April 23 will mark our 5 year anniversary. FIVE years! It's hard to believe how fast the last five years have gone by and at the same time how much has fit into 5 years!
For our first anniversary we were practically broke. We had free flying vouchers we'd been given for giving up our seats on a flight we'd taken earlier on that year and we'd saved those free vouchers to use for our anniversary. We didn't know where we wanted to go other than somewhere hot.
We randomly decided to fly to Phoenix, Arizona for no reason other than there were flights available on the weekend we had free.
At that point we were so broke we could pretty much only afford to fly - on our free vouchers - from the Cleveland airport to the Phoenix airport and do nothing else. Had it not been for our tax return that year that is all we would have done! We budgeted enough money to cover a 3 day car rental, gas and $25 for food for our weekend trip.
When we landed in Phoenix we went to pick up our car rental - the smallest, cheapest car they had available. By a beautiful turn of events, which we fully credit God for, the small cars had all been rented out and they upgraded us and included a few extra perks for free.
This jeep was our abode for the next three days:
We had no money to spend on a hotel or restaurant meals but our 1st anniversary trip to Arizona is one of our most favorite memories.
We slept in the car, ate food from the grocery store and had an incredible time together.
In the three days we were there we drove over 1,500 miles.
We started in Phoenix, AZ and then drove through a bit of California then went to Las Vegas, Nevada and then drove back - stopping at various sites along the way and randomly driving through neighborhoods to look at the beautiful homes.
It was so much fun.
We didn't buy any souvenirs. We didn't take in any shows. We didn't eat anywhere that required a tip. We spent less on that whole trip than most people would spend on two nights at a hotel.
That trip inspired an idea we have built on each year since then - to celebrate each anniversary in a different state, or in several different states.
Our second anniversary was spent in Georgia.
Our third in South Carolina.
Our forth in Tennessee.
And now that our fifth is upon us we tried to think up something special and memorable to do. And we kept thinking of our first anniversary. We have a lot more money now than we did that first year. But not having money that first year is, in large, what made the time together so memorable and fun. To this day thinking of my 6'4 husband squished inside the Jeep sleeping still makes me laugh.
A month or so ago our plan started to take shape.
We are going to drive through Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and camp on a couple of beaches. Some of the camp sites are free and the others are about $10/night. We are going to spend money on some of the local attractions that have been raved about on tripadvisor.com and indulge in the local food as we're big foodies - but we're sticking to a budget and are going to try to spend even less then than amount. We want to purposefully spend as little as we can, while doing a few key things that we have researched ahead of time.
I am so excited! We plan to spend the first night at Dauphin Island. The second day drive through New Orleans and spend the second night in Grand Isle State Park. The third day we'll go back to New Orleans and then head up through Mississippi. We haven't figured out what to do in Mississippi or the finer points of each day. If anyone has been to any of those places I'd love suggestions on things to see or do!