Hello, my husband and I are looking into moving to St. Thomas within the next year from the DC area (big change!!). Looking for some of the best pieces of advice from those who have experienced this drastic move as well. Thanks in advance!
Best advice - come for a Pre-Move Visit (commonly referred to as a PMV) BEFORE making any decision. Stay for at least several weeks - a couple months would be even better). Do not come as a tourist or stay in a resort or hotel but rather stay in a short term rental unit. Do ordinary chores like house cleaning, laundry, yard work, cooking meals, paying utility bills, banking, shopping for food and similar activities as those will be the activities you’ll be doing most of the time if you make the move. Use the time to check out housing availability and costs in neighborhoods that meet your needs.
In the meantime build up your nest egg so you have enough money on hand to support yourself while you get settled in. If you are seeking employment use the time to check out potential employers and explore salaries for the type of position you are seeking. NOTE: Generally speaking you’ll probably find that salaries in the Caribbean are going to be lower than for comparable positions where you now live and living costs will be higher. That’s the Catch-22 of living in the Caribbean.
Don’t burn your bridges “back home”. A high percentage of people moving to the Caribbean leave within one or two years.
Read though the archives on this forum. There are hundreds of topics regarding relocating to the USVI’s that have been discussed in great detail. There’s a wealth of information on this website that will answer all your questions and scores more you haven’t even thought of yet.
Good luck with your research.
Welcome to the forum!
Yes, you should read through the archives here and you definitely should do a PMV, although if you don't have baggage like children, you can probably do this in 2 weeks . Do you have work set up or do you need to work? That is a big thing for a lot of folks. If you have work set up, your employer should be a big help. If you need work, what sort of work are you looking for?
My general advice is:
1. (same as a friend) Don't burn your bridges back home. Don't sell everything or ship everything. Don't thumb your nose at your employer. Tell people you are going to give it a try. If it doesn't work, it will be to go back.
2. Do move with a minimum of "stuff". Set a goal of 6 months or a year and then decide if it really is right for you.
3. When you arrive, spend some time "settling in". This means go out and enjoy activities, but look and listen to people. There's an old warning to keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. Don't tell them how you did it in DC.LOL
4. Learn VI etiquette. Always say "good morning", "good afternoon", or "good night" when you come across people in a waiting room, on the street, in a store. Don't be loud and obnoxious. Try local foods and drink. Attend local events.
Thank you both so much!! Both full of great advice. We are already planning our PMV, although we are just waiting for this covid situation to calm down a bit before we set a date. But we plan to get a house (not resort or hotel) and had that same idea in mind..."vacation" like we would if we lived there.
We also appreciate and agree with the idea of becoming part of the culture, not trying to bring "our" culture there. That's the whole point of the move!
We appreciate you both and any other advice that anyone has, and we're looking forward to seeing you on the island!
Often it is the wife that can't take it anymore. Can't deal with rude drivers, safaris, inspection lane, IRB, bank tellers, cashiers. The wife is usually the one "out in it" on a daily basis. The art of overlooking the jumbies is a learned one. If you make it six months, you'll go a year. If you make it a year, you'll go 3 years. If you make it 3 years, you could last for good, but there's always the 7 year itch. And there's always something (someone) Stateside that could pull you back there. Like aging parents, needy family. We had to slide out for over 8 years, but we got the same rent back we had for 15 years and are filling a 20' container. Car is already there. Has been for a year. Nothing happens quickly. But you really need to learn the ropes of existence down dey. We never had a problem, really.
It’s not for everyone.
From your first post, I suspect great hesitation on your part due to the words you chose to use- (Big Change!! & Drastic move).
Im thinking this is the husband’s idea?
I got lucky, it was my dream to live in the Caribbean. On our first visit, my wife fell in love with the east end. The rest is history as they say.
I am looking for some advice from anyone that is living and raising kids in the VI. My wife, my 7 year old son, and me are thinking about places to check out to move. I am a recent retiree from the military, and my wife is a dental hygienist. We have been traveling to different locations that are interesting to us ( FL Keys, Oahu, Grand Cayman), and keep coming back to USVI, St Croix to be exact. Neither of us have been, and we honestly don't even know if its a good family location or not. We already know wherever we move we will have to choose private school. Does anyone have any stories or comments about raising kids there?
I think every case is a little different. In our relationship, I’m the impulsive one when it comes to the big decisions, combined with a bias for action. My wife tends to find reasons not to make big decisions but generally after a time makes the adjustment. She’s much better than me at managing life on a day to day basis and I manage difficult problems better than her, so we balance each other well.
I’m sure we have it easier than most as seasonal residents but life anywhere has it’s challenges.