-- by Lotus
"Where have you traveled? "
"Where have you traveled? "
This is the number one question posed to military families while stationed in Europe. Because it is so easy to visit numerous different countries, Americans experience a sense of profound wanderlust. Social media is rife with touristy snapshots of mini-trips to Paris or Rome. American military families are capturing memories that they will have for a lifetime.
Paraic and I have had our share of adventures while stationed in Germany, but if someone were to ask me about my favorite place, I’d have to say Lokki’s. In the little village of Oberusal, there is a hobby shop named Lokki oHg. A Finnish couple own the store, which provides a peculiar variety of services…Friday Night Magic, computer repair, and a bed & breakfast. From the instant you walk in the door, you sense you are in someone’s home. Bernd and Liisa (along with their owl, hawk and two dogs, who all roam freely) have transformed their quaint Bavarian style residence into a unique and charming environment. Paraic and I were instantly inspired. It was during those weekly FNM events at Lokki’s that the concept of Knight Watch Games was born.
Paraic has returned from his deployment to Africa and we are spending all of our energy on designing a business plan for our upcoming game store, Knight Watch Games. At first, we wanted to create a version of Lokki’s by purchasing a building that would serve as both home and retail space with our pups, Mishra and Urza, serving as the store’s welcome wolves. How cool would it be to wake up in the morning and walk downstairs to work? The plan was solid and the financial figures calculated, but lenders don’t care as much about an idea or how much passion one possesses, as they do about getting paid. So, the store-in-residence idea has been scaled down to a traditional retail hobby shop, but when you walk into Knight Watch Games, you’ll know you are home.
Picture this: Mishra and Urza are snoozing on their beds in the corner, when the chime of the front door bell indicates a guest. Often too lazy to greet you, they re-position themselves and fall right back into deep sleep. Even though you just parked in a large paved lot and strolled past several major retailers before you entered, the immediate sights, sounds, and smells transport you to a medieval great hall.
Dark timbers on the walls hold sconces of torches that light the room in warm hues. Wrought iron chandeliers sway from the timber beams spanning the ceiling. The wooden floors echo your footfalls as you walk in. Paraic is casually arranging books when he turns to greet you. Though you cannot see her, you know Brenda is here because you can smell fresh coffee brewing.
The room is full of long, dark worn tables, complete with benches where familiar faces look up to smile, then continue playing their games. As you move further into the room, a large leather chair tempts you to sit. You settle in and while you wait for FNM to begin, soft music playing the background transports you to an age of chivalry, magic and mystery. You realize you are very much at home.
While here in Germany, I have traveled extensively and experienced places many will only ever see in pictures. Yet, when people ask me "Where have you traveled?" I answer that my best trips were flying TIE Fighters across the galaxy to Alderaan, exploring the town of Two Creek Crossing in the Forgotten Realms, and battling for Zendikar. I don't begrudge them the looks of confusion I get, it’s just my personal flavor of wanderlust.