The Best Marriage Proposal Ever: A Worldwide Scavenger Hunt Ends with a Diamond

Life is a series of adventures — especially for avid travelers Brett Arnold and Amy Linville. The couple have lived in Fiji and Australia and traversed the world together, so it only made sense that they should get engaged that way, too. That’s exactly why Arnold created the best proposal ever: a multicountry scavenger hunt for girlfriend and travel partner in crime, Linville.

The journey began in their Colorado neighborhood on Dec. 13, a day after Linville, 28, received her master’s degree from the University of Colorado. The hunt, Arnold said, would lead to Linville’s graduation present.


The happily engaged couple at the end of their journey (Photo: Amy Linville)

A day of local adventures following some clues led to a hike up a nearby mountain in their neighborhood, where Linville got her fifth clue: At the top of the mountain was a note that said, “Pack your s***. You leave at 7 a.m.”

Linville didn’t know it yet, but she was heading abroad. “I had no idea I would actually be leaving the neighborhood!” she says.

When she and Arnold returned home from the hike, waiting for her were her travel backpack, a one-way ticket to Tokyo, and a Japan Rail Pass.

First international stop: Tokyo, Japan. (Photo: Amy Linville)

She had 13 hours to prepare. Though Linville knew that Arnold would meet her eventually, for this part of the trip she’d be flying solo. “He wouldn’t tell me how long I was going to be gone for,” she says. “I didn’t really believe him. Even when I was sitting in the airport the next morning, I kept saying, ‘This is not happening. I have so much stuff to do!’”

Little did Linville know, one of those things was to get engaged.

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Linville used her rail pass to travel Japan for a week, doing cool things like playing with snow monkeys in Jigokudani Monkey Park in the Nagano prefecture and fighting some robots in Tokyo’s famed Robot Restaurant, before her next clue led her to Barcelona, with a two-day stopover in Qatar.


And she’s on to Barcelona! (Photo: Amy Linville)

But Linville ran into a small snafu in Barcelona.

“I got to the bar [where her next clue was], and they promised Brett they’d be open, but they were closed for the Christmas week. So Brett emailed me the next clue, which told me I’d be headed to San Sebastian, Spain.”

Read More: #RealTravel: I Met My Fiance on Study Abroad in Spain

Linville hopped on a plane to San Sebastian, where her boyfriend put her up in the beautiful Hotel Mercure Monte Igueldo, promising that another clue would be delivered on Christmas Day at 3 p.m. Right on time, the concierge delivered the next clue (while Linville was enjoying a nice bubble bath!): a photo of Arnold smiling widely with instructions for her to hike a nearby peninsula to search for the particular lookout in the photo.


Arnold poses in the lookout that Linville needed to find. (Photo: Amy Linville)

“I was taking my sweet time because it was cold and rainy, and I was going to wait and go the next day,” she says, “but the concierge urged me to go.”

And so Linville went in search of what turned out to be a hard-to-find lookout, given that there were four identical spots. She almost threw in the towel, until a nice local helped her to find the right one — just in the nick of time. “Brett had been waiting there for four hours and was just about to give up and go back to the hotel when I got there!” says Linville.

Linville, who says she wasn’t yet processing what was happening, then asked her boyfriend where the next clue was. He pulled a ring out of his pocket.

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“He said, ‘If you are willing to go this far, then maybe you are willing to go a little bit farther,’” she says.

They celebrated with bottles of champagne, hiked back down to the hotel, and continued on to Spain and Portugal together, rounding out the 23-day trip.


Victory is theirs! (Photo: Amy Linville)

Why these particular countries?

“I hadn’t been to these places before, but Brett has, and I have always been trying to playing catch-up with him in our world travels,” she says.

The couple will get married on a yacht on Oct. 24 of this year in Fort Lauderdale.

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Check out our original adventure travel series “A Broad Abroad.”