Erin Framel Recounts Her Breathtaking Engagement at the Sahara

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David Cowden and Erin Framel
David Cowden and Erin Framel

“I collapsed into the sand trying to catch my breath and turned to find David on one knee. Everything about the day had been new and exciting and terrifying and this final surprise caught me so off guard that I barely knew how to react.”

– Erin Framel, Owner, Fort Lewis Lodge

Travel engages us in new experiences. But for Erin Framel and her boyfriend David, a trip to the Sahara Desert also meant taking their relationship to the next level. Their engagement wasn’t likely to happen given the odds of their trip, but her tale proves that love finds ways when both parties strive to love one another.

Taking a Travel Risk

One of their journeys took them from the Moroccan countryside before arriving at the Sahara Desert. This part of the trip was no easy feat. “Struggling with bad maps and even worse service, we finally found the meeting spot,” Erin shares. They even had to muddle through broken English and risked leaving their bags behind to complete strangers. “It was too late to turn back,” she describes after she and her boyfriend exchanged panicked looks before heading to the desert on an hour-long trek.

That first risk was worth the shot. “We were both in awe of the desert’s quiet beauty but also anxious about the journey ahead.” Eventually, they arrived at their campsite yet the excitement of their trip was just about to start. “David pointed to the highest dune nearby and playfully suggested we climb to the top of it.”

On Bended Knee

The two were able to hike up and down the massive dune, despite the difficulty of the terrain and the level of the chosen dune. They made it to the peak, exhausted but satisfied. Yet Erin’s surprise was just about begin. “ I collapsed into the sand trying to catch my breath and turned to find David on one knee. Everything about the day had been new and exciting and terrifying and this final surprise caught me so off guard that I barely knew how to react,” she shares.

Erin Framel
Erin Framel

They talked about getting engaged in the past but she would never imagined David would carry a diamond ring to the Sahara Desert. “Laughing out loud with astonishment, the only answer I could muster was “yes.” I realized he had a few more surprises in store when we were quickly swept away for an exhilarating dune buggy ride followed by a candlelit dinner under the stars,” she adds.

The proposal was only the beginning of the many memories she and her husband would make as a couple. “This trip was our first time in Africa and our first time doing real adventure together, but we made it through all of the frustrations and missteps with love and laughter. It was the perfect start to our marriage.” They are so glad that David strived to do what was uncomfortable to make this proposal a truly one of a kind. 

The Power Couple

Erin Framel and David Cowden run the Fort Lewis Lodge, a family-owned country inn nestled in the breathtaking mountains of Virginia. The two left their careers in photo production and finance to manage and grow David’s family business… and they’re loving it!

How are you striving? Pre-order Strive today to start your journey to a life of fulfillment and joy, one that holds the possibility of discovering your fullest potential.