Living in Vanuatu - Pros and Cons
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Jul 16, 2013 10:44 PM Last Post By: H2ooh
Aug 5, 2010 3:52 AM
15KlausB, I did not refer to you as either naive or stupid. I was merely pointing out the facts about Vanuatu. For your informaton, many of the regulars on this branch have lived for extended periods in the Pacific. I, for instance, lived in Solomon Islands, the neighbouring country to Vanuatu, for 5 years, and I have many ni-Vanuatu friends.
Aug 5, 2010 11:20 AM
16Please listen to what the others are saying and visit Vanuatu first, for an extended period, before making a decision. Like Ozziegiraffe, my home away from home is Solomon Islands, however living there permanently is not an ideal option for me (health-wise), apart from the fact that it would be difficult obtaining an immigration visa in the first place. Vanuatu certainly is lovely but there are always downsides to jumping into another cultural environment, no matter where. I've met ex-pats living permanently in Solomons who absolutely love the place as I do, and others who packed up and left without even giving it a good try because they just couldn't adapt. The latter are the ones who hadn't checked it out properly before making the move.
The same holds true for Tonga; I met several expats in Tonga, married to Tongans, who were finding life there becoming more and more difficult the longer they stayed (culture clashes), and a few who owned businesses there who were packing it in and leaving due to frustration with local laws, etc.
But good luck on wherever it is you choose to settle. As well, if you are planning on doing any business out there you have to deal with a completely different head set ... things do not work as we expect them to.
Aug 7, 2010 2:29 AM
17Yes, KlausB you are naive. On top of that you are a time waster and a dreamer. You show that you do not want to make your own life decisions and so impose upon the kindness and generosity of total strangers in order to assist yourself and waste their time. Pathetic !
Vanuatu is more different from Germany than you can comprehend. Outside Port Vila it is an extremely poor country with almost zero of the facilities that you are used to. If you buy a farm far from Vila you will have NO electricity (and so no fan when it is hot), bitumen road, doctor, dentist, gas, supermarket, stove, lights, landline telephone, radio (on some islands), newspaper, chemist, internet (unless you pay for satellite), television, refrigeration. You might have to walk 15 minutes through ankle deep mud just to get to the bus stop. What will you do if a gang of boys armed with machetes appears in your yard at midnight stealing your washing off the line ? This is not my imagination run wild, for there is a reason that all those white people's fences in Vanuatu are topped with razor wire. What will you do if a strange pus filled sore appears on you leg and won't go away ? What will you do if a native family sets up camp on your land and claims traditional title ?
If you want a country that is cheap and where you might enjoy a little simpatico go check out Montenegro.
Otherwise select a country - any country - and go live there for 3 months. After that, make up your own mind. Advice on personal life choices is not what this forum is all about.
Aug 7, 2010 11:27 AM
18I didn't think you wanted to move to Japan- just that you want to leave Germany as opposed to go to a particular place. that is the difference- you want to be someplace else. but whatever- hope you find someplace that will give you whatever you are looking for. I have nothing against emmigration- just that most of the successes I have seen have been to someplace, not from someplace.
Aug 8, 2010 12:49 AM
I understand what you want to say and I agree...yes, I wanted to move to Japan and I enjoyed my time there, learnt and remembered a lot of useful lessons for my personal life...but now I felt that my time there is over and it is time for the next move...so, I am never running away from somewhere, I am always consciously choosing what I would like to do next.
Thank you for your detailed comment on what might expect an expatriate in Vanuatu! I was asking about the pros and cons of living in Tonga. This is a travellers forum and that is why I can imagine that a lot of us here ARE interested in the living conditions of countries where they havent been before. And not everybody can visit every country they are interested in so easily. So, if anybody wants my impressions about visiting North Korea, feel free to ask :)
Aug 8, 2010 1:44 AM
Aug 9, 2010 4:16 AM
Sep 4, 2010 3:46 AM
22I have nothing to contribute to this present discussion except the knowledge of Vanuatu being the Happiest Country in the World as was announced in 2007. The big question is Happiest Country in the eyes of whom ?
For those people who live there or for those who judge it according to international objective indices ?
It is not very easy to answer this question, KlausB. Nor do we have any background of your life.
What are your means? Are you capable of establishing a sustainable business of your own ? What about standards of life in an under-developed country?
Anyway, I am going to Vanuatu for 3 weeks. Hope that I can shed some light .
Sometimes I also dream of getting away from my place too. Life is pressed and success in business is the center of all. I do not like this very much. But reality always knocks my head . It seems that all I can do is just continue dreaming. That is in my case though.
And let's not eduacte KluasB ! He wastes no time for anyone !
Sep 4, 2010 12:41 PM
Oct 17, 2010 4:52 AM
24I only spent a few months in Vanuatu about 6 years ago so the state of things might have changed dramatically. It certainly must have done if the previous posts are anything to go by...But for what its worth, here are my impressions of the place:
Pros: Vanuatu is astoundingly beautiful, everything that you might visualise from the South Pacific. I have very fond memories of watching the sun set over the Pacific with dolphins in the bay and flying foxes erupting from the jungle.
It's a massively varied country; each island has its own feel.
The people are warm and friendly and have managed to preserve their culture. It was the people I met, more than anything, that made my trip to Vanuatu so memorable. It sounds like a horrible cliché but in this case it really is true.
Most people speak English or French but Bislama is so easy to learn, so its easy to integrate into a community.
Kava bars. Simply the best way of socialising I've ever come across.
Cons: When I was there problems with crime were on the rise, especially in Port Vila. I never felt threatened or had anything stolen but it felt like something that could become a real problem in the near future. Especially when alcohol is involved.
Travel is hard, beyond the main islands. Flights are expensive, ships are irregular and most island have very few roads and even fewer trucks. Malakula had a really good road system with trucks running a sort of bus service. Santo and Efate also have buses but on most other islands you have to depend on hitching or walking.
Life is hard, there is no doubt about that. Most of the villagers on the outer islands live a subsistence farming lifestyle. As people have said previously there are none of the amenities we have in the west. There's no electricity so you get used to using kerosene lamps, no fridge so you eat what little meat you get straight away, no running water so you have a long drop toilet and you wash in the river, you drink rain water, you learn how to protect your food from rats and ants and cockroaches. It can get wearing and disheartening and exhausting. (Having said that, you just get on with it, its part of tropical living)
I said in the pros that the people are friendly. That can also be a con. You will always stand out as an outsider and that can get highly frustrating. While the intentions are friendly, having people call out your name in the street on a day when you feel like hiding can get irritating. Kids looking through your window at night, even more so.
Medical help is always a worry and you need to have a fully stocked first aid kit.
All supplies to the outer islands come by ship. If, for some reason, a ship runs late or doesn't turn up then basic supplies like toilet paper, soap, sugar, tinned food all start to run out.
I didn't have to deal much with local Kastom, tribal law, but I've heard that it can be highly frustrating to deal with, particularly for westerners who expect things done quickly.
Vanuatu feels very, very remote. I guess that is a pro and a con!
Wow, it seems like I've written far more cons than pros. It really is worth being aware that Vanuatu is not paradise. It is frustrating and there were times when I wanted to leave my placement early. But those feeling passed very quickly and none of the long list of cons ever outweighed the list of pros.
(p.s In my opinion, fear breeds fear - maybe if expats weren't so desperate to paint the locals as thieving vandals and to tell each other they need razor wire as protection there wouldn't be so much of it around...)
Nov 4, 2010 8:19 PM
Jul 15, 2013 3:20 AM
26I just stumbled upon this thread and was very surprised (and yes I know my comments are a few years to late). Although I understand that some of you are trying to bring to light (what does not seem lit) some very real issues, is it really constructive to attack anyone? He (Klaus B) was just asking for information and yes over time some (negative) was given (which he did ask for as well) but as a human race living on the planet that we all share why did it have to be attack on him to receive that information? Don't forget we as people are all different and in that respect all learn in different ways as well even if it is from the school of hard knocks!
He (KlausB) will in time make (or not) a decision that "HE" along will have to live and or deal with, so just let him live it as he sees it with out the hostility.
Dreams happen because you follow them (good and or bad) not because you don't!
Jul 16, 2013 10:44 PM
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