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[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”350” caption=”GUADEC 2010”]GUADEC 2010[/caption]

This past April 16th I had the pleasure of receiving the following email:

Congratulations, your submission Making easier for companies to give back to GNOME has been accepted for presentation at GUADEC which is being held from 2010-07-26 to 2010-07-30 at Den Haag.

I was ecstatic!!! Having had the opportunity to attend GUADEC 2009 at Las Palmas, Gran Canary last year,  I was thrilled with the possibility of attending my second one and presenting my ideas on how to facilitate the collaboration between downstream and GNOME. There’s also the fact that this year the event will be held in the Netherlands, a country that I have always wanted to visit!

I immediately started searching for airline ticket prices and was amazed at just how expensive it costs to fly from the United States to the Netherland: the average price for the round-trip is approximately US$1700!!! And that does not even include other types of transportation, hotel or food!

Now, I’m sure that I could look for cheaper alternatives that may include multiple stops and some crazy itineraries, but due to my physical handicap, it just makes sense to pick the option that won’t be a burden for me and force me to run around multiple gates/airports lugging my things on crutches. That, unfortunately, usually means more money out of my pocket.

[caption id=”” align=”aligncenter” width=”500” caption=”Can you spot me in this picture?”]Can you spot me in this picture?[/caption]

This brings me to my next issue, which is paying for my wife to accompany me during this trip. My previous trips to European countries have shown me that handicap accessible venues and accommodation also cost more money than the usual “modestly priced” places. Who doesn’t remember the bathroom we had in our rooms while staying at the Las Palmas “hotel” during GUADEC 2009?  Bringing someone to lend me a hand is not optional for me, but a necessity!

So now the tally for the airfare alone is US$3400! That’s equivalent to 2 whole months of mortgage for me! And remember, still no food or hotel… What is a father of 2 who has just purchased his first house to do?

So far I have applied for sponsorship with the GNOME Travel Committee and am seriously considering asking friends and some of the open source projects I have worked with in the past for their support. I really feel that I have a lot to offer to both companies that want to contribute more with GNOME, as well as getting GNOME to be more “reachable” to them. Face to face interaction at events such as GUADEC help tremendously to get people to not only listen to your ideas but also to give you valuable feedback, so if at all possible, I’d really like to be there!

Will I be able to attend and present my talk at GUADEC 2010? As of today, it is still all pretty much up in the air…


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