How to Hitchhike the South Pacific with Ben Owen

He left the UK with about $1,000.

To this day he is still living out his dream.

He’s got a blueprint for sailing the world.

It doesn’t cost much at all.

Please welcome the great sailor, Ben Owen.

“8:00 a.m. is the Sailors Midnight.” – Ben Owen (Tweet It)

Travel Topics:

  • How Ben moved to New Zealand with $1K
  • An expert description of the Bay of Islands, New Zealand
  • How Avatar was inspired by the beauty you see there
  • How to sail the world inexpensively
  • Tips for finding the best boat and crew out of The Bay of Islands
  • Best practices to follow before setting sail with someone new
  • Essentials of sailing from New Zealand to Fiji
  • The importance of having an idea on maintaining boats
  • Financial safety nets for sailing the world on the cheap
  • Lifestyle notes for life at sea
  • Navigating immigration problems on the high sea
  • Why to Bring Science, Math and History Textbooks to the Solomon Islands
  • Sailing into New Guinea
  • Exploring Darwin, Australia with Crocodiles
  • Shout out to Lisa and Erik from Tasmania
  • Crazy fishing stories from Northern Australia
  • The value of traveling with a First Aid kit
  • How to catch fish while you sleep
  • What troubles to expect with immigration when sailing into Bali
  • The whole trip was $4,000 including flights
  • How to Hitchhike the South Pacific

Lovely Links:

  • Want to go on the boat trip we discuss at the beginning of the show? Check out The Rock
  • Want to Go Where Ben Did? (In order of Discussion)

Pihia | Opua | Fiji | Vanuatu | Luganville | Santa Cruz Islands |

| Honiara | New Guinea | Darwin | Bali | Queenstown |

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Segment Credits:

Music Credit:

Take Action:

Do you ever dream of sailing the world?

Do you think you’d be willing to take on an adventure like the one Ben did?

Colin Wright: Muggings, Minimalism and the Exile Lifestyle

Image Property of Colin Wright

This handsome devil moves to a new country every year.

His readers decide where he will go next.

After 4 year on the road, he’s started a publishing company.

We talk about muggings, baliwood and making money.

So plug in those ear buds, hit play and get outside for a beautiful walk.

Colin Wright is on the show. Tell the WORLD!

“I want to have the things that make me truly happy, but nothing more.” – Colin Wright  (Tweet It)

Travel Topics:

  • Despite co-founding a publishing company in Montana, he spends part of his time in Iceland of all places
  • How Colin’s Exile Lifestyle works
  • How he developed the plan for this lifestyle despite having a blank passport and having never left the USA
  • Living in Argentina for four months as his first expedition
  • The unexpected similarity of Romanian and Argentine Spanish
  • On Romanian cost of living, hospitality and internet speed
  • What his financial situation was like before leaving the USA
  • How the tragic state of New Zealand’s internet shattered his business, yet helped him refocus his aspirations on publishing
  • Why publishing is the best vehicle to realize your ideal lifestyle
  • Useful tips on avoiding victimization in impoverished countries
  • Colin’s (surprisingly) heroic story of punching a guy to avoid getting mugged
  • The risks of getting mugged in Christchurch, New Zealand
  • How New Zealand is one of the safest, easiest countries to travel in the world
  • MINIMALISM | from 8 computers and a walk in closet to carry on luggage
  • The value of traveling light
  • Humanism… We’re all human first and everything on top is icing
  • How the fear of the other doesn’t matter as much as the media and politicians make it out to be
  • Why understanding humanism can be a helpful tool on your journey
  • How to enjoy communication despite having neither language or culture in common
  • On the value of sustainability in consumption, economy and travel
  • On being bullied out of the rainforest by howler monkeys
  • A hilarious tale of playing the Cowboy in a Bollywood movie
  • How travel has effected his entrepreneurial work
  • The value of diversifying income streams
  • About his publishing company/start-up incubator he co-founded
  • The philosophical frame work that Colin has build in Act Accordingly
  • That travel is valuable and the sooner you take advantage of it the better

“The most important thing is that you have what you need, as opposed to owning stuff that is excessive.” – Colin Wright (Tweet It)

Lovely Links:

Exile Lifestyle | ColinIsMy.Name | Asymmetrical PressTwitter

Music Credits:

Take Action:

Did this episode have an effect on you? What are you doing next?

Feel to leave a comment below or share this with your friends.

2 – Preparing for a Journey – Waiheke Island to Auckland: Car Ferry

This post is a continuation from the pervious post

No Rest For the Wicked

Upon arrival around noon, I learned that our travels were to commence immediately. Despite having landed on a 13 hour flight from San Francisco to Auckland, immediately boarding an half hour long bus and then a hour long ferry, followed by a hitch hiking adventure across a never before seen island to a remote hippie beach refuge, I was now helping my fellow travelers pack up and prepare the vehicle for the next leg of our journey.

The Backwoods Kiwi Shack

With the van packed, we left the beach for a back woods jungle shack to drop off some of her things and pick up her six year old daughter. The shack was built upon itself as if each new morning the builder awoke with a new direction to take the building. There was a collage of strange things hanging from tree branches and adorning the ground; children’s toys, plastic bags, pots for plants and rusty tools.

After an exchange of things and meek goodbyes, we drove away taking the six year old girl from her father. She cried as we drove through the winding green hills and picturesque wineries. We drove through Oneroa and Surfdale to the car ferry at Kennedy point.

By the time we drove onto the car ferry, the daughter had stopped crying and become distracted with the excitement of boarding the boat. Before we knew it, we were driving into Auckland with no-where to stay.

An Introduction to Camper Van Lifestyle

We drove back into Auckland and stopped for the New Zealand national dish, fish and chips. We took the newspaper wrapped brick of deep fried potatoes and fish to a park near the AucklandZoo. We watched the sun set there while the daughter played at the playground and we ate. We could hear the roar of the gorillas and the lions beyond the fence, but it was too high to sneak a peak. As night was falling, we would need to find a place to rest.

This was to be my first experience with sleeping in a camper van as a means of accommodation. Tough I didn’t know it then, this experience would be repeated many times in the year to come.

Sleeping in a camper-van in a big city like Auckland is at first very intimidating. We felt a premonition that we would awake to the sound of a tapping police flashlight on the window of the van. Because of this nervousness, we drove around for about an hour looking for a place that was sufficiently off the beaten track.

At some point, we parked between an old aviation museum and a jungled area. We put the seats down and laid the double bed out. After brushing my teeth, I fell asleep to the sounds of the roaring New Zealand jungle.

1 – Landing in Auckland – Airport to Waiheke Island

Monday Did Not Exist

After landing in Auckland international, I sat down. It was supposed to be Monday, but it was Tuesday. Flying west over the international date line deletes a solid calendar day off your life. Do you lose the day? Are you just saving it for later? What happens if you continue around the world? Do you get a little younger than the stationary people?

Take the Bus to Auckland City

I took the bus system into the city to avoid what I would expect to be a large taxi bill. If you’re on a budget, this is the way to go. The bus will actually take you right down to the Quay (pronounced “Key”) which just happens to be a short walk to where the ferries can take you to all the islands in the Auckland Harbor. Ferries are part of what makes New Zealand so awesome. Even if you’re staying in Auckland, I reccomend taking a ferry somewhere. I was set to visit Waiheke Island to meet with a stranger I had met on the internet while researching a very strange lifestyle festival called the Rainbow Gathering.

Love Affair Travel Strikes Early

This was it! From the airport and onto a boat cruising through the harbor as the sun was rising. I love boats and seeing the lay of the harbor from a tremendous high speed boat plowing through the bay while introducing me to New Zealand.

It’s difficult to describe how elated I feel at these times. There is something about being wrapped in wonderment for how beautiful the world is while you race across a strange water-way to a place and group of people that you’ve never been to or people you’ve never met. The Love Affair with travel stems from moments of enthralling wonderment like these.

Auckland and Waiheke in Summer

When Christmas times strikes New Zealand, it’s the middle of summer. They have a tree called the Pohutakawa which blooms these amazing red flowers for the holiday season. The red is striking across the deep green of every surface. New Zealand is, “green as.”

Sweet As

Thats a New Zealand (and Australian) thing. They say things are, “mean as,” “fast as,” or “sweet as.” Essentially, it’s a simile that doesn’t require completion. This might make you upset when you land there, but two weeks into your trip, you’re going to be saying it naturally and loving each moment of it.

How to Hustle Free Rides While Traveling

While on the ferry, I struck up conversation with a good looking middle aged couple. We discussed our plans for the trip. They had to go prepare for their wedding, I explained that all I had for a destination was a beach on the island.

“You don’t have an address?” The soon to be bride asked.

No, I explained. All I had was the beach that the person I was to meet lived at. Oh, and I’ve never met them before. I had a phone number, but no phone and the beach didn’t have a pay phone because, well it’s out in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand.

They agreed to take me and my small bags in their rental car. It was one of the most beautiful drives of my life.

Find the Place, Take Your Time

They dropped me off on the beach. I ended up stashing my big bag and kept my precious small bag on a hike around what I would describe as a small seaside village. I met strangers who explained they didn’t know the girl I was looking for. Everyone was suprisingly welcoming. One couple at a yoga retreat building offered to put me up for the night If I didn’t find them.

The exotic smells, the crashing of the waves and the invigorating climb up hills to knock on doors of people I’ve never met before was fantastic. I loved every moment of it.

Finding My People

After much deliberation, I found the place, and my new travel mates. She was a lovely woman with a beautiful young daughter. I spent the afternoon with them, preparing the van for a long trip. The next day we were to drive from Wiheke Island (take a car ferry back to Auckland) to Wellington and take a ferry across the Cook Straight and be at a strange music festival the next morning.

What a bizarre situation…

Best of all, it’s only the beginning. This was the dying days of 2009. This marks the beginning of a long journey across the southern hemisphere. Perhaps the best and most challenging of my life.

If You Find Yourself on Waiheke Island…

…and you’ve got coin; for the best meal, location and wine of your life, go to Te Whau. It’s a work of art.

Thank you very much for reading. If you have something to say or a question about anything above, please leave a comment below or contact me.

The story continues here…

The French Market in Auckland, New Zealand

Weekend Fun in Parnell

The best farmers market in Auckland can be found on the weekends in Parnell. Here you will find the highest quality boutique goods in the area while enjoying a beautiful morning in one of the best neighborhoods in Auckland.

Parnell is a upper class luxury area to enjoy. Obviously I was a bit out of place, but after the market it’s a short walk to Parnell Road where you can find beautiful shops and cafes. You can explore the interesting architecture and the brick side streets.

If you’re on a visit to Auckland and are looking for souvenirs to bring back for your friends and family, this is where you will find the best stuff. There are really great local farmers with neat little specialty goods. Most of the stuff is hand made with neat little hand crafted labels. Ideal stuff to bring home with you!

La Cigale – Parnell

This market has a fantastic assortment of goods that scream high class. From fine breads to wines to beautiful knives. It’s a fantastic place to explore and find gifts for your friends.

How To Get There

Website: La Cigale

Address: 69 St George’s Bay Rd  –  Parnell – Auckland

Phone: (64-9)366 9361

Shop Hours:

  • Monday –9:00am to 5.00pm
  • Tuesday –9:am – 5.00pm
  • Wednesday – 9:00am – Late
  • Wednesday Mini Market – 12 midday – 5.00pm
  • Thursday – 9:00am – Late
  • Friday – 9:00am – Late
  • Saturday – 8:00am – 3:00pm

French Style Farmers Market Hours

  • Saturday – 8:00am – 1:00pm
  • Sunday – 9:00am – 2:00pm

Snow Planet – Auckland (North Shore), New Zealand

Indoor Snow Sports in a the Northland (No Snow)

When people think of New Zealand they think snow. The truth is, the North Land doesn’t have lots of snow. Actually, the Northland of New Zealand has no snow, except in the SnowPlanet warehouse.

The Lads and the Yank At Snow Planet

A Strange Feeling – Ski Lodge in the Subtropics

It was a strange feeling going from the subtropical cool feel of Northern New Zealand into the old freezing snow weather that I was once accustomed to. The feeling of being at a ski area is un-forgettable and it is bizarre to be transported to this place immediately after a weekend of swimming in the Bay of Islands.

We approached the place wearing short sleeved shirts and jandals (for those of you who don’t know, jandals are what kiwis call flip flops.) Inside the warehouse they have a perfectly picturesque ski lodge with a gas fire and a hearty bar. They even have ski food like burgers and chips (fries for the Yanks out there.) Its a perfectly legitimate ski area lodge. The biggest difference is that the snow is also inside and you can look directly out onto the whole hill from your seat at the bar.


I grew up in Tahoe so skiing is second nature. This place is just a measly hill.

When I got here I was expecting this but because I had been traveling in warm places for the last three years; I have to admit: It was fun. I actually had a blast.

Though the place is just a hill; if you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, this is an excellent place to get the knack of it. Everyone here is either a beginner, or they shouldn’t be there. It’s really fun to breath the cold air and get that freedom of falling on soft snow.

Snow Quality

The snow quality is nice. In Tahoe we describe it as “spring corn.” It’s great stuff to learn on. You can set an edge in it, roast your friends with it and when you fall it doesn’t hurt at all. Really fun quality snow, but not the best for snowballs.


I took advantage of this bad boy:

They have three of these things just chilling in the locker room. Feel free to grab it. This badboy made my day. Check out the action shots on the video above.

Bottom Line

Look if you’re an expert snow rider, don’t go here. Get a bus ride to Queenstown. If you’re looking for a day of fun in the snow while your bored in Auckland; this place is perfect.

You can find out directions and buy tickets at the Snowplanet website.

Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Domain

The Auckland Museum is packed full of good stuff. Obviously there is a huge, beautiful Marae (pronounced: Moorai) and lots of engaging Maori artifacts.

The bottom floor is dedicated to the people of the pacific (those indigenous to Hawaii, Easter Island and New Zealand.)

The second floor is dedicated to the natural history of the area (oceans, costal areas geological history, biology.) There are some really fun things on this floor like live lizard/bug exhibits, interactive microscope displays and lots of taxidermy. There is also a exhibit for the New Zealand Maori team which has a great video teaching about the huge importance of Ruby in New Zealand.

The third floor is dedicated to New Zealand wars. There are heaps of interesting videos explaining past conflicts and displaying weaponry. You can learn about New Zealand’s participation in the Boer War, imperial war inside New Zealand, WWI, WWII and others. there are beautiful memorials of WWII and armory displays from the old days.

Bottom line, this museum has something for everyone. There are heaps of things to see and do there so set aside a few hours. The place is so packed with interesting exhibits and artifacts that one can easily become overwhelmed with all the information.

If you do get overwhelmed, just go for a stroll. There are beautiful nature walks throughout the domain. It’s very pleasant to just meander around and enjoyed a pause from the hustle of the city.

Make sure to visit the winter garden. There they grow some amazing plants on display in a beautiful old brick and glass building. It’s the most relaxing place I’ve visited in Auckland and I sincerely recommend it.

Budget tip:

Before you go to the Museum, go to the library with a printout of letterhead that says you live in Auckland. You could use a credit card statement or anything really. Just photoshop an Auckland address into the address bar. This takes about 10 minutes of your time and you can get an Auckland library card. With a library card you can rent books, but more importantly, you can visit the Museum for free.

Thanks very much for reading and please share your stories in a comment below or click the facebook like button.

New Zealand Humor: Speed Cooking

It’s All About Speed

I came across this video while in New Zealand. If I’m honest, I still crack up to this day. This think it never grows old.

If you ever forget how to view this video, you can just go to

Enjoy my friends.

Rotorua, New Zealand: Skyline Luge

The Rotorua Luge is mean. We had an awesome time with the family. I used the GoPro to slap this video together:

Honestly, I had my doubts about doing this. It seemed a bit overly family friendly for my radical roots, but I was wrong. The high speed corners led to adrenaline filled skids and I almost rolled a few times. One of our party did roll.

“Rotorua Luge vs. Queenstown Luge” No real competition, the Rotorua Luge is better. I heard this straight from the mouths of a few Kiwi fellows who have visited both Luge locations more times than they could count. Word is, the Rotorua Luge is better quality, longer and faster than it’s counterpart in Queenstown.

We really had a great time. It’s a lot like a short day at the ski area, but not quite so cold!

Thanks for reading!

Auckland, New Zeland: Elevation Cafe, Dazzling View and Great Food

The best view of Auckland isn’t from SkyCity, it’s from the balcony at Elevation.

The balcony looks out over the Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland, Auckland City and all of the surrounding harbors. It is absolutely stunning!

It’s far enough out of the city to hear the sounds of native birds and enjoy the lush native bush yet close enough to return to town before the sun goes down. The vastness of the view from the patio seating is difficult to describe.

Now here is an insiders tip. Make a day trip out of it and go for a hike before enjoying a late lunch. Before you visit elevation, first go on a bush walk just down the hill from Elevation. Park your car at the end of Quinns Road and hike to the right past the fence that says “Authorized Personnel Only.” It’s on your right at the end of Quinns Road.

It’s a lovely native bush hike that winds around to the cell phone towers for the Auckland area. Enjoy a tramp through a well established council trail that leads to epic views through lush forests. It’s a real simple hike so all you need is a pair of walking shoes. When you start to get hungry, turn around and go back to your car. I don’t know how far the road goes. If you find out, please comment about it below.

Best of all, you will be the only one out there. You won’t find this hike in any guide books.

After your hike, go enjoy a wicked good feed at Elevation. There address is: 473 Scenic Drive, Waiatarua, Auckland. They do amazing pizzas, pastas and they even do Thai food!

Honestly, this is a fantastic way to spend a day just outside of Auckland.

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