There have been some truly awesome marriage proposals this year, and then some not so awesome ones.
There was that adorable proposal on The Ellen DeGeneres Show a few weeks ago, and then there was the guy who rented a crane that crashed through someone’s roof (true story). While elaborate proposals are great when they work out, if they don’t, it can turn into a massive disaster. When Brett Arnold decided to propose to his girlfriend of eight years with a worldwide scavenger hunt, he no doubt knew there was a high chance for failure. However, despite a few hiccups, it couldn’t have turned out better.
Brett Arnold, 30, and his now fiancée, Amy Linville, 28, are huge travel buffs. They’ve spent their eight years together going on numerous adventures, exploring many parts of the world. So when Arnold decided to propose to Linville, he knew it had to involve travel in a major way.
Well, it doesn’t get more major than a worldwide scavenger hunt, that’s for sure. According to Linville, this epic scavenger hunt was not the first of their intrepid relationship. Arnold actually put a local one together as a precursor to this international one. When she graduated from University of Colorado Denver, Arnold surprised her with one he set up around their Colorado neighborhood.
Linville told Buzzfeed, “My final clue on that day was to hike to the top of a mountain in our neighborhood; it happened to be a snowstorm with white-out conditions — perfect.” What’s more romantic than wind-driven snow whipping at your face as you push yourself up a mountaintop? Not much, except perhaps the message she found once she reached the summit:
“When I reached the top, there was a bag with a clue inside that said, ‘Pack your shit. You leave at 7 a.m.,'” she told Buzzfeed. Love poetry for the modern age.
She got back home from her excursion to find her travel backpack all packed and ready to go, along with a one-way ticket to Tokyo, a Japan Rail Pass and a map to a friend’s place there, where it looked like she’d be staying.
Linville, being a type A (believe me, I empathize with you, girl), started to freak out about all her obligations on the home front. How could she just take off work? And it’s Christmas time — what about all the parties she was supposed to attend? Well, lucky for her, Arnold had taken her worries into consideration and informed everyone — her boss, friends and family — months ago that she’d be taking this little holiday on her own.
With some of her trepidation relieved, Linville set out on her preplanned adventure, alone. First stop was their friend Mike’s apartment in Roppongi, Tokyo, where she found the second clue on his fridge.
The clue read, “Your friend Kassie Humphreys has your next clue. She will land in Tokyo on the 19th and I believe is staying in town so coordinate with her. While you wait use the unlimited 7-day rail pass to see the countryside and head up to Jigokudani snow monkey park.”
If I didn’t think organized travel was so hot, I’d have taken serious issue with his commanding message, but hey, it was all part of the plan, right? The Japan leg of the trip lasted seven days and involved snow monkeys, a Santa pub crawl with new German friends, a childhood friend Linville hadn’t seen in years and her first earthquake. She could not wait to see what else Arnold had in store for her.
Then came the first little bump in the road. The next leg of Linville’s trip was in Barcelona, Spain, but the clue she was supposed to grab from Casa Bar Pepe was a little challenging to get. As it was the Christmas holiday, the bar turned out to be closed that entire week. However, Brett problem-solved like a pro.
“Brett was a little upset about this one; he had overnighted the clue to the bar owner, and the bar owner said he would definitely be open,” Linville said. In the end, he had to email her the clue, which, while not exactly the plan, still led her to the designated next spot on her itinerary, San Sebastian.
And this part did not disappoint. “Brett put me up in the most beautiful hotel I have ever seen: Hotel Mercure Monte, Igueldo.” Her next clue came to her room at 3 p.m. on Christmas Day. She was instructed to hike the peninsula across the bay from the hotel and find this view in this picture:
While she was loving the scavenger hunt, she was a bit sad to be by herself on Christmas. “I knew Brett was back home celebrating with family; he had been texting me and FaceTiming me so I thought there was no way he would be joining me.” Clever, Arnold. Very clever.
One more slight hiccup — when Linville hiked the peninsula, she found several different views that looked identical to the picture in the clue. This part’s like something out of a movie: “It was raining, cold and starting to get dark. I was scouring park benches, looking for my next clue, and thought I should turn back and try again the next day, when I ran into a Spanish man who knew the spot where the photo was taken,” she told Buzzfeed.
When she finally found the right overlook, she suddenly realized she was not alone. Arnold was hiking right beside her! “I was completely shocked,” she said. “He had really thrown me off that day! I asked him if there was still a clue or if he was my clue… He said, ‘Actually, I have it right here…'”
Best. Clue. Ever. Arnold proposed with a ring he designed himself using diamonds his mother gave him, and went to the jeweler’s 10 times to make sure it turned out right. Linville told SheKnows, “When he asked me what kind of ring I wanted years ago, I said, ‘Something no one else has.’ He hit the nail on the head!”
But the trip did not end there. Arnold rented a car and took Linville to Portugal to celebrate their engagement. While she loved traveling solo, I’m sure Linville was thrilled to finally have her mate by her side. Arnold even had a final surprise for her at the Madrid airport — their close friends, Nick and Whitney Largura, flew in to celebrate New Year’s Eve with the newly engaged couple in Pamplona! Congratulations, dude. You’ve officially set the proposal bar for 2015.
Needless to say, the trip was expensive, but Linville expressed to SheKnows that these travel experiences were worth so much more than a big wedding. And knowing this pair, it’s just the beginning of a lifetime of exciting worldwide adventures together.