Brad and I just celebrated our eleventh wedding anniversary. It seems crazy that we have been married for eleven years since it doesn’t feel like that much time has passed between when we first met and said “I do.” Here we are, eleven years into our marriage, living in the smallest space yet, traveling around the US, and j being grateful and happy that we are doing this. I think I can speak for him as well as myself that if someone told us when we’d first met fifteen years ago, this is what we would be doing, we wouldn’t have believed them.
Since our first wedding anniversary, we have given each other the traditional anniversary gifts. Brad came up with the idea and it’s great. It’s hard enough to be creative and make a gift feel special when you are already giving birthday and Christmas gifts. Add an anniversary gift and the pressure is on! We sometimes get separate gifts but for the most part, we get a together gift. I do have to say, we can be pretty creative with our anniversary gifts. Not that all of them are top notice, but we do a good job with variety. My favorite anniversary gifts are as follows:
Year One: Paper. We bought paper tickets to see Wicked.
Year Five: Wood. We adapted an acre of tropical rainforest (wood=trees).
Year Seven: Copper. We each picked out a handmade copper keychain with our wedding information on it. (Me—a calendar of the month we got married. Brad—the coordinates of our ceremony).
Year Nine: Pottery. We went to a pottery making class.
I am adding year eleven as a favorite, too. We really thought outside the box for this one. We live in a small space and didn’t want to have any more things around the house. Instead, we wanted to create a memory. (I know, cheesy, but true). Year eleven is steel so we went zip-lining.
I had been zip-lining once last summer, but Brad had never been. We found a great deal at Cable Junction Zipline Adventure Park in Sanderson, FL, about three hours from where we are staying. We made a little weekend out of the trip and stayed the night at a hotel in Jacksonville.
The words adventure park should have been a clue of that what we were getting ourselves into. Once we were placed into our group and were all in our harnesses, we headed over to the zip-lines. Each harness had two straps and we had to practice on the ground connecting and disconnecting them. We would have to do that while crossing the bridge at the last obstacle on the line. Don’t worry. There is a safety on the straps so you can one disconnect one strap at a time. Safety first!
That was when I started to get a bit nervous. Zip-lining is fun, but the obstacles seemed a little out of my league. With that in mind, the group urged me to be the leader for the first task—the rock wall. Yikes! I had never climbed a rock wall and that one was high up off the ground. I’m not a fan of heights, but everyone was watching so I had no choice. As you can guess, I did it. Not gracefully or fast (I believe I was the slowest one to climb the wall), but it didn’t matter. I did it! It didn’t seem fair that I had barely cleared the rock wall and Brad was standing next to me. He was the second to go and had climbed the wall quickly. Guys!
The key to zip-lining is this. Once your straps are connected to the line, sit down in the harness like you are sitting in a chair and then just push off. Don’t try to hold yourself up. You’ll fail and get blisters and sore arms by the end. I gave Brad that advice and from the very first line, he loved zip-lining. It is over so quickly that you just want the zip-line to be miles long. And going fast is fun! Let your arms float at your side and fly!
The park had seven zip-lines in all and in between each one was some kind of bridge we had to cross. They weren’t your normal, just-quickly-walk-across-the-bridge, type of bridge but a swinging, hold-onto-for-dear-life, type of bridge. The first one was the hardest and scariest. It was single swinging platforms one after another. If the twelve-year-old and the eighty-year-old in the group could do it, so could the rest of us and we did. One by one, slowly and surely. By the last bridge, we all felt like experts. Even when we had to hook and unhook each strap. Don’t get me wrong, I was still nervous the whole time, but it was good to know that the last bridge was over with.
The best part was the last and longest zip-line because it was a race. Brad won our race, but I was told it was because he weighed more. After that, I was okay with him winning.
The zip-line course was great. The obstacle course part was a bit scary at times but added a fun and challenging element. When we left we were already talking about when we can go back.
At the hotel, we realized how much we are used to living in our RV.
• No foot petal to flush the toilet.
• Not having to wait twenty minutes for the water in the shower to heat up.
• Not having to wait twenty minutes after the first person has finished for the second person to take a shower.
• We could both brush our teeth in the bathroom at the same time.
• We laughed. The hotel room was bigger than our house.
The next day we went for a walk at Ponte Vedra Beach and then headed home. This was one of the best anniversary presents and it was something fun, different, and adventurous to do together. Life is meant to be lived so go out and try something new this week! You will never know if you like something if you don’t give it a try first.
Till next time!