Hello everybody, Oliver here
So I guess to start off ill just say that I am looking for a fresh start, somewhere away from the rat race that is the continental US. I've done some reading on the VI and the slower pace/laid back lifestyle seems almost too perfect to me.
A little about myself. I am a 25 year old male. I have lived in Virginia for the last three years (just outside D.C.) but am originally from upstate NY. The last three years I have been working for the power company. I specialize in underground power lines and that sort of work. Before that I was in the US Air Force as a Security Forces Officer (MP)
I am here for any advice to see if a move here is plausible. This is my situation:
- I have visited the Caribbean, Costa Rica and parts of Mexico and loved everything about these lands
- I do not have much money saved, but am more than happy to live as meagerly as possible. I have about $2500 saved up (is that a huge red flag??? :P)
- My job skills are some what limited (construction and security/law enforcement, but I am willing to take any job to make it in the VI.
- I have nothing tying me down to staying here in Virginia
I guess my question is, From people who know much more about VI living than I do, what can I expect if I do make a move like this. I have never had trouble doing well in any occupation and have always been able to make a life wherever I have lived. But most of the things I have read on a move to the VI has always been for families or for people with much more financial security than I have.
Any advice will be appreciated 🙂
If you have been reading this forum you must realize $2500 will not go far upon arrival.
It will be difficult to find a place to stay quickly so you don't eat up that money paying for accommodations and many apts. will want at least 2 months rent up front. You will have to find a job very fast too, but that can be done.
It will be a high energy and fortunate set of circumstances that have to happen to make this work -- stressful and exciting.
It surely can be done if you put your mind to it - start networking with everyone you meet - travel very lightly - watch your finances closely and diligently - understand the situation you are putting yourself in and set daily goals to solve it.
Don't get involved in the party atmosphere at all until you have a stable job and place to live.
Certainly have a plan B for failure = a return ticket or a credit card that allows you to buy one.
It will take a determined mindset , a frugal beginning, a modest amount of luck, and a very determined attitude.
Good luck !! if you can possibly bring more cash it would slightly ease the entry - don't bring more than you can physically carry if you can. EDIT: not cash / personal belongings--LOL.
I spent 14 years living in NoVa (Burke, then Springfield) a while back, and couldn't wait to get out and slow down, either. You'll definitely obtain a slower-paced, more laid back life here. However, the VI does come with its own headaches. Many of the threads on this forum, while responding to couples, with and without families, also apply to singles.
You're young and unencumbered, so I say why not. However, I would wait a little longer and save up a bit more money, as you will only have yourself to rely on. Even if you land employment right off the bat, that savings will be eaten up pretty quickly just getting established. It's not impossible to live on the islands without a car. But you'll find life much easier with one. And then there are rental deposits....
You can live frugally here, once you're settled in. Just make sure, as stated already, to have enough saved to get back to the mainland if you decide the VI is not for you. No matter how gung-ho people are when they arrive, a high percentage do leave when they find out the VI is not exactly the Paradise they hoped for.
STT may have more job opportunities but rents are higher.
Difficult to get around without a vehicle on both islands.
You may be able to find a house sharing situation.
Check Craig's List but beware of scam ads, especially those in the $700 rental apartment range that are fully furnished, granite countertops, offer heat, covered parking, etc. Don't send $ sight unseen.
I would recommend that you have at least $10,000.00 cash on hand before attempting to make the move. Now once on Island, you can live as cheap or as lavish a lifestyle as you want. If you can live on rice and beans, you can make it in the Islands. But if you need cell phones, cable, Direct TV, Generator, new car rather than a hooptie, then you may want to consider bringing more cash with you.
As far as employment goes, if you are handy with tools and don't mind working and getting dirty, the Islands can always use handymen or women. Also if you bring down a couple of commercial grade weedeaters with Machetes you can always get work cutting bush especially places like the Northside of the Island. They are always in great demand in that area and not enough of them to go around.