Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Our Annual Adventure

[insert huge sigh of relief]

Our "honeymoon" is finally planned and pretty much booked.

It's in quotes because we will be flying back from Greece (via New Jersey) on our one-year anniversary. I'm pretty convinced that makes it our first Annual Adventure rather than a bona fide honeymoon.

A while ago, Matt and I settled on Hawaii. We got the idea from our book about the best hikes in the world, and we wanted to go to Kauai to check one of them out (plus take surfing lessons and snorkel and eat fruit). But then we kept going back and forth about when to go on the trip, due to Matt's work schedule. First it was going to be May; then it was going to be July.

Then we realized we could only use my frequent flyer miles to go to Hawaii in May but not July. Simultaneously, we learned that Matt could only take his vacation in July, not May.


I kept writing "plan honeymoon" on my action plan and then promptly ignoring it.

Last weekend, while I was in DC, I talked to my friend Amy about possible places to go (we were really intent on using our frequent flyer miles...). She suggested Kenya and some other cool locales. I confessed that I was a little under-excited about the prospect of planning the trip (which is weird because planning is seriously one of my hobbies). She mentioned going on a tour with GAP Adventures.

Later that night, I did a little browsing and came across a sailing trip in the Greek Islands. On a boat! In Greece! Yes!

Fortunately, Matt had the exact same reaction (until I mentioned we would have to sleep in twin beds in really camped quarters--or on the deck under the stars!).

The extra-cool part is that we're flying into Paris and hanging out for four days before heading to Milan (just for a night in an airport hotel) and then onto Greece. We'll also have one night in Athens at the end of our trip.

Here's the itinerary for our sailing adventure:

Day 1 Santorini
Arrive Santorini for 11AM for first day of sailing.

Day 2 Sifnos

In the morning, an optional bus trip on Folegandros shows you one of most beautiful areas in the Cyclades. Sail to Sifnos, an island so hidden and charming that E. Hemmingway would have chosen to stay a while.

Day 3 Paros

A morning sail will bring us to Parikia on Paros. Explore the town or even better take an optional excursion to visit ‘Antiparos’ with its world famous shallow beaches and wonderful cave.

Day 4 Syros

Sail to Syros and lunch at the uninhabited island Didimi, with swimming and snorkeling from the boat. Moor for the night at the old Cycladic Capitol, Ermoupolis. Explore the town with its stunning architecture and a traditional charm.

Day 5 Mykonos

Set sail for an adventurous day in Mykonos. There are plenty of options on the island, such as a day trip to Delos. If you prefer, just relax in a local cafe near the sea. If shopping is what you like, then this is definitely the place!

Day 6 Naxos

Today enjoy life as a sailor and make your way to Naxos. Sit on deck and watch for dolphins or try your hand at sailing!

Day 7 Naxos

Starting in the morning, explore the hidden sights of Naxos such as the Kitron Brewery and the Temple of Demeter, which sits at an altitude of almost 3000ft, and has spectacular views of Naxos’ green valleys. Lunch is taken in Martinas Tavern, which offers a unique and authentic atmosphere. Finally, a drive downhill finds us at the famous beach of Apollon, where swimming and relaxing ends a perfect day!

Day 8 Ios

Spend our day on a fantastic little island known as Ios which is famous for its sandy beaches and chapels. Explore this picturesque town at leisure or enjoy the night life in one of its popular discos.

Day 9 Santorini

Set sail for our last port of call, where we began our sailing adventure for one last night together and some time to explore this amazing island.

Day 10 Depart Santorini


We'll be traveling for 16 days total (Hoss will have a blast at Camp Canine). The trip is going to cost a lot of money (everything--including 17 days for Hoss at Camp Canine) will be about $6,000. Is it crazy that we're spending three times as much money on a trip than we did on our wedding?

We put money into our vacation fund every month, so we won't be going into any debt. But still. That is a crap-load of money...Feel free to call me hypocritical for skimping on our wedding and splurging on a yearly trip.

I need to get a good bikini (I'm not normally a bikini wearer, but the Mediterranean Sea just screams bikini to me). And I need to make this Amy Butler hat.

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AmyJean {Relentless Bride®} said...

I'm so jealous. Can i come? I can follow you around and take all your pics for you, please?!?! Lol! What a great choice!

AmberGale said...

How funny - after you posted the GAP space adventure, I spent a lot of time checking out their Greece trips for our Sept honeymoon, esp the Santorini to Santorini! I think it looks fantastic and the trip itself seems pretty reasonble. We also have frequent flier miles we're looking to use to get there... the twin beds thing is kind of a bummer. I think I had hope that maybe they folded down and could be joined? lol.

Aarika said...

Sounds like fun!!!!

megan said...

will you be sleeping in bunks on the sail boat? that's a tight squeeze! (it's awesome that matt is down for it, lol)...and hopefully y'all don't get seasick, because that could be mieserable. I'm not trying to be a debbie-downer, i just work around boats and people and the sea don't always mix. but, all-in-all, a BAD ASS honeymoon. i'm so jealous...my trip to disney (initial quote) will be $5k. that's a down payment on a ford focus. kind of depressing, but it is my belief that trips are totally worth it in the end.

Bailey said...

What an AWESOME honeymoon/annual adventure! Can't wait to hear (read) all about it!

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't feel guilty about it. It is a chance for a really memorable experience. The fiancee and I have the same plan: a no frills wedding and splurge on a trip for our one year anniversary instead of a honeymoon. We're minimalists and travellers, so it makes sense for us. Have a wonderful trip!

Nicole said...

I agree with Anonymous: spending money on your time alone together is a wonderful plan. I'm so excited for y'all!

Sarah said...

You could also choose to look at it as the cost of a single day. Your wedding cost $2000, mostly for a single day's festivities. The $6000 price tag for 16 full days of travel comes out to only $375 a day. That seems like a bargain to me!

You have priorities. And if you have a whole account dedicated to travel, that is obviously a priority. Throw the guilt out the window and go buy yourself a bikini!

Michele said...

Trip looks amazing, Bon Voyage!

Becca said...

I've been to Greece twice and YES YES YES you're going to have an incredible time! (psst: go to antiparos! Also, make sure to eat Greek yogurt with honey for breakfast - truly nectar of the gods. Our non-fat store-bough yogurt is nothing like the real thing in Greece.)

I'm entirely jealous of your sailboating adventure. And I think it's perfectly reasonable to spend more on the honeymoon than a wedding. But then again, I can't imagine life without adventures, so it makes sense that you want to build a life of adventures and shared experiences. Have so much fun!

Melissa Hall said...

"Feel free to call me hypocritical for skimping on our wedding and splurging on a yearly trip."

Heck No! I have spent so much money traveling through Europe on various trips and never ever regretted one penny (or Euro or pence). You are paying for amazing experiences, not just a boat ride. You won't ever regret this trip. Have a blast!

heatherly said...

That is fantastic!

About the bikini - my mom lives down the street from Tara Grinna (also sold online and in stores) and she (Tara) makes the suits right in Myrtle Beach (yea! local economy). My sister and I are not bikini people but apparently they are so well made and the styles are so versatile anyone can find one that makes them feel great. Sister just got one and LOVES it - so much so she did not mind showing it off in the store. Next trip I'll try...

No, I have not stock or anything in the company I just think everyone should feel fabulous about themselves all the time but especially on vacation.

Congratulations on planning such a fabulous experience!

Surprise Wedding said...

You are going to have SUCH an amazing time. Several years ago, I started my year of international travel in Greece and it remains one of my all-time favorite places of the many that I've visited.

As for the expense: Well, I can't say I'm surprised. :) I don't think there is anything hypocritical (or even weird) about spending 3x as much on this trip as you did on the wedding, especially since this trip will last 5x as long.


Anonymous said...

no. words. too..jealous..to..speak......

I am totally on board with your priorities... more money on honeymoon than wedding! We're doing the same type of thing- big honeymoon next year- minimoon now.

the un-bride said...

Santorini is so beautiful! I can't wait to hear all about your trip.

Paris tips: Place St. Sulpice, and Place des Voges in the Marais.

Meghan said...

Why on Earth would you feel guilty? Vacation, travel, and quality together time are obviously important to you, and you planned smartly to have it!

Besides, you can handmake a wedding. You can't really handmake a flight or a boat.

Kate F. said...

Don't feel guilty! If you don't think about the cost - you made decisions for your wedding based on your shared values and what you thought would be meaningful. You're planning a vacation along the same lines. Doesn't really matter what it costs if you're happy with the results in the end.

I'm intrigued that the mini-moon to be followed later by full on vacation is catching on. We're planning the same idea.

Meg said...

Sounds excellent! Not hypocritical. It should help you understand those of us who are spending a bit more on the wedding though... spending money to create joy is wise, I think. And joy has different blooms in each garden (thank goodness, right?)

You guys will have a fanastic time. I think trying to make an annual trip is neat. We may follow that goal, at least pre-kids.

Kim said...

I know everyone else has already said this but I love the idea of the trip. It is longer and it is just you and Matt. My priorities are always centered around taking the next trip.So have fun. you deserve it.

mandyrosy said...

That's awesome! We're going to Greece on our honeymoon, too. Great food, beautiful beaches – how could we go wrong?

the Lady said...

Ditto what everyone said! Have fun!

Moxie said...

I was eyeing that exact trip in my GAP Adventures catalog a few weeks ago! I hope you take lots of pictures and share the adventure with your readers! =) You will have a blast!

hester said...

I love this. Budget travel tours. I'm totally keeping Gap Adventures in mind the next time I have a vacation.

Anonymous said...

You will fall in love with the Greek Isles. They are truly breath taking. I long to return to Greece some day. Enjoy your trip!

Christine said...

Oh I've made that hat and it will be PERFECT for Greece! Have fun1

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