I was about 20-years-old, sitting on my floral bedspread with an envelope and $20 in my hand. I had written myself a letter, which I tucked into the envelope with the $20, and put the whole thing in my nightstand. The letter carefully explained to my soon-to-be-older self that I was saving to go to New Zealand before I turned 30.
I saved a lot. I upgraded to a savings account and CDs when they were still worth something. I kept saving, kept stressing about how I'd pull it off, reverting to not caring, still saving.
It's been nearly 14 years since I sat on the bedspread, and my life has changed significantly. Somewhere along the line, I took a deep breath and decided I didn't want to ever be in debt again after reading a Dave Ramsey book, and laid the whole New Zealand fund down on my car--trading my old dream for financial freedom, and the promise I'd make it up to myself. I also fell in love with photography, Banff, and a guy named Nathan. It didn't seem such an urgent need anymore, so instead of going to New Zealand by myself in the fall of 2010, I planned an Oregon Coast wedding and then a honeymoon to our "local New Zealand", Banff National Park. With Nathan, in a car, with no jet-lag.
You must understand, I have never felt slighted. I discovered amazing landscapes that didn't require the long journey, and wanted to share them with my loved ones instead of flying to the other side of the world by myself. I also believe in myself and the universe enough to know that I would get to it. I just didn't know when.
Well, apparently, "when" is December.
There's been a running joke between my Australian friend, Mike, and I: one day, maybe I'll photograph his daughter's wedding. It's been a funny way for two people who met on Flickr years ago and have kept touch through social media to make a stab at, "Hey, one day we'll meet!"
It stopped being funny when it really happened. Darling miss Kate got engaged this summer, and with a gentle suggestion from her dad to talk to me (no pressure, good job dad!), things progressed swimmingly and I'm going to spend New Years Eve photographing in Melbourne. I can't even begin to express my excitement at the prospect of celebrating the new year in Australia with two fantastic people and their families. Followed by a day of outdoor bridal portraits around Melbourne.
And, y'know, might as well stop in New Zealand on my way.
Might as well.
I'll just glance over the parts where I danced around my office, danced around my bedroom, high-fived my husband, woke up in the middle of the night multiple times freaking out about logistics and being away that long, made the extremely difficult mutual decision to not take Nathan with me (the short notice, our other plans, the cost, etc.), spent hours on Google Maps and Kayak and Google Flights and travel blogs, discovered I need things like visas and international drivers licenses, created the Spreadsheet Of Doom which helped me decide whether it was a good idea to go both financially and schedule-wise, daydreamed endlessly of all the beautiful things I'll see, discovered that New Zealand and Australia drive on the other side of the road, started planning a day of bridal portraits after the wedding in Australia, felt overwhelming thankfulness to the universe for dangling this carrot in front of my nose, and cheered/sighed/cried with general relief that I am brave enough to bite that carrot despite it being Barely Practical.
I am grateful. I am excited. I am terrified. I cannot wait for December when I climb into a right-hand-drive car and roadtrip through the wilds of paradise, then photograph a beautiful wedding on the other side of the world.
^^ My planned mad adventure through New Zealand.