5 Tips For Celebrating Your Anniversary—Dirtbag Style

After basically missing the last several anniversaries by winding up in separate locations, my husband and I decided to make time to celebrate. But with busy work schedules, we needed to improvise. Here’s how we turned what could have been another blasé holiday milestone into something special for us both.

Figure out what’s important to you

For my husband, Ben, and me, it’s more important to spend quality time than spend money or give gifts. Since we both crave outdoor exercise in order to be good to ourselves and one another, we wanted to be intentional about spending quality time together amidst pursuing outdoor objectives.

Stretch your anniversary into an “anniversaweek”

Don’t have time to take a big vacation? Take a couple weekends in a row under the guise of your anniversary. That’s what we did to extend the loving feeling and the specialness of the occasion.

Our anniversary conveniently fell in the middle of the week, so we used the weekend prior and the weekend following as opportunities to celebrate by doing something memorable.

Don’t be afraid to invite another special person into your anniversaweek

No, I’m not talking about what you may be thinking. We don’t, ahem, swing that way.

What I mean is Ben’s work schedule is a bit tighter than mine, and for our first weekend of our anniversaweek, we wanted to climb Glacier Peak in the North Cascades. However, at 30 miles round trip, it can be quite a haul for a standard 2-day weekend. And Ben can pound out the miles much faster than I can.

So to give me more time to enjoy the wilderness area at a more leisurely pace, I approached into our base camp a day earlier with one of my best friends, Shelia. This allowed us ample time to stop and forage on blueberries on the way, mess around with marmots, and take alpine naps to regain energy for the summit day ahead.

When Ben arrived at camp, we already had everything set up and food ready, which allowed for more quality time together, including a wonderful star-lit reading by Ben of Timothy Egon’s “The Good Rain.


Shake it up a little

Part of any good anniversary to me is reflecting on fond memories together while creating new ones. And one way to create a lasting memory is by trying something new. So for our second half of our anniversaweek, the following weekend, we ventured out of the mountains and headed to sea level, trying our hand at bike touring around the San Juan Islands.

A couple nice things about bike touring islands are:

  1. Once you get there, it’s practically free.
  2. It’s great exercise, especially when biking hilly oceanside roads!
  3. You can stop whenever you want to relax, play tourist or just enjoy each other’s company.

We chose to bike around San Juan Island one day and the less hilly Lopez Island the next. This strategy works well for people new to touring as the second day is easier than the first.

Don't be afriad to build a trip onto something else

We also chose to bike around San Juan Island is because Ben was the best man and emcee for a wedding of a couple of dear friends on San Juan at the start of our weekend. The generous bride and groom put us up in a lovely guesthouse with them and the family, making it ideal to bike around the island and return to a home base for some much needed R&R without worrying about breaking the budget. Another side benefit to bike touring is you can set and revise your route to choose how early to end your day—giving plenty of time at the end of the day for, you guessed it, quality time!

Perhaps the loveliest part of being on San Juan Island, however, was witnessing our friends marry. Call me a sucker, but every time I hear a couple madly in love deliver to each other honest vows, it reminds me of the things I treasure so deeply about my own partner. It renews my own sense of commitment to our union, a shared life of adventure and laughter.