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24 July 2007

The conversation club

Working away from home during the week, I have the company of a hotel bedroom 4 nights a week and the company of an airport departure lounge on a Friday night. It's a bit of a dull and repetitive time. Like GroundHog Day I sometimes look for ways to brighten up the routine to make each week more interesting than the last. I've tried the gym, various local restaurants, looked into going to the cinema, hiring DVDs to play on the TV in my room via the laptop, watched some TV, gone for long walks, paid the bills, caught up on email, surfed the web, read the what's on guide, magazines and newspapers and I'm also doing a distance learning course. I even blog occassionally.

Yet the one thing that is surprisingly difficult to get is simple conversation. Having lived in the same hotel for several months, I know most of the staff, chatted with reception many times, helped out the hotel with their IT and spent a few nights at the bar people watching.

However, it was following my recent letter in the Belfast Telegraph that I managed to get to meet people socially in the evening, not eat dinner alone and spend the evening in pleasant conversation about life, politics, language, culture and all manner of things.

How much more interesting and less lonely it would be if it was easier to do this on a regular basis. It isn't most people's cup of tea wandering up to complete strangers in a bar to make conversation not knowing if they think you are either weird or misinterpreting it as a chat up. There needs to be a context and in the world of frequent travellers there must be hundreds of thousands of people each worknight bored out of their minds in dull hotel rooms. Yes, I appreciate there are probably more exciting things to do but not if you're already married....

So the context is the conversation club. A place for the traveller who wants to meet up in a strange city with other business travellers, have some conversation and company, meet with people staying for anything from a few nights to many months and possibly network for opportunities, find out what's going on and make a global network of contacts. Could just be a social drink down the pub and some food in a local cheapish restaurant or whatever.

Imagine a network of places around the world where you can go on business and simply meet up with people for conversation and company. No dodgy dating club, no lonely hotel rooms.

Maybe something worth talking about.

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