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Going Outdoors While Staying in as a Person With Limited Mobility

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It was baking hot and we’d walked for miles using our map and an old compass to navigate the wilderness, chatting and enjoying the incredible views as we clambered up rocky ridges. I gasped “Look! A raccoon!” (I’m always way too excited by animals.) It scurried away, alerted to our presence by the sound of our footsteps. We walked around for hours. It was perfection.

This isn’t something my boyfriend and I normally do. Most of the things we do together “as a couple” are either watching TV or tending to our individual obsessions, which usually involves staring at separate computers. But we sit in the same room, so that still counts as “as a couple,” right…? We’ve always struggled to find things to do together that aren’t sofa-based, and have often wondered “what do other couples do?”

I have mitochondrial myopathy, which leaves me tired most of the time and unable to walk very far. So playing a sport, going to the gym, going shopping or going for a walk together aren’t great options for us. Although we share a sense of humor and general outlook on life, our hobbies aren’t the same. We enjoy different genres of movie, styles of music, authors and art. He sits surrounded by sci-fi novels and listens to chip-tunes while I laugh my butt off at hip-hop and 80s rock ballads. And when it comes to games, he needs strategy, experience points and what seems to me like a whole host of time-sapping rules. Whereas me, I need fun things to happen. Right. Now.

Don’t get me wrong, I love every moment we’re together so this certainly isn’t a complaint. And I don’t feel like our relationship suffers because we don’t do the usual couple things. But y’know, going for a stroll together would just be nice.

And that is where “Firewatch” came in. I’d never played a “walking simulator” game before and to be honest, the thought of it didn’t really appeal to me. I like computer games where I can jump around frantically to the sound of coins or gems pinging into my virtual pockets, not a game where you just wander around without an agenda or anything to attack with your cartoon sword (turns out most of the time you don’t even get a cartoon sword!) But we were both pretty tired and didn’t have any plans that weekend, and I think we were running low on TV to watch. Looking at our options, we came across “Firewatch” which was described as a “mystery adventure game,” something that appealed to me as I liked the idea of having a mystery to solve.

I could go on and on about how much I loved “Firewatch” — how captivating the story is, how the scenery will blow you away, how the characters’ story feels so real right from the beginning that you might just have a little cry. But that’s not really my point here. My point is that going outdoors together (something a lot of couples wouldn’t think anything of) is a wonderful experience, even if you never actually leave your tiny, dark lounge to do it.

Originally published: July 2, 2018
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