Last year, a few months before Julie and I were due with Tia, I thought about running a workshop tour. Something where I could offer the web community training, whilst simultaneously seeing more of our grand postage stamp of a country. Here's why and the plan, and I want your input.

Aim #1 accessible to the Community

Phase 1 of the project was to canvas the community, you folks, as to where I should bring my workshops. I knew I could run them in Brighton again (since I live here) and I was pretty confident I could sell the workshops in London, but really, after taking part in events like Speak the Web I wanted to also be able to take the workshops beyond London for a change. Give the northern (and other) communities the chance to not travel so damn far for training.

Phase 2 was selling the tickets, and I had talked with friends and colleagues about how to price the workshops for some time, and I didn't want to run these workshops for the usual prices (anywhere from £400 upwards for a full day).

At some point I was considering whether I could run the workshops for free, but that was eventually ruled out because a) it would have devalued the workshops entirely, b) some people would book a ticket, but wouldn't come, c) probably most importantly to me - I simply couldn't afford to do it. I am my business. There's no big corporation behind me, so during the time I'm doing public speaking or training, I'm not drumming up business at home.

I also looked at sponsorship, but in the end, decided that I could run the workshops for about half price at £200 each, and hopefully this would open these up to the freelancers and much smaller companies.

The real challenge has actually been getting the word out to freelancers and companies out in those cities you folks suggested I come train in.

Aim #2 travel around our fair land

This is where I need a bit of your help. Julie, the star that she is, has planned the route that we'll take when visiting each city. But I wanted to get feedback from you folks as to what we absolutely must see in those cities and on our route. What should we be taking pictures of? Where should we make sure we stop to take in a view? Which places are special to you?

So with that, here's our route plan with dates and locations:

  • 5-May: Brighton HTML5 Workshop (book now)
  • 7-May: Liverpool
  • 8-May: Manchester
  • 9-May: Manchester HTML5 Workshop (book now)
  • 10-May: Manchester jQuery for Designers Workshop (book now)
  • 11-12-May: Peak district
  • 13-May: Nottingham Node Workshop (book now)
  • 14-May: Much Wenlock via Ashby de la Zouch
  • 15-May: Drive through Shropshire and Herefordshire
  • 16-May: Forest of Dean
  • 17-May: Bristol
  • 18-May: Bristol jQuery for Designers Workshop (book now)
  • 20-May: London Node Workshop (sold out)

I'd love to hear your feedback on the project idea, if you want to come along - grab a ticket because you're running out of time! Otherwise - what is it that we should absolutely see if we're in your city or passing by?