The Story

Joe in the red coat at the Union Sq tree in San Francisco 1998

In December 1998, I was 19 years old and decided to take a trip to San Francisco, California as I had never been there. That was an adventure in itself which I hope to write about throughout this blog, as well as my time living here in New Zealand.

The reason I started this blog: I met this guy at the Union Square Hostel and we became great (totally platonic) friends. His name was Joe and he was only a few years older than me, if I remember correctly. That's part of the problem, however... my memory from that time is a bit foggy and I don't recall too many details.

What I do remember is Joe said he was from New Zealand. We had become friends in the week we spent exploring San Francisco. Unfortunately, the contact information we did exchange (email) is now outdated and I've no clue how to find him.

I think his last name is Wellington and I think I even teased him, "So you're Joe Wellington from Wellington?"

Joe in red coat with me in SF 1998. If you know anyone
in these pictures please contact me!

On my last day in San Francisco he gave me a book, The Bone People, by Keri Hulme. His inscription reads:

"To Lissa, I hope you can understand this book, because in many ways it can help you to understand me and my country. Thanks for some fun times in a fun place, and we shall meet again be it in Minnesota or New Zealand. Love, Joe."

Well, it turns out a few months later he decided to come to Minnesota to visit. It was a different set up: I was living in my own studio apartment and working. I may have scared him off at my indifference to his visit and my busy working schedule. I had a serious boyfriend while in San Francisco who met Joe when he came to Minnesota. The situation may have intimidated him. But he did get to meet friends of mine and my family, too. He stayed a few days and that was the last I ever heard from him.

After telling my friend this story, she said in all seriousness, "Oh, you've gotta blog about this." Thanks, Trish, for helping me get started. You can read more about her adventures at

Now, I am living in Wellington, New Zealand with my husband and son...

And I am determined to find Joe Wellington.