Nothing Breaks the Ice Like a Travel Trivia Game?

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  03.05.09 | 4:31 PM ET

Photo by emutree via Flickr (Creative Commons)

When I first heard about Wanderlust, the new series of singles events from New York’s travel-focused indie bookstore, Idlewild Books, I was intrigued. After all, frequent travelers might well have a different set of expectations, relationship-wise, than the stay-at-home crowd; isn’t it logical, then, that New York’s most eligible travelers would want to meet other like-minded passport holders? Well, sure. It’s a grand idea in theory. The reality, though, when I arrived at Idlewild last night to check things out, was not so glamorous.

The main event was a travel trivia game. We were each assigned to a numbered table, making five groups of roughly 10 or 12 singles (with the gender breakdown at 50-50, of course). After every round of questions, the men at each table would hop up and rotate, as a unit, to the next spot, creating a kind of musical chairs/pub quiz team/speed-dating hybrid. The set-up meant that the main “mixing” went on while we debated the possible answers to the questions—and if you ask me, a travel trivia contest is not designed for flirtation. Egos clashed. Eyes rolled. Catty remarks were exchanged. At my table, the only answer everyone could agree on was when we were asked, “Do you need more wine, table 4?” (The answer was an emphatic “Yes!”)

But while a trivia game may not be the best way to create instant connections between travelers, it is a great tool for making snap judgments about others—which really is the name of the game at these mixer events, right? I had a primitive system in place pretty quickly: anyone who pounded the table or shouted angrily when they got an answer wrong was immediately written off. (As was the person who answered “Vancouver!” when asked which famous city straddles two continents. Go ahead, call me an elitist.) Anyone who oozed contempt for the game and refused to look away from their Blackberry got cut, too.

That left a fairly limited selection of folks, male and female, who seemed to understand that the event was intended to be fun, and as the trivia portion of the evening wound down I made it my business to stick close to them. We talked travel, books and baseball, and all in all, the good conversation outweighed the awkwardness and the eye-rolling. Still, I think in future I’ll stick to seeking out my fellow single travelers in their natural habitat: on the road.

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

4 Comments for Nothing Breaks the Ice Like a Travel Trivia Game?

Julia Ross 03.05.09 | 8:25 PM ET

I’m with you on the “Vancouver!” that would have killed it for me, for sure.

Travel Blog 03.06.09 | 11:46 AM ET

Definitely true, as travelers we have different expectations and different perspectives. People respond differently towards different situations that is why you can’t really expect to build connections with other people instantly. lol. Great Post!

Julia Craig 03.06.09 | 9:02 PM ET

I’ve been to a lot of these singles things and if there was a 50-50 ratio and you met a few like-minded people that’s pretty rare, so why so negative?

This entire post is just “eye-rolling” and “oozing contempt” so it’s funny to see those things get put down too. I think it sounds like a fun idea!

Ted 03.11.09 | 11:13 AM ET

Sounds like someone didn’t get asked for her phone number!

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