When Jack Hyer lip-synched the lyrics to “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” by The Proclaimers for his girlfriend, Becca Strellnauer in a video marriage proposal, he was not exaggerating.
Hyer, 21, literally did walk miles and miles around the globe over the span of the couple’s four-year relationship to make a one-of-a-kind proposal video for the woman he says he knew he would marry on their first date.
“I didn’t want to tell it to her face and scare her off,” Hyer told ABC News of how he felt after their first date, which involved a pedi-cab, music and a fancy meal.
“That’s when I decided to make the video because I knew I wanted to travel,” Hyer said of his plan to film himself proclaiming his love for Strellnauer around the world.
Hyer and Strellnauer, 22, are both from Whitefish, Montana, and dated briefly as teens – a relationship that Hyer says ended in “middle school drama” – but did not begin a serious relationship until their freshman year at the University of Montana in Missoula.
A short time later, while Hyer, who is now pursuing his MBA, was waiting for a flight to London, he came up with the idea to use the song from the Scottish-born Proclaimers about a man willing to, literally, travel for his woman, for his own video.
“I have this travel journal where I write down what I’m doing,” Hyer said. “I heard that song and the lyrics and I wrote down in the journal where I wanted to go and what lyrics would go along with each place.”
Hyer relied on travel companions ranging from his sister and a close friend to complete strangers to film him singing the song’s lyrics in places like Vietnam, Africa, Israel, China, Paris and Hong Kong.
When he was ready to propose to Strellnauer this month, Hyer spent two eight-hour days editing all of the footage together.
“Sometimes I didn’t have electricity to power my iPod to listen to the lyrics while I sang so I just had to sing it on my own,” Hyer said. “I had to cut it and clip it and sometimes slow it down and sometimes speed it up in order to have the lyrics match.”
All of Hyer’s creativity and hard work paid off on May 17 when he debuted the video to Strellnauer and a group of family and friends gathered at a local Missoula restaurant for a graduation celebration.
Once the video ended, Hyer showed Strellnauer the page in his journal where he had written that he would marry her one day and then got down on one knee to formally propose.
“She was shocked,” Hyer said of his now-fiance, who, of course, said yes.
“As I said when I proposed to her, the greatest adventure in my life is her and now I want to travel with her as opposed to alone,” Hyer said.
The couple plans to stay in Missoula while Hyer finishes graduate school and Strellnauer begins her teaching career and then eventually move to San Francisco.
Though they plan to keep the wedding local so family and friends can attend, you can bet they will travel far for their honeymoon.
“We’ll definitely have a destination honeymoon to somewhere exotic,” Hyer said. “We’ve got our passports ready.”