When I travel for work or pleasure, I often purposely seek out game stores and friends who are gamers in the area. No matter where I find myself in the world, a game shop feels like home, and sitting around a table gaming with fellow game geeks is very relaxing. These are intentional meetings, so no surprise there.
But recently, I had my first random encounter as a traveling gamer, caused by my carry-on. I was at the airport in Atlanta, waiting for my plane, when I spied a passenger in the queue with a ThinkGeek Dragonscale Bag of Holding. My canvas Bag of Holding (which I use as my carry-on and my daily work bag) was sitting beside me. We noticed each other’s bags at about the same time and she asked something like, “I noticed you have a Bag of Holding as well, what do you play?” After two years of carrying this bag around the world, it was the first time it started a conversation outside of a game convention or a gathering of friends. Our Bags of Holding became ambassadors to open a conversation. While we waited for our flight’s boarding to begin, we discussed what roleplaying campaigns we currently were playing or running, what board games we love, experiences at Gen Con and local cons, my freelance work, and what we liked about each of our different Bags of Holding (mine is the older canvas that had the convertible backpack straps, which she had not seen before). One of the things I love most about gamers is how friendly and inclusive the community is. We were instant friends discussing a hobby we are passionate about. There was none of that uncomfortable silence or random chit chat like normally occurs when queueing up for a flight. This was a fun and animated conversation among instant friends. Then our flight boarded and we went on our way, continuing our travels. If she is reading my blog now, then this is for her, “Thanks for a great conversation and I hope to see you at Gen Con or another con in the near future.”
My daughters have recently purchased the Backpack of Holding and Handbag of Holding, and one has the same convertible canvas bag as I do. I am curious what friendships these bags might open up for them in the future.
When you travel, do you seek out new game stores and friends in the area? Have you had a random encounter with a fellow gamer while traveling? What started the conversation? Was it something you were wearing, carrying, or perhaps a game you were playing in public?