I’ll just state the obvious here; Logan and I got married young. Very young when compared to the liberal, white, college educated majority where we are from. We were engaged at 21 and got married at 22. That may not be too crazy in other parts of the country, and is certainly not strange in many parts of the world, but among our peers we are definitely an anomaly.
We are not super religious (which is the most common assumption), we did not get married for financial reasons, and I was not expecting a baby. We got married because we were (and still are) in love. After spending years and years as classmates, friends, and in a relationship it just felt like our next step. Lucky us for finding a partner so early in life!
We had a semi-non-traditional wedding. I looked like a traditional bride, but Noodles and Company catered, I walked down the aisle to The Beach Boys, we had our friends and family perform the ceremony, and our flowers were DIY. It was a perfect day.
For years we had been talking about taking a three-ish week backpacking trip to Europe the summer after we graduated from college. I had actually been thinking about a European backpacking trip since Rory and Lorelei’s adventure back in 2003 (Gilmore Girls is the best show ever BTW). But then I entered a teaching program and Logan picked up a second major, which pushed our graduation date back six months, meaning a winter graduation instead of a spring one. And then we decided to get married. Life happens.
Logan has always planned to go to graduate school and our December graduation date meant that we would have an awkward 8 months to wait before he would start his program. Our original plan was to live in our college town and work until the summertime and then take our Europe backpacking trip (and Honeymoon!). The more I planned the more excited I got. The more travel blogs I read the more I learned about saving for travel and making your money last on the road. What started as a 3 week trip turned into a 4-week trip and then a 6-week trip.
We have always been careful with our finances, but as we simultaneously planned our big trip and our wedding we stripped down our budget to its barest bones. We stopped eating out almost completely, I began only drinking boxed wine (dedication, baby!), and we even moved into a new place with a roommate. The more we saved the bigger our trip got and the less likely getting short-term jobs became. What started as a three-week vacation blossomed into a four-month adventure.
I became completely obsessed with travel planning, and with the momentum of creating this super Honeymoon rolling forward at full speed we began to play around with the idea of going somewhere cheap (and warm) instead of waiting around in the cold Colorado winter for our Europe trip to start. By giving up our apartment, cell phones and even our car insurance weeks after gradation we were able to save enough money to add nine weeks in Central America to our Epic Honeymoon.
Along with scrimping and penny pinching we had asked our wedding guests to forgo gifts and add to our honeymoon fund instead (if they were so inclined) and we were overwhelmed with how generous everyone was. I had been really careful with the spending on the wedding itself, and I had a few savings bonds I had not needed for college, so after two years of saving our bank account was looking pretty fat and happy.
My plan for our Epic Honeymoon took us through 20 countries over seven months. BEST. HONEYMOON. EVER.
We knew we would be broke when we got back, but being 23 and broke is not really that big of a deal, right? Plus, this trip was so much more important to us than money and in the end it altered our entire worldview. And that was priceless.
Where we went:
Central America- Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica
Europe- Italy, Croatia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Slovenia, Austria, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain, Morocco, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, United Kingdom