Malo e lelei!
Good afternoon, all – today we will be getting a little more in depth as of the plans that Darien and I have regarding our move to The Kingdom of Tonga. These plans will span between a few posts, and will include: Saving for the trip, gathering materials, shipping, flying, arrival, first few weeks, construction, finalization, and planning for future projects/business schemes. Let’s get started –
B E F O R E T H E T R I P
As much as we dislike the effects of corporations on our societies, we have both taken full-time jobs with Amazon doing warehouse work. It’s $13.50/hour, 5 days a week for 12 hours – night shift. This is the same job that helped me get the money I needed to go to Los Angeles within two weeks of working there, with little prior savings. Darien and I feel that this sacrifice and setting aside of time to work will give us benefits to make our future plans follow through a bit more smooth/efficient. I admit that we honestly dislike the very concept of money, and are displeased to have to sacrifice so much time and energy to earn it, but it is what will get us to Tonga without too much trouble.
Hopefully, after the beginning of the year, we will still have our jobs (peak periods are temporary positions that require rehire from Amazon once peak is over). If we work until May-June, we will each have enough money to pay for our plane tickets, visas, shipping, land, building, and a good amount left over to invest into other small businesses in the area. Combined, we will be able to help our loved buy plane tickets to move here as well. BUT, that all depends if we can stay full-time and work up until we leave. We are prepared to move, no matter how little or much money we have.
After finishing the job, quitting, and having the funds ready for the move, we will be taking a road trip back to LA with our friend from Chicago (we met while in LA). There, we will reconnect with family and friends, buy all materials needed to be shipped, and will finalize/prepare the container being shipped. At this time, we will gather all records needed from us to be able to get residency in Tonga, as well as complete any necessary paperwork and send it for approval to the Visa/Immigration office in Vava’u. We are aware of a few different ways to get residency, and will further discuss it with those we’ve been Emailing from Vava’u. After reading the blog ( My Move to Tonga) of another couple moving to Tonga from North America (Canada), I am deciding on whether or not I could buy our plane tickets now or wait until we have our residency finalized. She had bought hers and waited too late to do her paperwork, and thus had to push back her flight. In Tonga, they are not urgent in the slightest when it comes to tasks. There’s no rush, or ‘priority material’; it gets done when it gets done. Discovering this, we will begin our paperwork about 3 months before our estimated departure. We have found flights from LAX to Vava’u, with a connection flight in Fiji for $921; hopefully that price doesn’t inflate!
I have been chatting with a Real Estate agent that also assisted the blogger I mentioned above. She stated that he was extremely helpful and was able to help them go from planning to making the trip to getting their land! There have been land scams in the past that have sort of jinx’d the online postings of land in Tonga, so a lot of the people I’ve emailed with have warned about such matters. I am still moderately hesitant, mostly due to the fact that scamming is a daily thing in America, and almost everyone has been in one way or anymore (mostly through Identity theft or big credit card corporations making money off random account charges). I will not 100% settle on a piece of land until I have seen it with my own eyes and can pay in cash to the owner him/herself. Charlett (the blogger) had paid for hers online, and did not experience any kind of corruption/scam/miscommunication with the Real Estate agent, but you can’t be too careful. Eventually, she moved to Vava’u and is currently building. She was staying in an apartment in Neiafu until it was finished, but she proved that her land (and the neighborhood) existed with pictures and construction updates. She has since returned to Canada to work for a few months to raise some extra money and wait-out the rainy season. We will be camping on our property while we build our home ourselves – but we will be very open to anyone who would like to help (and pay them with a gourmet meal).
Once we are in LA and have started the paperwork, it’ll time to find out shipper, a container, and materials. As of right now, I am inquiring with a few locals to see what building materials and tools are available in Tonga, and which we should purchase here in the States. If I had to guess, they probably have nails and hammers, as well as the Earth bags, clay and sand, and a natural concrete mix. We will mostly likely have to buy out cordless power tools here and include them with the shipment, as well as the plexiglass for the windows, gardening tools, bed sheets and comforters, clothes, and misc. decor items. Most of the items we own will be sold before we move, to contribute towards a lighter shipping load. International shipping to Vava’u (Port Refuge in Neiafu) is approximately $3,500, give or take weight additions/subtractions and import taxes. Sigh, “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this”.
As far as our two cats are concerned, we have researched multiple airline guidelines regarding pets; most airlines have a thermo-controlled cargo room specifically for life freight (animals). Some even offer to be able to use your pet crate as your carry on! I have to look more in to specifics on price and exceptions, just to know which option would be best. I am aware of the required quarantine, but heard that a good sob story will shorten the stay that the animals have to comply with.
Once everything discussed in this post has been approved/bought/settled – we will fly out of LAX in route for the Crown Jewel of the South Pacific
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