Our surprise travel anniversary tradition

I love love. I love the love I have with my husband. We can be one of those couples that make you go “Ohhh, stop it!” and I feel beyond lucky to have a life partner that is my match.

Any Ever After fans out there? “But she’s your match, Henry!” That’s us. Yay, us!

Ok, ok. Enough about that. Though, I’d really like to emphasize that you should be with someone who makes you happy (if you want to be in a relationship). You deserve it!


Sean and Jessica in Italy 2016


Looking Back

We’ve been together a long time. As of March 2017, it’s been 12.5 years since we’ve started dating and 7 years that we’ve been married.

In the United States we would always go out for a delicious dinner for both dating and wedding anniversaries because it’s just nice to have something to celebrate!

Now that we live in Amsterdam we travel somewhere each year for our wedding anniversary and usually eat out at a nice place somewhere, too. The first year we were still figuring out finances and a bunch of other unpleasant things but we still took a quick trip to Paris. We had no agenda, no timelines, no pressures. It was important to us that we be able to stroll along at our own pace and enjoy the city with all its romantic sides and quirkiness.  


Notre Dame


The new tradition

The next year Sean really wanted to surprise me for our anniversary. Since traveling within Europe is relatively cheap and quick, I let go of the planning responsibilities and let him have at it! For someone who wants to plan for everything–or at least needs to know everything–that was hard.

When you have been together for so long, it can be difficult to surprise the other person. We know how each other thinks and, to a certain extent, can anticipate what the other is going to do for anniversaries and birthdays. It is nice to have something that makes our anniversary a complete surprise and feel a bit more special.


Ischia, Italy


So, this is the new tradition…and I’m REALLY excited about it:

We take turns, every other year, to secretly plan our anniversary trip. Together we talk about a budget to keep in mind since circumstances are constantly changing and we want to ensure a stress-trip. Because Amsterdam doesn’t give us a lot of time with the sunshine, we each figure it will be somewhere warm. We need more sun in our lives! You never know though…it *is* a surprise 😉

You might be bummed to find out that we don’t wait until we are at the airport for the other person to find out. As cool as that sounds, it freaks me out. I want to look into the place a bit myself to see what I might want to do. I want to know what to pack. And of course, we both want to be excited and have a little bit of that anticipation before going on a trip rather than nervousness.

One month before we fly away, we’ll let the other know where exactly we’ll be going. Hopefully it’s in a fun and interesting way. Giving little hints is fun too!


Our last couple trips

The first year we did this, it was Sean’s idea and I was soooo nervous! I didn’t like not knowing what was going on. But I trusted that he knew what we would be able to enjoy together.

It was certainly worth the wait! He took me to the Amalfi Coast!

Amalfi Coast, Italy


We got warmer weather, amazing food, unbelievable scenery and had the best time. The food itself was incredible and something I’ll never forget. We even joined in on a wine and cheese tasting in a hidden cellar. It’s was all pretty much perfect!

Luckily it was warm and we visited the famous island of Capri, and then stayed on the island of Ischia which is where all the Italians (and apparently, Germans) go! We can’t wait to go back again. Pompeii was incredible too…how would I be able to pick a trip as awesome as this one?!

Then it was my turn. To find the right place, the food had to be good and ideally we haven’t been before. I was so excited, but nervous to plan this anniversary surprise. There was only one problem…there was AT LEAST a half dozen places I really really wanted to take him.


Secret anniversary trip to Lisbon


I thought about Croatia, Greece, Portugal, the Canary Islands, Malta, and I wanted to go back to Barcelona and Italy. These are all amazing places but I could only pick one! The excitement turned into overwhelm, but ultimately, I chose a spot. Lisbon was the perfect place for us to explore and eat. I even had a colleague who taught me a tiniest bit of Portuguese!

This year, since we were going to Lisbon, Portugal, I set up the dining room table with a photo of Lisbon on my computer and bought some Pasteis de nata to let him in on the surprise. He was so happy! I love that one moment when you get to see the reaction. That is something you just don’t get when you plan a getaway together.


View from castle in Lisbon


He loved it and I’m so glad. I think it’s so amazing to make your spouse happy! Now it’s my turn to wait again. Where do you think he’ll pick? It always feels like the date is not far away, so I love guessing as soon as we are back from the previous anniversary.

That’s SO bad, right?! Hehehe Oh well. That’s just me 😉


Surprise anniversary travel


This new tradition is super exciting and gives some mystery into our relationship. Not to mention, it involves travel around Europe which you simply can’t go wrong with! I also love that I know at that time every year, we’ll be off to somewhere awesome. I fully believe that you should always have something to look forward to, something to work towards.

What fun traditions do you have in your life? We’d love to hear them. Let’s inspire each other!

Wishing you love and travels!


Sintra, Portugal


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