Finding Inspiration Safely in Nature During Covid

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Covid has had quite a dent in our summer holiday travel plans this year and most definitely our upcoming holiday plans as well, don't you think? Taking off on a plane or even heading out to a restaurant or the pool has become a matter of a health risk and simply put, a pain in the butt. Maybe you had plans to go somewhere on a plane or even just out to eat... news flash! the world had different plans. Point is, I think we are all getting a little bit of cabin fever. So, I'll give you some ideas and pointers on how to give yourself the gift of releasing your stress and getting out safely this year .

I'm a work hard, play hard type of person. I believe that everyone should get away from their day to day and release. Be inspired by enjoying life whether that's travel, eating out, reading, writing, art, or anything that gets you up and engaging. I find my release in nature and in exploring new places. Because I absorb stress like a sponge out of the ocean, and being around an urban area, while invigorating, drains my mind spirit, I need time to recover.

National Parks During Covid Arches
Number one disclaimer, if you plan on "getting out" during Covid, then you should do it responsibly and respectfully of others' health and health concerns. Getting out for our family has meant bringing extra masks and sanitizer wherever we go, avoiding public areas, and being respectful of those around us by maintaining 6-feet away or more. If you don't want to do those things, then stay indoors, please. 

Safe outdoor activities during the coronavirus pandemic are those that allow for social distancing and don’t go against any ordinances in your particular area to do them. For instance, if you live in an area where nonessential travel is advised against, it wouldn’t be a good idea to drive to an outdoor space. (Restrictions on movement are also thought to help prevent the spread of disease from high-case areas.) Some cities or towns may have also closed outdoor spaces like parks, beaches, or outdoor fields and athletic courts. So outdoor activities that don’t pass muster right now include group activities in highly populated areas.

8 Ideas for Getting Out and Inspired During Covid and Staying Safe

Simple Outdoor Activities

1. Neighborhood Activities:

Mix up your daily routine by riding a bike or taking a walk. There are many streets that have been closed off in our city (Oakland, CA) just to allow families to safely distance and not travel far from home. Here's our
, but take a look if you live in an urban area, you might have the same thing.  In a 2020 study published in Environment and Behavior, people experiencing chronic life stress who spent 40 minutes walking outside in nature experienced greater decreases in the stress hormone cortisol than those who walked either indoors on a treadmill or who watched nature programming on TV for the same amount of time. 

Murals and scavenger hunts from cars

2. Explore your town from your car window.

There are many cool things to do in our own neighborhoods. Take a route you've never taken before, explore wall murals in your city, go on a scavenger hunt in your town, find landmarks that you can view from your car that you've never seen before: the list is endless.

Tips for Travel During Covid

3. Camping during Covid:

Last year during this time I posted a blog post on how to go camping with kids and our favorite places to go as a family. This year is quite different. If you're in California, it isn't so easy finding a park that is even open! And when you do, you need to make sure that they are still open one day before you go because, let's face it, each day things change. We just took a big risk and traveled to some National Parks in Utah because our parks in California were closed. Even then I was worried if they would be open to the public. 

Camping in Elk Prarie Redwoods

Tips on camping during Covid:

Going to a National Park or Campsite
  1. Make sure where you want to go is open! Check the National Park Service’s find-a-park website to see if the park is closed or partially closed (restrooms and food services, in particular), for limits on numbers of visitors, and other rules like mask-wearing. Avoid group activities that involve close contact and practice social distancing at camp sites. (We just had a recent story of coming back through Yosemite from Death Valley. We thought we'd try to bi-pass going all the way around the mountains which would add on 2 hours and go through the Tioga Pass. NOPE. We traveled 20 minutes into the ranger station, only to discover that they were not letting people pass through unless they had a resie. WTF!?! Well, just be prepared and read up is my reco!)
  2. have a backup plan: Camp in your backyard! We've done it, it's not too shabby and an adventure for everyone, plus you are close to a nice indoor bathroom whenever you need it.
  3. try to contact the BLM (no, not Black Lives Matter, but the Bureau of Land Management) to find places that are off the grid and are still available to camp.
  4. Rent an RV or Airstream. This way, the only thing you need to worry about is stopping for gas. Lots of RV sites are open along the open road. Stock up on food before you go and you're all set!

4. Stay in Your Backyard

We already mentioned this, but this is something different and a memory worth making. It can be fun and genuinely exciting to get out of your house.

Backyard Camping

5. Not a Camper, Glamping during Covid.

Don't like camping, go glamping. There are so many glamping sites. You can also go through the app Hipcamp, an online resource that works like Airbnb for people's land. Sometimes there are yurts or teepees, airstreams or just a plot of land for you to rent for your vacay. With all the precautions, these choices are way better than staying at a hotel.

Airbnb during covid

6. Airbnb and Hotels: Prepare yourself with Precautions to take during Covid

Airbnb and Hipcamp and Glamping Hub now require very rigorous cleaning procedures of hosts (check out Airbnb's Enhanced Cleaning Protocal), including keeping the property people free for at least 2 days before allowing new guests to come in. Since Covid can't stay on surfaces longer than a few days, proper cleaning and keeping the room empty will lower your risk considerably.

Number One Tip for Staying in an Airbnb, Hipcamp or Hotel

We live in a crazy time. There is no passively "pussy-footing" around it, we need to be screening people, friends and potential places we stay on their cleaning protocol. It's actually pretty refreshing that we can be so bold. So, call up the place you're staying. Ask whether properties are cleaned according to public health guidelines, such as the WHO’s accommodation sector advice.

Finding and Isolated Beach During Covid

7. Out for the Day

Take a trip to the beach or to wine country (like in our own Napa Valley). Again, take precautions and call before you go. Many wineries are doing private masked wine tastings. At some beaches, that are still open, there is a strong recommendation to stay 6-feet away. I personally like this beach (pictured below) in France where they've taken the measuring tape out of the equation for you. Let's be honest, most people are not as careful as we are. If you want to dine out, call in advance and ask if they can accommodate you outside, if their tables are 6-feet apart from others, and if the waiters are masked. Make a yummy picnic to bring along or buy our gift box Summer Picnic to start off your travel picnic accessories.

8. Road Trip

Many people are taking to the road this year. Rentals and purchases of travel vans and Winnebagos are up. Get your groceries delivered before you head out, you have a bathroom on board, and RV spots at campsites are way easier to find off the side of the highway. I know many families, ours included, that planned ahead. We planned meals before we left (instead of going out to eat), kept a cooler of ice on hand for the road, invested in an external storage bag from Thule for our Prius, and only stopped for gas where we went. We researched before we left and had an Airbnb as a final destination.

Travel during Covid is risky. Before you go find out more about groceries, gas stations and rest stops (size and cleanliness of bathrooms there). Traveling to another city or country—requires new protocols. Follow policies about lockdown restrictions and mandatory quarantines, both at home and at your planned destination. The CDC provides links to the rules of each state’s and territory’s health departments. Many international borders remain closed to nonessential travel, and some countries also limit domestic travel between regions.

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