Valentine’s Day is all about love, for others and for ourselves! But how do you make it special when it seems that movies, parks, chocolates, stuffed animals, and dinner are the only “love-worthy” options ? If you are like me, I treat myself to these things on a normal basis anyways (I justify this action by seeing it as a celebration of all my small daily accomplishments: such as taking out the trash, surviving the work day, and remembering to pay my bills). So here are ten ways to treat your wanderlust-crazed loved one (or yourself, you awesome person you) on Valentine’s Day!
1. For Travel Photography Collectors. Collect some special photographs from various travels and submit them to a shop that will turn these into coffee table books, tiles, wall art, etc. A quick Google search will give you a ton of options for companies, some even work directly with Instagram. Get those photos off a screen and put them to work filling up the space with good travel vibes!
2. For Chocolate or Coffee Lovers. Find a few local stores that sell chocolate or coffee from around the world. Pick a few, asking for help if need be, and make a basket of international goods! Mix some tried-and-tested varieties as well as some new ones to give your loved one a chance to experience something new! (Bonus points if they are all fair trade products)
3. For Creative Individuals. If you are willing to spend a bit more on your loved one (or treat yourself well), buy a new camera and take an outing to test it out. It could be a day trip somewhere or even to an alleyway of street art. For added fun, bring a small collection of props to take pictures with. Just have fun and explore a new location!
4. For Fashion Lovers. Now most guides will tell you that buying clothes can be a very bad judgement call. Taste levels could be questioned and fitting issues are always a problem. Which is why I will tell you to opt for a scarf! International scarves from Southeast Asia (Bangladesh most certainly) and Africa have wonderful patterns and colors (but let’s agree to skip the animal prints). They can spruce up casual clothing or give a fancy outfit some flavor. Some scarves are even made in sheer material that can still work great on warmer days. Most days home I find a scarf to wear and when I travel, I always take one or buy a few.
5. For the Hopeless Romantic or the Writer. One of my favorite experiences living in Taiwan has been participating in the Pingxi Paper Lantern Festival. This is were you write or draw your goals and dreams onto a paper lantern before they are lit inside and set into the sky. Watching the sky fill with floating paper lanterns warms the soul. Please do not attempt this by yourself! If you are going for a hot Valentine’s Day, burning down the house is not the way to go! However, check to see if anywhere close has paper sky lanterns or even water lanterns. It will make for a memorable Valentine’s Day. For more information on the Pingxi Sky Lantern experience, please visit Distributed Internationally’s post.
6. For Animal Lovers. Search for local animal farms that have unique animals that you can visit. My favorite has been the Alpaca farms! Some will even let you feed and pet the animals. Don’t worry, it’s a myth that Alpacas will spit on you for no reason. They mainly spit on each other to communicate.
7. For the Outgoing Individual. Go try your hand at dancing something new: salsa, swing dance, two-step. Either you will both find a new weekend hobby to do together or will have great collection of laughs. Either way, nothing sweeps someone off their feet like dance (sometimes too literally)!
8. For the Crafty or Etsy Obsessive. Find a local NGO or small museum that specializes in making something. Spend some hours visiting and trying your hand at making your own! You’ll walk away with something you made by hand. Popular suggestions include cloth dying or paper making.
9. For the Foodie or the Adventurous. Do some research on the best restaurants in the area for international cuisine. Then, collect food dishes from around the globe! When you get home, you can watch a foreign or travel-themed film and taste your way around the globe. You might even find your new lunch date place! This also works with foreign wines and spirits, too.
10. For Those Serious About Travel. Use Valentine’s Day to plan your next trip. Make a bulletin board to pin photos, articles, and must see locations to inspire and excite you! Think Pinterest meets Springboard meets Your Kitchen! Spend quality time with your significant other or a group of good friends, planning and budgeting for the next big thing. For added benefits, put aside the money you would have spent for Valentine’s Day as your first financial investment!