Winding Down Our Time in Auckland



It’s almost surreal to think that our time in Auckland is winding down to a close.  Didn’t we just get moved in?

In a week and a half, we’ll be fully packed into backpacks again and catching a plane to start the next leg of our mobile lifestyle.

Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium

Early this past Saturday morning (while Daddy slept in), Courtney and Milli headed over to Kelly Tartlton’s Antartic Encounter & Underwater World.  I believe this is the third aquarium we’ve been to in our travels, but apparently I missed out big.

Courtney pointed out that this blew away the other aquariums.  First, there is a huge van that makes free trips from the city center out to the aquarium.  The cool part?  It’s shaped like a huge freakin’ shark.  Pretty funny to see actually.

Milligan’s favorite part was the penguin exhibit, which you actually get to board into an enclosed antarctic vehicle and ride through.  The penguins actually come up to the vehicle and peer curiously inside to the delight of all the kids (and grown-ups alike).

Of course, I go to the two crappy aquariums and sleep through the good one!  Just my luck.  🙂

A picnic with Craig & Linda Martin

CraigLindaMartinYesterday, all three of us made the 15-minute bus ride over to Mission Bay on the east side of Auckland.  There we met Craig and Linda Martin for a picnic down by the beach.

Craig and Linda are the brains behind The Indie Travel Podcast, which now features regular audio and video travel podcasts, in addition to a blog and even a magazine.  They are busy folks!

We chatted about personal finance (they sacrificed several years before traveling to pay off their debts), our upcoming travel adventures (they are setting out in February again), and about podcasts, blogging, and the ups and downs of entrepreneurship.

After Craig and Linda had to leave, Courtney and I capped off the afternoon with the best ice cream we’ve had so far on the trip at Movenpick (swedish).

The coolest street performer yet…

One of the fun things about living downtown (I assume this is the same everywhere) is the abundance of random street performing acts.  We walk up and down Queen street here almost everyday which is one of the most popular spots for musicians, mimes, artists, etc…

I’ve only so far given spare change to two performers.  And one was yesterday on the way home.  I only caught the very last part of this performance on video and it’s at a horrible angle to get a clean shot.

Almost all of the acts we’ve seen dozens of times by now (there are only so many), but this was the first time for these guys.  Somehow we’ve missed them up until now!  It was really neat.

[If you can’t see the video of the street performer, click this link to watch it]

Man Vs. Debt Updates

The only major MvD update this week is the announcement of the winner from the Unclutter Your Life in One Week book giveaway.

After tallying 120+ comments, 100+ Facebook and Twitter entries, and another 100+ Militia entries, I threw pulled up which spit out…  23 (out of 343 total).

23 is mapped to comments (they went first) and represents:

Earl who commented “It’s amazing what you find in Twitter.”  Yes, Earl it is.  Congrats!

The week ahead…

I have a busy week planned as I prepare for my first extended time away from the blog later this month.  This week includes working on a slight site redesign (don’t worry not changing too much).

On the agenda before I leave are a tribute to Jim Rohn, a in-depth reflection of our time in Auckland, and a detailed update of our stuff as we hit the road (probably a video of what we are packing, etc…).

Oh and I should be running one more giveaway/interview, which I’m expecting to be just as popular as the last.  Once the details are finalized I’ll let you know!



29 thoughts on “Winding Down Our Time in Auckland”

  1. Not to sound critical (which means I’m about to sound critical), but for all the emphasis you put on travel, and the fact that you’re living abroad, I can’t think of a single thing you’ve posted that was distinctly Kiwi, or even, distinctly not American. Even the things you posted here: the aquarium, picnic at the beach, street performers, they’re not generally the things you travel abroad to see, and you could see very similar things at home in the US.

    Of course, you did pick one of the most similar countries to the US that you could, maybe Thailand will seem more like “we’re experiencing different cultures” and less like “technically, we’re traveling, but you wouldn’t know it if I didn’t mention that we’re in Auckland.”

    I can just think back on the most interesting and eye-opening parts of my travels overseas, and you don’t seem to mention any moments like those. I remember being in Bangalore and having our hosts tell us “oh, you wouldn’t want to walk there at night by yourself.” to which we responded “Why, would you get stabbed or mugged or something?” and our hosts said “oh no, nothing like that, but you might get pick pocketed.” That was an eye opener as to what sort of crime was considered severe in an extremely poverty-ridden part of the world, and how much less severe it was than back home. I remember being able to tell what was built before and after the re-unification of Germany while I was in Munich, and riding the obviously soviet-era subway cars. I remember watching sea turtles hatch on the beaches of Costa Rica.

    Meanwhile, for all your travel emphasis, you’re posting about the X-Men and losing weight. I don’t mean it to be insulting, although like I mentioned at the top, it’s obviously critical, but it just seems that you’re missing out on the part of travel that makes it travel. You seem to just be at home, but in a different city.

    1. Twice above, you refer to “for all the emphasis you put on travel”. What do you mean by that? It’s awkward phrasing, which usually is meant to imply something.

      Of course, as you first criticized and then pointed out where I’ve already discussed the issue, we *haven’t* been doing traditional traveling for the last 5 months. In fact, that was never really the plan from the get go. We had always planned to get employment and be more ‘settled’.

      Actually, things were a little more mobile and ‘Tyler K. travel experience’ based earlier. This may have been before your time here. Our introduction to Couchsurfing, volatility through Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, and into Auckland were more of this tone.

      Since we’ve both been working what amounts to be full-time jobs (especially with Courtney’s being a traditional 9-5), we haven’t been ‘traveling’ as you’ve so tightly defined it. Once again, I’ve pointed this out several times over the past few months.

      This isn’t a travel blog. I love how you’ve picked out X-men and weight loss (each with 1 post total) as examples of what I’ve written on since we’ve been traveling. Also, as you know, Sunday’s are personal updates where I update more regular activities. Notice that if you click on ‘travel’ under the categories my personal updates (which this is one) typically don’t show up.

      We are looking forward to hitting the road once again over the next 2.5-3 months. I can only hope our traveling lives up to a fraction of what yours was. o.O

      1. With your “travel hacking” posts, airfare website round-up guest posts at GRS, your travel-friendly short list of possessions, and the fact that you make it pretty obvious that you’re Americans in Auckland (this isn’t bad, but it is apparent), you just give off a “we’re world travelers” vibe.

        Despite this, you don’t have many “world travel experiences” posts that you’d think would go along with this. I hear a lot about being in Auckland, and planning for Thailand, but not a lot about what’s different or exciting or worth seeing about these places. Even though it’s not specifically a travel blog, you’d think with all those things I mentioned in the first paragraph, there’d be some more travel experience highlighted here.

        I picked examples that I remembered. It doesn’t matter that you only touched each of those topics once, the relevant part is that you could have written them just the same in Ohio (I can’t remember if that’s actually the state you’re from). And by referencing my own past, I’m just trying to explain what travel was like for me. And yes, I think those stories illustrate the best part of travel and I hope you get to (or already have) experienced similar things, but I’m not posting it just to show off or try to look better than you. You’re also entirely free to say “I’ve tried that and I’d rather have the experience that you get living in a place like a normal person for a while.” A viewpoint like that is fine, but I don’t think it should preclude me from mentioning what I liked about my own travel experiences.

        You point out several times that your intentions haven’t been the same as I’ve suggested: “We had always planned to … be more ’settled’”, “we haven’t been ‘traveling’”, “This isn’t a travel blog.” Of course, you’re entitled to that viewpoint. But what I’m curious about then is — why not? Why go to Australia and New Zealand and Thailand to “be settled” and “not travel” and not write about travel? Doesn’t that feel like a bit of a missed opportunity to you?

        1. Tyler – I think it’s about focusing on one’s niche, and that niche is personal finance and not travel. If there is a sprinkle of travel and lessons learned in Baker’s posts, great! If not, that’s fine because his focus is on a man vs. debt,, not a man vs. traveling.

          Feel free to write about your own travels all you want on your blog and market it accordingly.


          .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating =-.

        2. You’re the first person to ever describe me or us as giving off a we’re world travelers vibe. I don’t know whether that’s just your nature or it’s by some genuine fault of my own. It’s hard to tell. The far majority seem to understand (or not willing to tell me) that this is a journey that we are on and we are far from experienced ‘world’ travelers.

          In every case, I make an almost over-extended attempt not to say this is how it should be done. I don’t point out this is how YOU should pack light. Or this is what site YOU should use. That’s simply what we pack (which has drastically changed) and which sites we’ve started to use to try to save money.

          You’re implying I’m giving a world travelers vibe without any experience to back it up, when my approach couldn’t be farther from it. Read the articles over. Nearly every paragraph has language that states we aren’t experts and alludes to our own own evolution and exploration of travel.

          With your logic in the third paragraph, because I am traveling I can no longer write about anything that I could have written in Indiana. This would kind of suck for most of the readers here.

          And I’m not ‘entitled’ to a viewpoint about my intentions. They are our intentions, haha. The ‘viewpoint’ of our intentions is what you call your experience of them, not mine.

          As for a missed opportunity of your definition of travel, I don’t think we ‘missed’ anything. We didn’t have the means up until this point to ‘experience’ the aspects of travel you’ve highlighted for more than just a few months. We *did* want to test out what living would be like overseas, also (again you can read posts from March, April, and May for this info).

          Has this test been as glorious as your travel experience? Not by my definition of glorious, however that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been positive. Also, in order to ‘miss’ an opportunity it must have been within our grasp and means, which as I pointed out could have only been very limited time when we started.

          Looking ahead it appears that our means and ability has morphed a little. Courtney has fulfilled the commitment she made and now we have a chance to be a little bit more mobile and explorish once again (and we have more potential means and ability through my efforts).

          We’ve planned our trip of the South Island since we got here. Waiting and saving up to ‘experience’ it as best as we can.

          I don’t get where you come from on this one. The issue gets back around to these claims of a “world traveler’s vibe”. I’ve mentioned we are looking forward to ‘getting back on the road’ and less settled, and you immediately just point back and are critical of the period we were settled.

          We aren’t on an ultimate adventure to only do that which is rewarding and fun. Getting a visa and working was out of necessity. Being less mobile for a period of time was out of necessity, not because we thought it was a better/worse lifestyle. We just chose to do this in Australia and New Zealand rather than Indiana.

          You asked why would we do that? Why wouldn’t we just stay settled in Indiana? Because settled in New Zealand (or half-settled) is a different experience than settled in Indiana. It’s forced us to test limits, stretch ourselves, try it out, evolve and move on.

          I’ve talked about all this before, multiple times. It’s called life. That’s what this blog is about. Our journey. Our journey to explore traveling, not to live some travel ideal of yours. Our journey to passionately pay off debt and then try to find a balance as we saved for out trip. Our journey to live with just a fraction of what we were already starting to accumulate. Our journey to build a blog, an online income, and a community.

          Not everyone will connect with every single aspect, but it seems there are people who find it compelling and/or useful enough to follow. Very rarely, if ever, have I approached ANY of those aspects above as an authority. That’s especially true of travel I feel.

          1. I’m not trying to say that I think you’re trying to project false authority.

            This is all I’m saying:
            1) When I read your collected writing, these are what I see as the are core tenets of being Adam Baker:
            * Father.
            * Husband.
            * Aspiring/successful beginning writer.
            * Recovering from a debt problem.
            * Semi-expat traveler of the south pacific.

            That is what your writing projects on me — it’s who I see you as. Maybe you over-project the ‘traveler’ part, or maybe I mis-interpret your writing and see more ‘traveler’ than you intend. Either way, it’s still the way I see you. There are lots of in-debt, overweight, aspiring bloggers out there. One of the key things that makes you different from all the rest is you’re living in the south pacific. That is how my mind interprets it anyway, “in the south pacific” is a key identifier for you. If I were to be having a conversation about personal finance bloggers and mentioned “Adam Baker”, and someone were to say “That sounds familiar, which one is he?” I would answer that question with “He’s the guy from the midwest who’s living in New Zealand with his wife and daughter.”

            2) Based on this interpretation that I have, it seems like you’d have more travel stories to tell.

            Apparently my interpretation is wrong, and not only wrong, but offensive. Sorry, I will do my best not to associate you with travel, or New Zealand and the south pacific. You’re just a regular guy from Indiana.

          2. First,

            I’m strongly thinking about adding:

            * Father.
            * Husband.
            * Aspiring/successful beginning writer.
            * Recovering from a debt problem.
            * Semi-expat traveler of the south pacific.

            To my about page ;-). Actually, it sounds like a twitter profile, but that’s an aside.

            Obviously, I think there are some valid points to what you are saying Tyler (hence the back and forth). However, there’s just a big difference between:

            “I’m disappointed there’s not more rich travel posts about your cultural experiences. Do you feel like you’ve missed out on some opportunities or unintentionally wasted some of your time/effort while there?”


            “You’d think with all those things I mentioned in the first paragraph [examples of giving of a world travelers vibe], there’d be some more travel experience highlighted here.”

            Either way, I’ll be using these comments to enrich the upcoming post about whether or experience has been ‘worth’ it to us either later this week or early next week.

          3. Tyler, your suggestions for more “travel type” posts are good and I would second that. But why did you have to put it in the form of criticism? Baker has already done some good travel posts and given that they are both working (and have a small child) I don’t think it is reasonable to expect them to come up with cool travel posts on a regular basis.

            Longer trips (stays?) are a different animal than the usual 1,2 or 3 week vacation where you are seeing some neat tourist/native type stuff every day.

    2. Ouch! Critical, but I guess we can see your points. From what my friends tell me, NZ is known for its scenery and lamb, and of course now LOTR. So I guess culturally, the difference may not be that great from the US, especially since English is their main language as well.

      I expect a complete culture shock for Baker and family once they move to Thailand. I wonder whether they’ll be able to bear the heat, the language issue since only a minority speak English well, in addition to the population and chaos relative to NZ.

      The most interesting statistic I heard is that despite our cultural diversity in America, only 20% of Americans can actually speak a 2nd language well! Yikes! I think it’ll be a great goal of Baker can come away from Thailand speaking good conversational Thai.

      My over / under on the Baker family living in Thailand before moving is 12 months. Whatcha think everybody?


      .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating =-.

    3. As a Canadian who has been living in New Zealand for thirteen months now (four of which in Auckland), it’s funny to me that Tyler described picnics, aquariums, street performers as distinctly “American”. I would think the fact that these things happen here with such regularity is a sign that our culture is NOT tied to one nation, that English-speaking nations have far more in common than not. The great English diaspora has resulted in the same culture flourishing in many lands, each one adding their own accent to keep things interesting.

      Yes, life here in Godzone is VERY similar to life in North American cities, but there are enough differences (volcanoes in beach photos as above, palm trees on the main street, 25C temperature at Christmas, the over-abundance of mince and cheese pies) to make you very much aware that you aren’t at home.
      .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Happy! =-.

  2. Wow, that is such a cool video of the street performer! Nice!

    I’m excited to hear and see through fotos and video about your travels to Thailand. You meeting up with Sean 180 there?

    The political situation has died down tremendously in Bangkok btw, so you guys shouldn’t encounter any problems.

    You can get real 1 hour long massage in Thailand for $5 bucks! Just don’t venture over to any shady bath houses! haha. Enjoy it over there, eat plenty of fruit (Mongustesn) and relax!


    .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating =-.

    1. Haha, yeah, we’ll be meeting Sean amongst other 4 or 5 others. It seems like a bunch of random people will be there.

      Interesting to see if/how we can tap into some of the truly valuable (cost wise) stuff in Thailand and avoid the ‘tourist’-markup. Should be fun times.

      1. I think you guys will have a RIOT, especially since there are 4-5 of you guys out there. If you guys explore things together your memories will be priceless! Just take lots of pics and share them with us 🙂

        Prices are going to be so cheap, you may never want to leave. Seriously, if you can make a healthy US income from your site while living in Thailand, you could probably live like a King!
        .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Use The Sandwich Method To Provide Constructive Criticism =-.

    1. @Financial Samurai

      Good stuff, haha


      I am not going to lie, Tyler. Every time I see you comment it comes across as cynical and snobbish. There have been multiple blogs where I have read through the back and forth comments you have with the writers and your true point never comes across until the end. While I generally enjoy reading the comments (and well written criticism), you singlehandedly have killed that joy on many past blogs. Even though you always initially mention you are going to sound critical (and you do), it *always* comes across as overcritical. I truly wonder what you consider excessively critical.


      I think you clearly portray your blog intentions. I enjoy reading your blog (and have actually defected from daily GRS reading to daily MvD reading). While I do enjoy reading about traveling, I also enjoy reading about personal finance (see: Man vs. Debt). Personally, I would not mind more traveling posts, but I feel (part in due to the ‘settled’ nature of your current NZ stay) you strike a good mix of post types. I foresee an increased number of travel posts since you will be “traveling” by definition.

      Either way, I will continue to religiously read MvD. Keep up the good work!

      1. Jacob – You know more than me, as I haven’t read many of Tyler’s comments. Perhaps Tyler just has a salty demeanor that’s in his nature? After all, he does live near the beach (get it?).

        I’ve noticed that those who really criticize others either have their own insecurities, or jealousy that knaws at them until they explode. It’s human nature to criticize others if they have their own failings.

        It’s like wealth. If you are poor, you criticize your surroundings and everything else that conspires against you. You don’t realize maybe you’ve slacked off in school, aren’t willing to put in 80 hours a week, read, learn, or whatever.

        Who really knows about the human condition. I’ve got one regular reader on my site who just said “I pretty much disagree with all you write”, yet he is a nice guy and continuously provides his opinions.

        Maybe Baker pisses some people off in a way I have no idea about. I’m a reader and will remain so until Baker starts being a big time prick! 🙂
        .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating =-.

        1. While I disagree with Tyler’s approach at times and he has a tendency to imply certain things I dislike, he’s not a total negative influence on the blog. We’ve chatted in e-mail, extensively on Twitter, and of course through a multitude of comments.

          While he’s nearly always critical, I’d wager that the majority of the time he brings up good points. Sometimes I think he misses the mark completely (today for me) and there are posts where he clearly points out where he thinks I flubbed up (o.k. so maybe most posts).

          Point being this. I’m not a radical supporter of free speech in these comments. If I thought Tyler was just being an ass to be an ass, I would have deleted his comments and blocked him a long time ago. 🙂

          Most of the time, I enjoy the discussion with Tyler and I think it does add perspective for a certain slice of readers. Admittedly, today wasn’t one of them, but that doesn’t change my perspective on everything overall.

          Of course, I love Jacob’s recent insights and Sam’s active and consistent involvement, as well. I love everybody! 😉

          1. I just feel that people really don’t realize how difficult it is to create a blog with regular articles AND with traffic until they try.

            Hence, I cringe when a fellow publisher gets overly criticized because I think to myself, “if you don’t like what’s being written, go write your own post with your own commentary and see if anybody reads it and cares!”

            Soldier on Baker!


            .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Why The World Forgives Rich And Famous People For Cheating =-.

        2. I’ve read Tyler’s comments on this blog and GRS and I have to say that he is my favorite commenter on the entire internet – bar none. Like it or not (and I don’t always like it) – he tells it the way he wants to tell it and isn’t afraid to step on toes now and again.

          F Samurai – “salty demeaner”? Haha.

          It’s human nature to criticize others if they have their own failings.

          This is garbage. Are you saying that if someone is doing something wrong then you can only point it out to them if you have failings of your own?
          .-= Four Pillars´s last blog ..Buying Co-Ops =-.

          1. I’ve never met a perfect person, have you? So yes, I do believe the more one is dissatisfied with their own lives, the more someone will tend to criticize others for their own wrong doings to make themselves feel better.

            I don’t understand the point of calling out Baker publicly. He’s done nothing wrong. Their banter is more a reflection of what’s going with Tyler, more than anything else.

            In fact, maybe Tyler should read my “Sandwich Method” most on providing constructive criticism! Dang, I’m such a helpful blogger. 🙂

            “It’s human nature to criticize others if they have their own failings.”

            This is garbage. Are you saying that if someone is doing something wrong then you can only point it out to them if you have failings of your own?”
            .-= Financial Samurai´s last blog ..Use The Sandwich Method To Provide Constructive Criticism =-.

  3. Wow…travels are up? Time sure does go by fast. Thanks for posting the video on the puppet. Even more importantly, think of all that your daughter will one day have to look forward to. A real life journal of the Bakers’ Adventures!

  4. Kelly Tarlton’s is great. Aside from the penguins (when are most of us ever going to get that close to an emperor penguin?) I also liked antarctic exhibits and the huge sea turtles and rays. While we were in Auckland we went to the Maritime Museum (my choice), Auckland Museum (mutual choice), and Kelly Tarlton’s (mom’s choice). All were fantastic. I enjoyed the Auckland Museum a lot more than Te Papa in Wellington.

  5. We had an emperor penguin on the beach near Welliington. All the way from Antarctic and that’s not normal behaviour. Poor chap must haev wondered where the hell he was. Got overheated after a few days and was eating sand to cool down – presumably thinking it was snow. So they took it to the zoo and flushed the sand out today. Operating tomorrow. We’re all hoping he pulls through though what we do with him now is a mystery as no travel to Antarctic at this time of the year.

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