A little advice to ...
 

A little advice to consider before dropping everything and moving to the islands  

 

mtdoramike
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August 26, 2013 11:27 pm  

People who are looking for adventure, running away from life or just looking for a change get caught up in the romance of living on a tropical island. This isn't a bad thing, everyone needs a little adventure in their lives. But that adventure isn't cheap and will cost you more than you realize.

First off, if you currently have a job where you are, in this economy, consider yourself very lucky. Jobs on either Island are scarce at best and even more so on St. John and St. Croix. St. Thomas is more of a tourist hub and more densely populated and finding work might be a bit easier. But it would be best if you could secure employment before making the move. Now with that said, you need to look at what YOU have to offer the Island as far as employment. If you are not skilled, know a craft or are a professional, I would reconsider the move. Waitresses, waiters, sales clerks are a dime a dozen, which is the work most who move down are looking for. Plus the service industry will not pay your bills here. The cost of living far out way what you will earn. Yes, you can still make it on minimum wage as long as you can get room mates to help share the expenses.

Next, you will need a minimum of $10,000.00 move moving expenses, to include first last and security, plus utility deposits and that may not include enough to carry you for a couple of months while looking for a job. You will also need an emergency fund of a minimum of $1500.00 (could be more, could be less) for those tickets back home if it doesn't work out. You will require or need a vehicle. Unless you live in town you will need a vehicle. You can try and get away without one, but you will eventually break down and buy one. Hoopties run around $5000.00. You can get a decent car for around $8,000.00-$10.000.00. Now if you have a PAID OFF vehicle you can have it shipped for $2500.00, but finance companies will not allow vehicles that are owed on to leave the States.

I hope you have done a pre-move visit before jumping the gun and come down, hang out for a few weeks or longer and get a taste of island life. It's something that you WILL have to get used to. There are no clocks on the islands because everyone is on island time, that means things move at a slower pace. You will not have the conveniences that you have become accustomed to either.

Is this written in stone, NOPE, it could be less, could be more. This is just one old man's opinion and observations. Hopefully it will give you young enthusiastic people something to ponder before quitting jobs, dumping everything and buying that one way ticket to paradise. To me, paradise is any where I'm at, at the present time.


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stxem
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August 27, 2013 3:21 am  

Plus the service industry will not pay your bills here. The cost of living far out way what you will earn.

This is not true. Many people do manage to live here successfully with service industry jobs. No, you probably won't be able to live alone in a 3 bedroom house in Shoys with a pool and A/C running 24/7, but with a more modest lifestyle, it is definitely possible.


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AJ
 AJ
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August 27, 2013 5:02 am  

I highly endorse the pre move visit. It should be long enough for you to look at housing choices, job prospects, etc.


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Jamison
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August 27, 2013 9:45 am  

You can easily live here working in the service industry and pretty well too, despite most locals tipping between 0and 5% and acting like they're doing you a favor.


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rosesisland
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August 27, 2013 1:14 pm  

Reminds me of a little like a joke I heard here in the 90's.

This guy dies and gets to the Heaven's gate where St. Peter stops him and says since they were all full that day, they were offering tours of Heaven and Hell and then he could choose which one to take himself into eternity.

The guy was assured he could choose, so he took a tour of Hell first. He got to Hell and it was more beautiful than he could ever imagine. Hell had gorgeous turquoise crystal clear waters, sunshine, ocean breezes, Cruzan rum flowing freely, scantly clad beautiful girls everywhere. He thought he had really died and gone to Heaven.

When the guy got back up to St. Peter, he told St. Peter he couldn't imagine Heaven being any better and if it was, he would be too overwhelmed!

So, the guy chose to go to Hell for eternity! {{{{{{{ZAP}}}}}}

He was now in Hell for eternity. He looked around and Hell didn't look the same anymore. It was hot as Hell, pardon pun! It was all U-gly people nashing their teeth. Everything you ever visioned Hell to be was there happening in front of him.

The guy went up to the Devil and asked, what happened? I was just here a few moments ago and this place was beautiful!

The Devil replied, "when you were here before, you were a tourist...now, you live here."

This sums up the reality of coming here on vaca and off work, to living here for me! I'm blessed now that I'm retired, but love this tale!


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OldTart
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August 27, 2013 2:18 pm  

I remember Nicky Russell telling that joke!


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speee1dy
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August 27, 2013 2:27 pm  

good joke


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mtdoramike
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August 27, 2013 3:23 pm  

Plus the service industry will not pay your bills here. The cost of living far out way what you will earn.

This is not true. Many people do manage to live here successfully with service industry jobs. No, you probably won't be able to live alone in a 3 bedroom house in Shoys with a pool and A/C running 24/7, but with a more modest lifestyle, it is definitely possible.

What did I say "Is this written in stone, NOPE".

"This is not true. Many people do manage to live here successfully with service industry jobs. No, you probably won't be able to live alone in a 3 bedroom house in Shoys with a pool and A/C running 24/7, but with a more modest lifestyle, it is definitely possible."

But like I said people of the service industry are a dime a dozen in the islands because, the jobs can be had with little to no experience. But unfortunately, these jobs are also mostly seasonal and can't be counted on year around. Please explain this to my relatives who rent apartments on St. Thomas and are constantly advertising their rentals due to renting to waiters, bar tenders, waitresses and then within a few months they are gone because they couldn't afford the rent any longer, especially when their job prospects dried up.

Now, does this profile fit everyone, NOPE, but then again that's one of the problems with profiling hahahahahahaha.


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stiphy
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August 27, 2013 6:29 pm  

I think in general there are some good warnings and thoughts from the OP. Make sure you are coming here and not running from something, or even worse, that you are trying to run from yourself. You will always be with yourself and if you are the problem you aren't going to find any solutions here in the islands.

I know many people in the service industry who, with modest expectations, do fine. Usually it's not that the service industry couldn't support living here, it's more they couldn't deal with working in the service industry. For many the lifestyle catches up to them, drugs, booze etc. and they go home before they self destruct. I think that's the service industry anywhere. Some of my longest time friends here in St. Croix though are bartenders, waiters and waitresses etc. Some even moved on to other things on island at some point, having families and kids.

Sean


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sjsilver
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August 28, 2013 5:41 pm  

New to the forums, and will soon be new to the islands. All of your posts have been a helpful realization that it's not as easy as 'just' moving. I have a good job lined up, so hopefully that solves part of the puzzle. Thanks for starting this post. Looking forward to enjoying my time out there! Also hoping to meet a good group of like minded fun individuals. Now on to the classifieds section to look for a place and a vehicle...


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mtdoramike
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August 28, 2013 6:43 pm  

I think in general there are some good warnings and thoughts from the OP. Make sure you are coming here and not running from something, or even worse, that you are trying to run from yourself. You will always be with yourself and if you are the problem you aren't going to find any solutions here in the islands.

I know many people in the service industry who, with modest expectations, do fine. Usually it's not that the service industry couldn't support living here, it's more they couldn't deal with working in the service industry. For many the lifestyle catches up to them, drugs, booze etc. and they go home before they self destruct. I think that's the service industry anywhere. Some of my longest time friends here in St. Croix though are bartenders, waiters and waitresses etc. Some even moved on to other things on island at some point, having families and kids.

Sean

THANK YOU, this was my intent, not to scare people off, but to get them to Slooow down and think about their decision and just what it entails. One of my favorite phrases that I like to use is "Look past the tip of your nose" people tend to be short sighted at time especially when it's something that they really want and tend to rush in without realizing all involved. I just can't help being a parent I guess and giving my opinions and observations whether solicited or not.

I would love for someone to create a STICKY for everyone who is even considering throwing caution to the wind and putting their stake on an island to view and comment. If someone who has recently done just that and give their do's, don't and just an overall view of how it went for them no matter what their status in life is. Mainly an overall perspective of the move and first 6 months or year on the islands.


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ikory
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August 28, 2013 9:38 pm  

I find this interesting. I think this will be helpful to some. My 5th week on the island of stx so very fresh. I did no pmv view and have never came to a tropical place before. Number one reason I picked stx was the gi bill pays double here from my previous location. I never even heard of st. Croix until march of this year, now I am sitting with my tablet watching the waves with the ocean breeze in my face while i write this. Best decision I have made in a long time. I have never seen my 2 children so happy. I can take them swimming everyday or play in the sand.

Money has sucked first month but finally got paid so very happy. Changed a few grocery habits this month. One example is, Bought 33 pounds of chicken quarters for 28 dollars, and bought lots of 4 pound vegetable bags for 7-8 dollars a piece. So I think we ate okay with out spending much so we could get past the first month.

I however had it set only staying on the island for a year. We may stay longer depending on my masters program. I think for about 3 or 4 days we wanted to never leave but that feeling past. I love the beaches and weather (when we have a breeze which is most the time), my biggest annoyance is I love modern things convenience s which the island is lacking. Overall, I will describe the island as lots of hidden treasures (private beaches all to yourself with amazing views is one example), and so much potential.

The truth when I first left the airport and was driving in the island I felt I may have made a horrible mistake. However after a few days that feeling went away after getting use to the new culture. It was a lot like being shell shocked the first few days or week. Now I want to experience even more.


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billd
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August 29, 2013 12:34 am  

Do a PMV. If you don't have the $ to do this then don't come at all!

You need about 5-8K to get started here.

Billd


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poodle
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August 29, 2013 12:42 am  

I haven't read the other responses, so my answer to your question will not be tainted.

Expect the basics. Life, in general, has gotten away from us. If you like living in a 'small town' atmosphere, then you will love it here. If you expect to be entertained by the community, well then, this is not the place for you. Down here, everybody knows knows everybody's business. If you are a straight shooter, then there's no problem. But, if you like to be the belle of the ball, then everyone will know it. This is small town living...and I love it! But it's not for everyone.


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Islander1012
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August 29, 2013 12:56 am  

Hey all...I thought I would throw my two cents in too. We are almost at one year on island. Has it been perfect, nope! It has, however, been an adventure! We did not do a PMV. My husband had an interview here and we were on island for three days total, waited for the offer and he accepted. In those three days I fell in love with this island but more so the lifestyle and proximity to the water. I quit my job and moved with him. While, there have been moments of "holy **** what were we thinking" those have been far out-weighed by the benefits of living here. It is not the US by any means but I think that is what we really enjoy about it. We both love travelling and are accustomed to being outside of the US. We also both have undergrad degrees and are working towards master’s degrees. The EDC companies down here have an extremely hard time finding qualified people on island and off island willing to move. Yes, some of them require you to be a resident prior to working for them, which is why it took me 11 months to find employment. That does not mean I didn't’t have job offers, there were other positions I was offered and declined because it did not fit with my career goals (and yes I realize that makes me very lucky to be in that situation). We were both in the service industry during college and had we thought to take this adventure then I would not have hesitated. You can always go home or wherever your next stop takes you. I do not really understand the absoluteness of some of the posts here. If you do not like it here, move on. No harm, no foul. It really isn’t for everyone. We have had many visitors in our year and many of them admit they could not hack it here. I don’t mind the slowness of it all (I’m being really serious). I require less “things” here too. I’m loving that! All that being said…I think we made the best decision ever to come here. We have met amazing people that I now call true friends and wouldn’t trade it for anything.


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ikory
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August 29, 2013 2:53 am  

Do a PMV. If you don't have the $ to do this then don't come at all!

You need about 5-8K to get started here.

Billd

i forgot the pmv and so did the islander1012, do you want us to leave the island? *-)

islander1012 i enjoyed the read.


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Linda J
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August 29, 2013 10:17 am  

"Just do I"t is fine for the mobile and unencumbered. The people I worry about, and you don't see them on this board much anymore, are the ones with children, large or unusual pets or health issues. The planning process needs to be longer and more thoughtful for those folks.

When someone (true story) gets on here and says they have 4 kids and want to home school (with no experience with homeschooling), and are coming here with no job and little cash reserves -- that scares the crap out of me.


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speee1dy
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August 29, 2013 12:37 pm  

that is just crazy imo. i agree with linda j on this


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LiquidFluoride
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August 29, 2013 1:32 pm  

"Just do I"t is fine for the mobile and unencumbered. The people I worry about, and you don't see them on this board much anymore, are the ones with children, large or unusual pets or health issues. The planning process needs to be longer and more thoughtful for those folks.

When someone (true story) gets on here and says they have 4 kids and want to home school (with no experience with homeschooling), and are coming here with no job and little cash reserves -- that scares the crap out of me.

well even with that said, it can be done.

I have 3 large dogs (115-130lbs) my mother and 4 kids down here; plan things out as mentione above and you'll be fine (you should be good at that "planning" thing if you have kids anyway) we are also doing homeschool (but have had previous experience & 'grandma' to help out).

It can be done! but don't ignore the warnings here, jobs aren't plentiful and it takes a lot more moneny to keep a family here than in the states.

but finance companies will not allow vehicles that are owed on to leave the States.

I shipped my vehicle down here, my finance company had no issue with it... so this is not always the case.

There was a [URL="http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/abinazir/2011/06/15/what-are-chances-you-would-be-born/"]1: 400,000,000,000,000[/URL] chance of you being born: what have you done with your miraculous life today?


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ikory
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August 29, 2013 2:25 pm  

I think the biggest problem with these forums is to much assuming. If I listened to half the people on the forums I would have never came which would have been a huge mistake. I never had the extra money for a pmv which i still see little reason for a pmv.

As the original poster said none of what he said is set in stone. For example he mentioned shipping a car is around 2500 but after shipping, irb tax, dmv etc my total was 1600. I guess I saved because I owned a cheap american car.


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CAtoSTX
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August 29, 2013 3:31 pm  

Coming up on 4 years in the VI, two islands and a baby later....
No PMV
Didn't know STX existed.
Had 6 weeks to get there.

Still here, still happy. Will we stay forever? Probably not. But we've lasted a lot longer than the initial 1 year that we thought we'd be here.

We get annoyed with the same thing as everyone else.


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donkey_jaw
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August 29, 2013 3:58 pm  

I'm thinking of moving to STX. I have only been to STT once and that was for a few hours during a cruise. I am a fan of the laid back lifestyle in a smaller community and thats why I'm particularly interest in STX. I am debt free, have no dependents, and as far as I know no ailments. I am a licensed insurance agent in my state. Come spring, if the urge hits me hard enough I'll sell my car and find a furnished apartment in STX . Is it as simple and easy as that?...no, but if you try and apply yourself nothing is really impossible.


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vicanuck
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August 29, 2013 9:53 pm  

Come on down! Insurance is big business down here!


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ikory
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August 29, 2013 11:09 pm  

Glad you skipped the pmv too CAtoSTX :-). I almost think I will end up staying here much longer than my original plan of a year.

I agree donkey_jaw come down. 🙂


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