After living here 6 months, I feel well equipped to jump in with my opinion :-).
There’s a little bit of bad in the best of things, and a little bit of good in the worst of things.
So here’s some food for thought from my perspective. If you’re moving here to “run away” from the hustle and bustle of stateside living; try to run some where not so busy in the U.S. first. See how you like it. Some state that everywhere has crime, the homeless, trash, etc. but you also often times have more choices; more room to move, more things to do, more jobs to choose from, etc.
Remember, this island is only 28 miles long and 7-9 miles wide, so when you’re looking to get away or move away from the crime, trash, homeless, vagrants, boredom or whatever – there is only so far that you can go. And, whether you move to a location where these things are not, you still have to drive through it or walk through it to get where you want to go. There is utterly no way of escaping it.
True, it’s no more or less expensive to live here than anywhere else (on the average), but we seem to get a lot less for our money – things break down more easily here with bad roads, salt in the air, rust, mold, hurricane insurance, etc. – the money doesn’t go as far, especially when you consider the salaries here are so much lower.
If you have any medical problems and are thinking of moving here, please establish a report with a doctor before coming. It is FACT that the medical facilities and availability are not as abundant or, well…as good here as in the states.
Be true to yourself when thinking of moving to a tropical island – or a big city for that matter. Ask yourself, what am I really looking for?
And why did we come here? We wanted to do more with watersports, boating, beaching, island hopping, etc. (which is a really good reason to move to an island). We wanted an adventure and an experience; good or bad. We wanted to learn about different cultures; thinking people in the states were not cultural enough. (oops – wrong!) We picked USVI because of the “US” part. It was like taking a big adventure with the US blanket of “security,” and yet, we made a mistake. We make the best of it. We both have jobs – good ones, but we also came here with the mindset that we wouldn’t make money, we’d just have fun for 2 years and then move on. We also (God willing nothing changes) have the means to return to the U.S. when we’re ready!
Yes, we are getting adventure and experience! I think the mistake we made was having too many expectations about the TYPE of adventures and experiences.
For example, I have found things cost a little more than I thought they would. Sure we did our homework, but you can only do so much homework. So, I figured island hopping would be easy and cheap. Wrong! Easy, pretty much. Cheap, not so much. So we’ll just do a little less than we expected. I also thought I’d be sailing all the live-long day. Wrong! On St. Croix it isn’t easy to find boats for rent…now in St. Thomas, it’s much easier. I didn’t think about the trash, rust, mold, salt, etc… Who would, right? Just little stuff like that. Oh, and I wish the fruit and vegetables at the grocery were better! 😉
I guess I also have more culture shock than I ever expected (or thought possible for me). But one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had is learning to deal with it. Knowing I have to make some changes in me, not in the world around me. I’ve also learned that nothing is forever. I could die tomorrow, so I better live in the moment and appreciate what this island does offer. I’m not always this accepting, but my culture shock is slowly approaching another, possibly better, stage.
Thanks for indulging me.