Island living can be so romantic -- the lush, swaying palms; the glossy water made pink by the sunrise; unfortunately the (much needed) pandemic guidelines have put a limitation on what kind of dates we can go on these days.
With Valentine's Day coming up, I wanted to brainstorm a few Covid-friendly date ideas so you can still celebrate your love while staying safe at the same time.
This sounds basic at first glance, but it's actually the perfect solution. A surf date doesn't require you being the best surfer in the world, but just getting out in the water can still be tons of fun.
You're usually six feet apart in the water, and you can definitely be that far apart from the others around. Some surf breaks are more crowded than others, but still manageable!
Surfing's also (in my opinion) the best kind of date because you can adjust it based on your needs. You can be as together as you desire, if you want the quality time, but can also take your time to focus a little on yourself but simply go to the break together -- making it a solid avenue for busy couples. You get a little "blue mind" time for the two of you, which contributes to relaxation and connectivity. And laughing at each others' wipeouts is always a good time if you go about it with the right attitude.
You're getting your own satisfaction from the waves and your progress, but are also cheering each other on and feeling attuned to nature in a way that makes you grateful and connected. You can teach each other, watch each other, invite other friends and/or couples, or simply get in and out of the water together. Also, a post-surf beer or coffee (hey, dawn patrol!) together can be a great way to continue the joy.
As I've mentioned before, I don't consciously work out, but a lot of my physical exercise comes from activities like surfing that my husband and I prefer to do during our off time.
Throwback to the days of bar hopping, right? Here's an alternative: head to a spot like Pupukea where there's a giant cluster, and make a multi-course meal of it. (Make sure to wear a mask!)
Get an appetizer from one spot, your entrée from another, acai bowls for dessert, or a refreshing drink. Or, you can divide your meals and try a little bit of everything you want to (set within a budget, of course.)
While a lot of restaurants are paused or operating at limited capacity -- and dining as a whole is still exposure -- the food truck avenue is a clever workaround with outdoor seating that will make you feel both full and relatively safe.
The casual vibe of food trucks make them an easy place to roll up to no matter how your day is going or how together you want to be -- and you might discover a new one you like. Plus, then you know you're supporting small and local joints that are suffering from the lack of tourists.
A NEW HIKE!
This sounds basic, right? The top two activities you see on Hawaiian 'Hinge': let's go surfing and let's go hiking. (Speaking from friends, not from my own experience -- I myself am madly in love with my husband already, and will drag him on these dates myself!)
But in all seriousness, there's a reason they're the go-to ideas.
If it's a first date, the hike itself might be a great option. If you've been together for awhile, or have already been on all the trails a dozen times, here's another way to spice it up: bring some watercolors, or a disposable camera, or some other way to document the hike.
Creating something together can feel immensely liberating, and can be a creative way to get to know a person's style if you're not familiar with them already. Similarly to surfing, it can be as collaborative or independent as you want. Sometimes you realize that your favorite people to be around -- and the ones you should be around -- are the ones you can sit in silence with.
I've been on island for awhile, but there are still spots so beautiful and moments of appreciating nature so poignant that Devin and I will be a little quiet. Having some way of recording that -- either journaling, or making art -- could add a little something to your usual trail. If you're up to it, you could compare creations afterwards; if not, it might just be enough to create together.
Proceed with caution, since volunteering is a way your risk level could change. Opt for working with an organization that aligns with your social distancing needs. Sometimes we associate volunteering with being around people, but there are other jobs in addition to outreach that are equally compelling. Check out this article for ways to volunteer safely during the time of COVID, and ideas for who needs it most.
If you're sick of holing up together and watching the latest show, and you're worn out from all the outdoor activities you've exhausted, try something new: giving back. Doing good for others psychologically makes us feel good. In a time when our mental health as a society is at an all-time low, volunteering can be a boost that makes you -- and your loved one, or first date, or other half -- feel connected, purposeful, and grateful in a time when it's harder to feel that way.
Do you have any more socially distanced date ideas? Let me know in the comments below!