a month or two previously the topic had come up as a few of us sat on stools by the outdoor bar built into his backyard.
"seriously stephen?" i asked. "new zealand is the next place i want to travel to as well. it's been on the top of my list for four years."
"really?" he replied with interest. "i haven't really ever traveled, and i just hear so many things i would like about that country so i want to go, for like a couple week trip or something."
"same," i said. "i've been saying i am going to plan it for over a year now, but i told myself a few months ago that in 2008 i would plan it or go for sure, maybe this winter while it's warm down there."
i really don't think there was much more said about it than that. maybe a casual joke thrown out by him a week or two later, something like "new zealand! let's do it!" between bottles of red stripe.
then one october sunday, a year ago, i was having a leisurely shopping day with some girlfriends. i think i was in the forever 21 dressing room when i got the text message.
"let's go to new zealand together. how about february, it will be their summer. let's make it happen." - stephen.
i read it and laughed in surprise. i got quiet and stared down at my phone. i just knew that he meant it. i knew that february would be great timing. i also realized that i'd been putting off booking the trip since i didn't know what that kind of adventure looked like as solo traveler, and i was hesitant to find out.
this was it. i got a flash of adrenaline and nervousness as i stood there with discarded dresses all around in the stall. i was going to go to new zealand. i had a friend to go with. not a close friend, but a friend who was fun and laidback and would follow-through. this is how it's supposed to happen. i'm going to new zealand, finally.
three weeks later we bought our plane tickets. three months after that, we were staring out the window of our bus as it rolled down the main streets in auckland after an early morning flight arrival, and we shared ipod earphones as stephen played band of horses to go along with our first views of the country we'd been dreaming about.