. So on the Inter webs people can follow me on Twitter and my nickname is @mbootsman, uh, or bootsman on the pronounce it in English. Uh, my company website, there’s, but you can also look at my website, my personal website, which is called, um, well the website for Walk to WCEU is and my route is over there. You can see all kinds of sponsors that are there. You can see the places where I want to sleep and all the stages, my planning and well you can send me an email at Marcel at, contact me through the website and well that’s basically it. You can call me also if you can Google, you can find my phone number somewhere. So good luck with that.

Jesse: 17:43 And Marcel has raised nearly 1600 Euro for donate WC so far out of a goal of 6,000 euro. So anyone listening who wants to support the mission of, of getting folks to a work camp who may otherwise not be able to attend, uh, go ahead and go to and make sure to click that donate button.

Marcel: 18:06 Yeah, that’s a big donate button everywhere on the site because I want people to donate and I’ve learned some stuff about call to actions and, uh, I hope that’s kind of not going to help out. Uh, actually a few minutes ago I got another donation, so I’ve crossed the 1600 euro a border and uh, I will update it on my site. And also maybe nice to mention is that with the sponsor money that I, uh, I, I got, I wanted to, um, finance the guy that it’s going to help me during my absence because I’ve got a lot of maintenance customers and they will, I cannot sell to them that I’m going to be away for a month and nothing’s gonna happen then. So I needed a backup for that. Uh, and uh, all the sponsor money does is remaining after I had to pay. That guy will also go to donate WC and that’s a big amount of money also. So the goal of 6,000 euros is definitely something that I want to achieve.

Demo: 19:04 Excellent, and links for all of that will be in the show notes for this episode you can follow me at Twitter, at MP Mike

Jesse: 19:16 and I am @jessecowens You can follow BoldGrid at and join our growing user community at

Demo: 19:29 and please make sure to subscribe to the BoldGrid BoldLife podcast on your favorite podcast directory. We are newly added on Spotify as well as we’re all your other favorite podcasts are sold. Thank you so much for listening this week and thank you Marcel for spending the time with us.

Jesse: 19:46 Thank you very much.

Marcel: 19:47 Thanks for having me, Mike and Jesse. It was an honor.