I had said words like these many times before: “I want out this country, I may love American citizens, I may love America’s beautiful scenery, I may love America’s four seasons and I may even love America’s baseball and apple pies, but I want out!”
This time, my wise wife, in all her radiant beauty and charm just smiled and said, “Well, honey, then let’s move. I can be ready tomorrow. Why don’t you look on eBay?”
That one simple statement was all the encouragement I needed to leave the country I had called home my entire life. That night I did get on eBay and typed in such phrases as “foreign real estate”, “international property”, etc. It wasn’t until I typed in “New Zealand” on eBay’s real estate search that I saw a property that would change my life forever!
Amazingly enough, the property that caught my eye wasn’t in New Zealand at all, it was in Tonga! I saw the beautiful island pictures and began reading the listing out loud to my wife. After finishing the last word I turned to my wife, who was smiling one of those strange smiles, and said, “Why are you smiling like that”. She replied, “Tonga sounds perfect. Let’s move there.” I rolled my eyes and said, “No way. I am not moving to Africa or wherever this place is. I just wanted to know what you thought.” She replied, “I don’t think it’s in Africa honey, maybe it’s in Europe or Asia. Why don’t you research it?” and so that is exactly what this author did.
Much to my amazement, I found out that Tonga was not in Africa at all, nor was it in Europe or Asia, but it was located in the beautiful South Pacific. I read everything I could find online about Tonga and when I saw the following articles from the Tongan Constitution, I knew we were all about to leave our beloved America for a new love, Tonga!
No person shall succeed to the Crown of Tonga who has been found guilty of a felony or who is insane or imbecile. (Constitution of Tonga, 1975, Declaration of Rights, No. 35)
After living under a government that I felt to be bordering on “insane” due to some of its most recent decisions, it was a relief that such would not happen in Tonga.
It shall be lawful for all people to speak, write and print their opinions and no law shall ever be enacted to restrict this liberty. (Constitution of Tonga, 1975, Declaration of Rights, No. 7a)
After some of my own friends and colleagues had been denied their “freedom of speech” in some very curious ways in the United States, this declaration was a breath of fresh air as well.
There shall be but one law in Tonga for Chiefs and commoners for Europeans and Tongans. No laws shall be enacted for one class and not for another class but the law shall be the same for all people of this land. (Constitution of Tonga, 1975, Declaration of Rights, No. 4)
This article really eased my mind as I wasn’t sure what to expect from a monarchy, having lived under a democracy for my entire life. Needless to say when I read this, I was very relieved.
So, after doing a couple nights worth of research on Tonga, I told my wife, “We’re moving to Tonga, babe,” and her simple response was, “Great, let’s go." So, after selling our Ozarks home and having a huge auction for all of our other items, we were off to the South Pacific without a care in the world!
Excerpted and adapted from the ebook "Retiring, Working and Doing Business in Tonga" by Trevor Jefferson.