BSoMT have the greavt honour of presenting another piece from a guest contributor. This time Beyond Solitaire.

Bio: Liz Davidson is a Latin teacher and solo board gamer. You can read her game reviews at http://www.beyondsolitaire.net, she is @beyondsolitaire on Twitter and Instagram, and she can be found as Beyond Solitaire on YouTube. She also contributes to Throat Punch Lunch, a YouTube show produced by The Dice Tower.

Photo: Liz in 2007, posing with a bust of the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann in a museum in Berlin.

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Why Solo?

by Liz Davidson

In the summer of 2007, I spent two months in Berlin studying German at the Goethe-Institut. It was my first trip abroad, and my first trip alone. Not for long, though—I was taking a class, so I soon had friends to hang out with. Classes only took up half of the day, so we usually spent our afternoons exploring the city together.

One of our craziest ideas was a weekend trip to Paris. Train tickets weren’t that expensive. We could get a sleeper car and wake up in a totally different country! Besides, who knew when we would go back to Europe again? Everyone seemed gung-ho for the adventure, until, one by one, people started to back out. Soon, there were only two of us left, and my would-be partner said that he didn’t want to go if nobody else was going. I felt awkward. Was the trip really such a good idea, if everyone else was backing out of it?

But I wanted to see Paris. So I went by myself.

And it was awesome.

If you haven’t traveled alone, I highly recommend the experience. There is nothing quite as liberating as being able to go where you want, when you want. You pick the restaurants, the museums, the break times. You can linger where you like, with no one to rush you. The place you visit opens up to you in ways that only you will ever truly understand.

Something about that trip changed me. I’ve always enjoyed my alone time. But after Paris, I became more determined to do the things I wanted to do, even if I had to do them by myself. That was the point in my life where I started to go to movies alone, to eat at restaurants alone, to have experiences on my own without constantly waiting for other people to be ready to come with me.

I feel the same way about board games. I get tremendous enjoyment from playing them, both alone and with others. But I don’t always want to wait for game night to play a game, especially with no guarantee that we’ll play what I want to play. And some games I reserve just for me. When I game on my own, I get to go at the pace I want. I can speed through, or I can linger over an interesting moment for as long as I like. In that moment, at my gaming table, the game belongs to me and to me alone.

I love board gaming in all its forms, and I look forward to game night every week. But there is an intensity to playing alone that you can’t experience any other way. The feeling I get when I play on my own—that sense of freedom, of truly doing something for its own sake—is a feeling I wouldn’t trade for anything.

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