Spending time going on “dates” isn’t something my partner and I do often. Our lives are filled with jobs, responsibilities, social commitments, hobbies, to-do lists, and now wedding planning. We built our relationship doing activism together, which is something very near and dear to our journey as a couple. Coincidentally, we’ve both been vegan for about the same length of time, even though we’ve known each other for a shorter amount of time. Talk about divine synchronicities!
Dating isn’t just for fun; it’s an opportunity to grow closer to your partner. Dating reminds me of those fluttery feelings I first felt for him, and it was these feelings that eventually developed into something more than just a friendship. Dates don’t have to be expensive and extravagant, but it can be a special time to look forward to admist the chaos of our daily lives.
Whether or not you are an ethical vegan and animal-rights activist like me, here are some animal-friendly date ideas that may just keep that spark alive in your relationship…
Soaking up the Nature Vibes
Hiking is an activity that’s not only cheap but also super beneficial. Spend a couple of hours at a local nature preserve, state park, or mountain, and enjoy the solitude with your partner. If you live close to a beach, research to see if there are any beach cleanups near you. You’ll be helping the environment in a beautiful location and potentially making new friends while you’re at it. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch for your nature-filled date. If you and your partner are feeling extra competitive, pack a couple of plastic trash bags and see who can collect the most trash during the hike. The winner buys the loser ice cream after. It’s a win for you, the animals, and our planet.
Exploring New Vegan Terrain
My partner and I love trying new vegan restaurants and we are grateful to live in an area with an abundance of them. HappyCow is a website and app that allows users to locate any vegan spot. I use this app so frequently and it never lets me down. You’d be surprised at all the places that are flying under the radar, patiently waiting to be discovered. Here’s an idea… write out different cuisine types on pieces of paper and place them in a bowl or jar. The next time you and your partner plan for a restaurant date night, play rock, paper, scissors, and the winner gets to pull a paper and choose the closest vegan restaurant in that cuisine category.
Volunteering with Furry Friends
One of our all-time favorite things to do is to volunteer at animal sanctuaries. There’s something so extraordinary about not just being with the diverse species of animals given a second chance at life, but also seeing my partner treat them with such kindness and compassion. It’s like how my ovaries ache when I see him with babies. My heart is filled with the deep knowing that this is why we are in a long-term partnership. It was important for me to find someone with the same core values. But it was even more important to find someone who would be as crazy as me to drop everything and go volunteer at a sanctuary in Hawaii for a couple of months. Luckily, I succeeded.
Do some research on local animal sanctuaries, or shelters, and see if they are accepting volunteers. You never know who may be in need of help. Tip: check out Airbnb experiences online to discover if there are any local animal sanctuary experiences, like yoga with animals. More and more events are popping up that give sanctuaries some extra income and exposure while also providing you and your partner a memorable outing.
In-Home Movie Magic
It was my partner who got me into watching The Office, and now we are watching another comedy series from start to finish. I always look forward to the times we get to watch our show together, especially over some scrumptious vegan take-out food. On rare occasions, we’ll pick a documentary to watch. Have you seen Seaspiracy yet? Choose a night for you and your partner to watch Seaspiracy and better yet, order some vegan sushi. There are several shows, movies, and documentaries that promote a kinder world to all creatures. Check out this list!
Vegan Food Fairs
Summer has been a splendid season for vegan food festivals. It’s pretty close to heaven, at least for me. Although it’s a great date idea to do with your partner, it’s also great to meet other like-minded people. Maybe there will be a double date, or even a triple date, planned in the future! Another idea: grab as much vegan food as you both can hold and find a local park to sit and eat. This way you’ll be able to have some alone time with your special person if the festival gets too crowded.
All in all, these are just some ideas to keep that special spark alive for you and your mate. If your partner isn’t vegan, you can use these date ideas as a way of introducing the idea of living a more ethical lifestyle. Spending quality time with loved ones is vital, especially now more than ever. Take advantage of opportunities that can benefit animals, as well as bring feelings of joy, hope, excitement, curiosity, and love. Tending to these feelings is crucial to any healthy relationship, plus with these date ideas, you can be sure to excite yourself and your loved one.
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Photo: Ian Schneider & Jason Leung on Unsplash