The Most Romantic Gift I’ve Ever Given My Husband

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.


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.)

IMG_5749The 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.)

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Annie writes about life, motherhood, world issues, beautiful places, and anything else that tickles her brain. On good days, she enjoys juggling life with her husband and homeschooling her children. On bad days, she binges on chocolate chips and dreams of traveling the world alone.

Comments 4

  1. I think that is SO amazing that you guys lived as nomads for 11 months! This map really is the perfect gift since you guys have traveled all over the country together and I’m sure that period of 11 months is something special you guys will remember forever. Very cool.

  2. We have that same map! And I have this dream of a taking a 3 month road trip in an RV with my husband and two sons. We’re hoping sometime in the next five years. Nothing as ambitious as your 11 month trip, but it still is a dream adventure for me.

  3. That is a wonderfully romantic gift! Great job! I think most couples have similar gift-giving practices – buy what you need or want w/out much thought or TIME. Time the most precious resource! This year I had the opportunity/TIME to make a mixed tape for my husband for Valentine’s Day. Errr, mixed playlist. After many hours over the course of two weeks, I finished it. It had the most profound and deeply emotional effect on him. Of course it did, that was the point! You see this past year rocked the trust foundation we made many years ago and thru music (and lots of therapy), we are mending. I wanted to share another really, really romantic gift for your readers! A MIXED TAPE! Below is the mix I created for those interested:
    “Madness” by Muse
    “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith
    “Just Give Me a Reason” by P!NK
    “Say Something” by A Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera
    “Glass Jar” by Tristan Prettyman
    “Be My Husband” by Nina Simone
    “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Igrlova
    “Hold My Hand” by Brandy Clark
    “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star
    “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz
    “Gimme All You Love” by Alabama Shakes
    “Say Anything” by Tristan Prettyman
    “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne
    “Something” by The Beatles
    “Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran
    “You Should Be With Me” by Leddra Chapman

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