What to Take, What to Store and What to Ship.

We had a plan and we thought it was a good one. With the help of a friend with some land in Houston, we decided to buy a 20 foot shipping container, store our belongings in it and when we decided on a place to live, ship it to Colombia so we could have everything we own in South America.

Used shipping containers cost about 1500 dollars. Out friend offered to hold it on his land for free. Shipping a container was around 2000 dollars. All we needed was to pack everything we owned up and have movers move everything to the container on our friend’s property. Apparently, it is not as easy as that.

I did a little research on that it takes to ship a container overseas, what paperwork was required and the cost of the actual shipping. First thing I learned is the shipping container needs a certification that says it is able to be used as a shipping container. It has to be checked in order to make sure that there are now leaks. It also has to be certified to be able to be lifted. Loading the container is another issue. Everything has to be properly loaded  so that weight distribution is even and the container will not tip during the sail. Inside, everything has to be wrapped or stored in water resistant boxes. A manifest has to be made with everything in the container listed. And then the container can be shipped. We found a company to do everything. They would load the container, make the manifest, store the container until we were ready for it to be shipped, then ship the container to Colombia, and store it again until we were ready to receive and unload it. We decided to get an estimate to see the approximate cost and whether it was even worth the trouble. The estimate came back at around 10,000 dollars.

Our plan B is now to take two bags each along with out carry on. Once we get settled in Medellin and find a place to live, we will either buy furnished, or rent a place already furnished. I will be back and forth to the US from November 2017 until the end of 2018 for work. Coming in every 2-4 weeks and I’ll bring back things during that time. Anything else we need we can buy in Colombia.

Colombia is cheap, but a few things are expensive there; clothes, electronics, cars and books are expensive. We plan on using public transportation and everything else can be bought in America and will be brought down by me during a work trip.


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