Are you happy  

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HopeB
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July 15, 2018 12:39 pm  

Good day all!
My husband and I are wanting to retire early and move to STX, hopefully in the next 2-3 years. I have done a ton of research and feel that of all of the islands, STX fits our temperament and life style best. I have looked at pages and pages of pics of the island and we plan to vacation there soon so that we can get a feel for what part of the island will give us that “We’re home” vibe. I have a friend who recently vacationed there and said that she felt that the people living there weren’t happy. I have been reading these forums for a little while now and although there are some struggles that go with island life, I don’t get the feeling of unhappiness from those who post here. I wanted to get some feed back from anyone who would like to participate. Are you happy? Do you enjoy your life on the island?


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islandjoan
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July 15, 2018 2:17 pm  

That's an existential question right there, for sure! No one is ever truly happy, I believe, unless one is fully living in the moment. If you are not happy living elsewhere, you will bring that unhappiness with you wherever you go.


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HopeB
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July 15, 2018 2:24 pm  

Thank you for your response. I would have to agree with you. Everyone can choose how they view their life either positively or negatively.


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Scubadoo
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July 15, 2018 2:56 pm  

There is going to be a huge difference in challenges and lifestyle between folks that are living on STX, trying to make a living and keep a roof over their head vs. retired. So situations have to be considered when comparing feedback. There are also going to be huge opinion differences between folks that take everyday as an adventure and challenge and have appropriate expectations vs. those with less reasonable expectations or are always seeing the greener grass elsewhere.

Also I expect vacationers will run into different folks with different opinions vs. a wider range that residents will run into. When you do your PMV talk to folks shopping in the grocery stores and Kmart and Home Depot and you'll probably get different feedback.


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HopeB
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July 15, 2018 3:10 pm  

Thank you for your response! Being retired vs having to work for what you have is very different, and each person definitely sees their circumstances in a very individualistic way. My main objective is to find out the overall general feeling. Is most of the population miserable daily and wish they were somewhere else or do they enjoy their daily life overall. I realize that no one can define how I will feel when I myself move there but I don’t want to surround myself with 90% of the people I meet wishing they were anywhere else but where they are, if that makes any sense. I try to see always see the brighter side of life, I have never had much but I have always tried to be happy with who and what I am and with the things that I have managed to gain for myself and my family. I would like to be able to be apart of someplace that tries to do the same (for the most part). 🙂


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Afriend
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July 15, 2018 3:12 pm  

People can be happy but still get frustrated by the various challenges that come with living on a relatively small island.

A thing to consider is that living on an island is much like living in a small town (nothing inherently wrong with that) without having the ability to easily leave that “small town”. Unless you have a sizable amount of discretionary income taking trips once a week or more to the “big city” (i.e. San Juan, Miami or other city back on the mainland) you may find island life a bit restrictive - again not necessarily something that will make you unhappy but it certainly won’t add to your level of “happiness”.

So don’t look upon comments you think sound negative as something that makes people living on the island unhappy, it’s just some people’s way of telling you. While the islands may seem like paradise they are not heaven.


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HopeB
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July 15, 2018 3:42 pm  

Thank you for responding. I’m actually looking forward to not having to run here and there all of the time. Sitting on my porch sipping a glass of wine and enjoying a gorgeous view sounds pretty close to heaven to me. Being able to go to the beach whenever I want and kick back and watch the sunset from almost any serene view sound wonderful. I don’t mind solitude and neither does my husband its one of the big draws for us. I take any wisdom that anyone would like to impart to me as a gift be it positive, negative or neutral. All information is helpful in letting us get the real idea of island life and not the romantic idealistic version of it. Thank you to everyone who has commented so far and to anyone else who chooses to in the future!


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speee1dy
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July 15, 2018 7:14 pm  

When did your friend visit. We are still recovering from the hurricane from last september so there are many people who arent 100% happy. Some people still havent found jobs from being laid off due to the hurricane. Prices for rent have gone a little nuts since the hurricane. People work and live here just like they do in the states. Island living doesnt mean you are happy all the time. There is a lof of violence and poverty here. It just isnt a picnic for so many. Day to day struggle are real and to just get by doesnt make for happiness.

The island generally has poor customer service skills. As in the customer is an intrusion into thwir phone call or book or whatever

Some peoplw chose to be happy and others dont

quote=HopeB]
Good day all!
My husband and I are wanting to retire early and move to STX, hopefully in the next 2-3 years. I have done a ton of research and feel that of all of the islands, STX fits our temperament and life style best. I have looked at pages and pages of pics of the island and we plan to vacation there soon so that we can get a feel for what part of the island will give us that “We’re home” vibe. I have a friend who recently vacationed there and said that she felt that the people living there weren’t happy. I have been reading these forums for a little while now and although there are some struggles that go with island life, I don’t get the feeling of unhappiness from those who post here. I wanted to get some feed back from anyone who would like to participate. Are you happy? Do you enjoy your life on the island?


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HopeB
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July 15, 2018 7:47 pm  

Thank you for your response. What you have said makes a lot of sense. She just returned about 2 weeks ago from a week trip. With things still in recovery mode I can completely understand why everything isn’t all roses and sunshine. Because she was on vacation her expectations may have been skewed from what the reality is and I can see that about her. 🙂
I hope that the covery is going well and that this season is the mildest it’s ever been for all of your sakes. I imagine a break is much needed.


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rosesisland
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July 16, 2018 9:45 am  

Thank you for responding. I’m actually looking forward to not having to run here and there all of the time. Sitting on my porch sipping a glass of wine and enjoying a gorgeous view sounds pretty close to heaven to me. Being able to go to the beach whenever I want and kick back and watch the sunset from almost any serene view sound wonderful. I don’t mind solitude and neither does my husband its one of the big draws for us. I take any wisdom that anyone would like to impart to me as a gift be it positive, negative or neutral. All information is helpful in letting us get the real idea of island life and not the romantic idealistic version of it. Thank you to everyone who has commented so far and to anyone else who chooses to in the future!

I've done more "running here and there" here on STX than I ever did living in the states. Whether it be a large city or a small town that I've lived in, I spend more time gathering and getting groceries here than I've ever spent anywhere in my 67 years on this plain. There isn't one single store or market here that I can get for all I use in my kitchen. But, I cook and cook a lot.

Also, as a retiree myself, be aware it really does take more dollars to live here than in the states. I love it here and can't imagine being anywhere else, but, throughout the many years I've lived here, I've met and been friends with many more people that have moved here and left, than I've met that have moved here and stayed.

One of the number one advices this forum produces is, rent for a year or two, before buying. By eighteen months you'll know if you have "island fever" or not and whether you'd want to stay or not. Many, many reasons why folks leave! We had a mass exodus last Fall after the storms. This past year has been exceptionally hard on most residents here. Whether they lost things, cars, homes, jobs to the storms or they lost their best friends that can make people sad for awhile. I've been extremely sad after my best friend and her husband left STX to never return.

Also, something serious to think about. IMO, the housing market here on STX is as tight as I've ever seen it in over 20 years. Very few places available to live right now.
Good luck in your endeavor.


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Fishbait
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July 16, 2018 11:25 am  

That's great advice. If you can, vacation in a place with a kitchen and go shopping, go to a few local restaurants, you know, the one's that don't have $14 hamburgers, etc...

Try to talk to as many people as you can. Come for two weeks at least. That's what we did...

There is going to be a huge difference in challenges and lifestyle between folks that are living on STX, trying to make a living and keep a roof over their head vs. retired. So situations have to be considered when comparing feedback. There are also going to be huge opinion differences between folks that take everyday as an adventure and challenge and have appropriate expectations vs. those with less reasonable expectations or are always seeing the greener grass elsewhere.

Also I expect vacationers will run into different folks with different opinions vs. a wider range that residents will run into. When you do your PMV talk to folks shopping in the grocery stores and Kmart and Home Depot and you'll probably get different feedback.


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HopeB
(@HopeB)
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July 16, 2018 11:28 am  

Thank you for your input. As a retiree that helps a lot. I know that my husband wants to visit several times before we make the final decision to move there and he wants to stay in regular houses not resorts so that we get a taste of island living and not the vacation version of it. I am hoping that we can get a place there that has a pretty large storage area so that when we make trips to the store”s” we can buy in quantity so that we can make fewer trips. I love the water, sand, ocean, and can see me having no problems living there. My husband might be a little different so that’s why we plan to visit so much to see if he can catch “island fever”. The idea of renting is definitely a good one and something that we have discussed doing before buying. We may move there and decide it’s not for us or move there and never leave but I can’t see us not trying at all. Thank you for the information and honest opinions!


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sunshinefun
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July 16, 2018 11:33 am  

I'm very happy here, but, I can be happy just about anywhere.


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HopeB
(@HopeB)
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July 16, 2018 12:21 pm  

Thanks for your reply. I feel the same. I’m usually a pretty happy person no matter where I am. Glad to see a kindred spirit! 🙂


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Afriend
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July 16, 2018 1:01 pm  

.... I am hoping that we can get a place there that has a pretty large storage area so that when we make trips to the store”s” we can buy in quantity so that we can make fewer trips.

Sounds good in theory but not really practical unless that "large storage area" is temperature controlled (i.e. having A/C 24/7). You see storage areas tend to get hot 7 humid which intern decreases the shelf life of many items, especially food products - can products can "cook" from excess heat build up, boxed products like cereals, crackers, cookies, grains, pastas get stale or worse yet get attacked by weevils, sugar ants and other tiny creatures (best to store then in air-tight containers), canned products like some drinks develop a "tinny" or metallic taste if kept too long. The list goes on and on.

Even if you do have a fully temperature controlled storage area buying in bulk may not be the panacea you are hoping for - you never know how long those products you bought at the store last Tuesday(thinking they are fresh) may have been sitting in a container at the port baking under the hot sun.

As to the advice you've been given about renting for a year or so before you buy, DON'T IGNORE IT. It's the best advice anyone can give you. I've seen so many people make the move to the Caribbean only to find out island life is not for them. When a couple makes the move if is not unusual for one of them to like island living while the other becomes disenchanted rather quickly and wants to "go back home". If that happens, what are you going to do?

Do a lot of "first hand" research and not just rely on what you read on a relocation forum, Try to avoid what I call the "Yeah, but" syndrome - (please don't take offense as none is intended but from reading some of your responses you've got a slight case of it ado most people contemplating a move to the Caribbean) - as in when one of the regular contributors points out a perceived "negative" you response with a "Yeah, but the beach is really nice, the views are tremendous and weather's near perfect" or "Yeah,but I looking forward to a slower pace of life" or "Yeah but, who cares when you are sitting under a plan tree drinking a pina colda" - you get the idea.

And let me add one more thing, I'm retired and been living in the Caribbean for 15+ years. I know a lot of other retirees - most of us don't while away our days sitting on the beach - I'd venture to say, more then half really ever go to the beach, the closest they get is to have lunch or dinner at one of the local beach bars or beachside restaurants.. We spend most of our time doing everyday chores like shopping, housekeeping, paying bills, running errands. Of course, that doesn't mean we don't take time to play a few rounds of golf, or get together with the local bridge club, or take a group yoga class but rather we take part in "daily life" - it's not like being on vacation 24/7.

Anyway, your husband has the right idea, come for extended visits and don't rush. Find out what life is really like in the islands BEFORE making a long term commitment.

Good luck following your dream. Thorough research will prevent that dream from becoming a nightmare.


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singlefin
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July 16, 2018 1:11 pm  

Unfortunately you’ll find a few “glass is half empty” opinions here, just like everywhere else it seems these days.
However, life here, is as they say, what you make it. If you consider yourselves fairly self sufficient, resilient, patient, and can afford to live in a more expensive area of the country already (Northeast, west coast, ect...) you’ll be able to swing it here.
I’m from NY myself and find some prices of things like groceries, gas more expensive, but my taxes (property, sales, state) are a fraction of what they used to be here. That being said, the quality of the infrastructure here is also a fraction of what it was in NY. The big trade off here though, is we’ve also only got a fraction of the population, so there’s far less drama & crowding.
The biggest, and scariest issue for retirees here are the healthcare issues (insurance, doctors, condition of the hospitals, ect..)
If your proficient at keeping yourself in fairly good health, it’ll help immensely.
The greatest difference I’ve found is that people here seem genuinely friendlier and happier than NY (although that can be said of most places).
We purchased land here in 2011, somewhat unsure of our future plans, thinking that even if we decided we couldn’t find ourselves living here, we would at least have a good investment. The more we visited, the more we liked it, then we pulled the trigger and built a small, solid home.
We retired, sold everything in NY, and arrived as full-time residents two weeks before Irma/Maria struck. We remained through it all and thankfully our home held fast. We were however, without electricity for 81 days. There were many new, unexpected challenges afterwards, but once we got a routine in place, it wasn’t so bad.
About two weeks ago we had to fly to NC for a funeral. Coming back, We got an early morning Seabourne flight in from Puerto Rico. As we came down out of the clouds and saw our beautiful green St. Croix, my wife and I smiled at one another, happy to know we made the right move.
It’s certainly not a place for everyone, but we found a good fit. 🙂


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fdr
 fdr
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July 16, 2018 1:51 pm  

I echo everything speee1dy wrote. It's been a very tough year. Nonetheless, paradise is a state of mind!


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HopeB
(@HopeB)
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July 16, 2018 3:23 pm  

Thank to all of you for your input. I try to be more of a glass is half full type of person and my husband is more of the glass is half empty. We balance each other out. Having said that I want to thank all of you for each of your candid and open remarks. I need both sides of the coin to make the best decisions for us in the future. I really appreciate everyone giving me the real information and not just the roses and sunshine version. I have a lot to think about and a few trips to STX to plan so that we can make our final decision with care and know that we made the right one. (At least at the time) 😀


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East Ender
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July 16, 2018 6:52 pm  

Re: healthcare issues... There is no CMS (Medicare/Medicaid) certified skilled nursing facility in all of the VI. There is no inpatient rehab hospital. The long term care consists of a couple of places owned by the VI government and again, not certified by CMS. They have waiting lists years long.There is one home health agency on St Thomas and one home hospice. No free-standing hospice. I don't know about home health on St Croix, but they have the same home hospice agency. If you are healthy and able to get around, life is good. If you need assistance, things are a bit more difficult.


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HopeB
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July 16, 2018 7:36 pm  

Thank you for your reply. These are good things to know for when I start getting older and have health issues. These are concerns that will have to be addressed.


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rosesisland
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July 16, 2018 7:45 pm  

Hope, BTW, if you’d like to move here and stay, you don’t want “island fever” because island fever is when the island makes you sick and you feel the need to leave. Some people describe it as the island closing in on them.


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HopeB
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July 16, 2018 8:31 pm  

Good to know!! LOL
I’m learning more and more thanks!!


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Scubadoo
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July 16, 2018 11:12 pm  

I've done more "running here and there" here on STX than I ever did living in the states.

I don't do much driving in the states either. Funny thing is I rather like doing the running here and there now and then on STX as long as it's not around Sunny Isle at rush hour. Maybe the difference is in the states the unlimited boundaries can be overwhelming whereas on STX you can only go so far here and there.

That's great advice. If you can, vacation in a place with a kitchen and go shopping, go to a few local restaurants, you know, the one's that don't have $14 hamburgers, etc...

Whaaaa?? There's someplace on STX where hamburgers don't cost $14 other than Monday night at Eat? Get your lunch at the Killer Tacos truck and dinner at Singh's or Chocolate when you're not cooking it up yourself during that PMV.


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STTsailor
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July 17, 2018 9:37 am  

Happiness comes from within. If you happy where you are now and want to move to VI perhaps you have a set of goals in mind. We don’t know what they are. I moved here for sunshine, ocean, nature and sailing. All these goals accomplished. So I am not even going to discuss it.

The price of living in this paradise is that this is essentially third world level of living with marginal utilities, telephony, Internet, postal service, shopping, services, reliability, worksmanship quality, culture, social interaction, security level.

You have to accept that fact and take it into consideration before you move. You will have to do a lot of things yourself. Fix you generator, car, plumbing, electric. It is simply difficult to outsource any of this things. It took me 6 months to get my generator fixed as repair was beyond the scope of my skills. Can you put up with that when there is no grid power?

I get tire flat at least once a week. Can you live with that?

My car bounced from shop to shop for at least 3 months out of the year for repairs that were beyond the scope of expertise of local mechanics.

And this goes on and on.

You can adopt to this lifestyle but it takes a lot of extra money, time, skills and general resilience. You will be busy fixing things around you, doing a lot of mundain tasks that you could otherwise easily outsource in the mainland.

This is just a tip of the iceberg. Lots of other issues like healthcare, government services, racial relations that may or may not affect your quality of life here.


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HopeB
(@HopeB)
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July 17, 2018 12:19 pm  

Thank you for your response. I see that there are a lot of things to consider when taking on this task. Thank you giving me some of the smaller more innocuous tasks that I would not have thought of needing to be done yourself. Again I am learning more and more about what it takes to live on an island!


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