My husband and I are terrible gift-givers. Even on birthdays and major holidays, our idea of giving one another presents is buying something we both really want, but haven’t wanted to spend the money for, and calling it a gift for both of us. Things like vacuum cleaners and crock pots and blu-ray players. Super romantic stuff. 🙂
So when I was invited to choose something special for my sweetheart from a website called Personal Creations, I was a bit at a loss. I perused all of the sweet, romantic gifts, but nothing felt right. (Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration—they have like 10,000 gifts, so I didn’t peruse them ALL, but I did look at a lot.)
Then I came across this gem and was sold.
Yes. That’s a map of the United States. It may not appear to be the most romantic Valentine’s Day gift, but I think it’s perfect. Here’s why:
Last year, I convinced my darling husband and our three offspring to put all of our worldly belongings into storage (besides what would fit in our Honda Pilot) and live as nomads for 11 months. We traveled all over the U.S., staying in furnished vacation rentals for 3-4 weeks at a time (with a 3.5 month stint at a place on Cape Cod). We were a homeschooling and work-from-home family already, so we learned and worked as we went.
It. Was. GLORIOUS.
And honestly, supporting my wild, wanderlusty dreams was the most romantic thing my husband could ever have done for me. He jumped right on board my crazy travel train, and trusted that I wasn’t leading our family into financial or psychological ruin. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is.
Traveling can test a relationship. I know this. So can moving. But our unconventional lifestyle for that year, even with the innate challenges it presented, only served to strengthen our marriage.
And man, did we have a blast. (If you’d like the details of our trip, I wrote all about it here.)
The U.S. Traveler Map is framed in a gorgeous solid wood frame. It also comes with different colored pins and flags—yellow flags for your favorite destinations (such as Dana Point, CA—our family’s top choice along with Cape Cod and Disney World), blue flags for your next planned trip, red pins for places you’ve been, and green pins for dream destinations. So far, I’ve just put the red pins in where we stayed on our nomadic year, and yellow flags for our favorite places.
I went a step further and outlined our travel route in red Sharpie. It’s so fun to “see” the hundreds and hundreds of miles we drove that year.
And the “personalized” part of the map is this nifty plaque that they inscript with up to 150 characters. I kept it simple and sweet.
Family = Love. Adventure = Romance.
If Valentine’s Day is all about love and romance, then this memento of our family’s year on the road is truly the perfect gift—for both of us.
(I received a complimentary item of choice from Personal Creations to try out and write about here. All opinions are my own.)