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shangirl
(@shangirl)
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September 4, 2016 6:29 pm  

There are days when I just want to sell my car and most other things, pack a couple bags and jump on a flight and come on down. So many decisions I've made have been the jump off the cliff and build your wings on the way down style. Waiting for the right time...not as much my style. My inside is ready now, even if my outside life says I'm not :-/


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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
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September 4, 2016 6:53 pm  

Really as long as you have what you feel is enough ready cash and a semi- solid back up plan in case it doesn't work out - you may as well put a move into motion by setting a realistic date that allows you the time for taking care of the details of leaving.
Once you are here it is all about maintaining a positive attitude and getting established.
GL with the decision.


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mtdoramike
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September 5, 2016 12:56 am  

You've been watching too much TV, change the channel.

There are people that have come to the Islands at the spur of the moment only to last a few month and leave once they realize it takes money to live that dream and a good job just to survive.

mike


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Scubadoo
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September 5, 2016 3:08 am  

Unless of course one is independently wealthy and doesn't need to find a job or health insurance when they get here. Most of the folks buying property on STX in the HGTV shows are buying vacation homes.


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stjohnjulie
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September 5, 2016 9:15 am  

I think you are the only one who will know what to do. There are a couple of us on this form that did just what you are talking about and are still here decades later. It would have been a hell of a lot easier if I had planned things out better and had more money though. I've also seen people who plan, save, plan more, make the move and end up leaving after a short time. You will know when the time is right. If you decide to jump off the cliff, make sure you have a parachute of some sort (like an open ended round trip ticket) just in case. Good luck! See ya soon maybe.


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speee1dy
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September 5, 2016 10:49 am  

there are also people who took the plunge and never left. its all up to you


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East Ender
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September 5, 2016 11:11 am  

I do know people who came down on vacation, called home to have their clothes shipped and stayed for 20+ years. If you are young and unencumbered, have a return ticket and have not burned any bridges back home, why not?


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Gonegirl45
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September 5, 2016 11:55 am  

I am considering doing the same thing however, I have to plan it out. Once I leave the states, and ship my belongings, its a done deal.


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OldTart
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September 5, 2016 12:03 pm  

Once I leave the states, and ship my belongings, its a done deal.

It's never a "done deal" and much wiser to keep a very open mind. There are VERY few people here who make the move and for whom it becomes a forever home. Bring with you only what you really need - if you're still here a year later and really want the stuff you can have it shipped or dispose of it. Keep your options open and enough money for a return ticket!


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Spartygrad95
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September 5, 2016 12:12 pm  

Sometimes a better opportunity arises on a different island too. You never know.


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Gonegirl45
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September 5, 2016 12:31 pm  

Agreed. That is the plan. I will only ship my car. My mother will stay in my home until I make the final decision - however, long that may be.

It will be planned out with contingencies... just in case:)

Thank you Old Tart.
CJ

Once I leave the states, and ship my belongings, its a done deal.

It's never a "done deal" and much wiser to keep a very open mind. There are VERY few people here who make the move and for whom it becomes a forever home. Bring with you only what you really need - if you're still here a year later and really want the stuff you can have it shipped or dispose of it. Keep your options open and enough money for a return ticket!


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mtdoramike
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September 5, 2016 4:39 pm  

Once I leave the states, and ship my belongings, its a done deal.

It's never a "done deal" and much wiser to keep a very open mind. There are VERY few people here who make the move and for whom it becomes a forever home. Bring with you only what you really need - if you're still here a year later and really want the stuff you can have it shipped or dispose of it. Keep your options open and enough money for a return ticket!

Words of wisdom!

mike


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MayaN
(@MayaN)
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September 16, 2016 5:43 am  

"There are VERY few people here who make the move and for whom it becomes a forever home."

What would you all say are the most common reasons that people end up leaving the islands, even though they had fully intended (or hoped) it to be a "forever home?" Do you think it's mostly poor preparation, unrealistic expectations, the rigors of island living, or perhaps some other factor? Or is it just that people who move ANYWHERE don't tend to stay "forever" these days?

Or, put more positively, what do the people who STAY seem to have in common? Just curious, since we have moved around quite a bit and if we end up choosing one of the islands as our next home, our intention and hope would be for it to be a final move, especially since we are in our early 50's. We just wanna finally put down some roots and hope that we die before the zombie apocalypse comes. 😀


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Alana33
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September 16, 2016 6:46 am  

Lots of reasons, some you stated.
Others might be for a job opportunity, to care for aging parents, better schools for one's children, be closer to grandkids, family, or just a need for change.


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stjohnjulie
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September 16, 2016 7:50 am  

The biggest reasons among those I see leave are; having children or having their children reach school age, health reasons, drug/alcohol reasons.


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Exit Zero
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September 16, 2016 7:58 am  

Limited opportunities for some professionals


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OldTart
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September 16, 2016 10:20 am  

... we have moved around quite a bit ...

All the reasons listed but, in my experience, people who have moved around a lot and lived (not vacationed) in diverse areas are much better at adapting than those who haven't.


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pilatesgal318
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September 16, 2016 10:46 am  

What I have encountered as to why most people leave is due to the need for better education and health care for their children, aging parents and the need to care for them, and very unrealistic expectations of what island life is all about. I, too, had visions of a 'simpler' lifestyle when moving here - and, although in some ways, it CAN be classified as such, in other ways, it really is more difficult (in my opinion). That being said, I am still here 10 years later (different island from where I landed, due to my relationship and the need to move to be together) - I am usually happy to get off island for a time, but happier to get back! I will most likely have to leave at some point because my father is ill and I am the 'child' who it is easiest for to aid my mother in caring for him; also, my stepdaughter may be in our care soon and we will want her to have better education opportunities (and health care!) than what is offered here. Don't know when that will be but, when (if) it does happen, we will still have our 53' sailboat waiting for us in STT for our visits...which will be as often as possible!


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speee1dy
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September 16, 2016 10:47 am  

children and medical are big factors. also, for some island life is not what they thought. for some they thought it would be a nice escape from mainland living , turns out its pretty much the same.


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vicanuck
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September 16, 2016 11:49 am  

Economics...its expensive to live here. Private schools, health care, home maintenance & insurance, car repairs. All very expensive.

I've been here 13 years but am fortunate to own a successful business that provides enough income to survive here. Otherwise, I'd be living in my other house in the mid west where its cold in the winter.


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East Ender
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September 16, 2016 8:21 pm  

And as to what makes someone stay...

There are people who do better here than they can do in the states. Some of these are professionals in a niche that is competitive in the states, but wide open here.

It also helps if you are low maintenance. If you can shrug your shoulders and go down another road when you hit a road block, you'll adjust better.


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Afriend
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September 16, 2016 9:12 pm  

MayaN - many people who consider relocating to an Island in the Caribbean often can't understand why others leave because they wrongly perceive the islands as being a paradise where a person will feel the same euphoria day in and day out for years and years as they did when the first visited on a vacation. They think life is so perfect why wold anyone want to leave.

While that may be for some the reality is that you still have to do everyday chores, work and earn a living, get along with difficult bosses, have limited job opportunities,do grocery shopping, make car payments, pay bills, care for family members, etc. in this paradise much the same as you do no matter where you now live.

We know several couples who came to live on the islands and left because it turned out they didn't like living in a relatively small and confined area with limited places to go. Island life is a bit like living in a small town without the ability to easily leave that town. They couldn't come to grips with the fact that once you've driven around an island a few times and visited the same beaches over and over again you've "been there, done that".

We know other couple where one party loves island and the other simply hates it for any number of reasons. Thus to keep harmony in those unions they choose to leave.

The upshot of it is there are scores of reasons why people stay and just as many reasons why some leave. It is no different in the islands than it is anywhere else in the world.


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MayaN
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September 16, 2016 10:39 pm  

Thanks to all for your observations and insights. A couple of you mentioned concerns about medical care, and I've read about this concern in other forum threads as well. This surprises me, because the USVI Settler's Guide (and we do have the updated version), describes both major and satellite medical facilities on both STT and STX, and goes on and ON about the new and improved patient access, and all of the MANY different medical specialty departments/units in the hospitals (pediatric, cancer, cardiac, etc.), and says that some of these are the only (or largest) units of their kind, available in the Caribbean. I read that one of the hospitals even has a burn center, which not even Nevada had, when I first moved here. The Settler's guide also says that the hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission (JCAHO), and have to pass stringent OSHA inspections as well...

So I'm curious, in what way (specifically) is the medical care sub-par, compared to the mainland?... to the point that people would actually be moving away for this reason, or wary of raising children on the islands. Is it slow ambulance response time to emergencies, or is there something else seriously lacking about the medical care? I'm not talking about isolated instances of crappy medical care (that happens everywhere!), but about ongoing, chronic problems that are worse than the mainland norm (health insurance issues notwithstanding).

One thing I like about the Settler's Guide (so far, I'm 3/4 of the way through it) is that the book doesn't seem to be trying to paint a rosy picture of island living... the Guide openly exposes and frankly discusses numerous problems/disadvantages associated with moving to the islands and living there. So if the Guide is neglecting to warn prospective settlers about problems associated with getting quality medical care, I wonder why.

The only warning the Guide gives is that if you end up needing some sort of medical treatment that isn't available in the USVI, you'd need to be flown to PR or Miami, and that even if your insurance reimburses for that, you'd have to pay for the flight up-front, and it can be super expensive. I can sort of live with that risk. But my (unrealistic?) expectation for STT/STX would be that there are doctors available who can, for example, read an X-Ray and set a broken bone, or do emergency surgery, and that medical equipment will be in good working order, and that hospitals are reliably stocked with necessary medical supplies. If that's not the case, I don't know how the hospitals there are passing inspections and keeping their accredited status. Any comments welcome, and most appreciated! .


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Afriend
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September 17, 2016 12:29 am  

You are in your "research phase" and that means you'll get information from many sources but nothing you read is going to be 100% accurate in all situations. The Settler's Handbook is a good guideline but it is not "gospel". It's only meant as a general guideline. Medical care in the USVI's has improved greatly compared to say 15 to 20 years ago but is still lacking when compared to major trauma and specialty medical centers on the mainland. Many of us who have lived in the Caribbean long periods have witnessed first hand how iffy treatments can be so we've made the decision to go back to the US mainland for medical care especially if it involves a major procedure. It all boils down to do what level of treatment DO YOU WANT if you have a serious illness or major medical problem. Ask yourself, if you needed major back surgery would you be happy having the procedure performed by an on-island doctor who has only read about the procedure or who has only performed the procedure a handful of time or would you rather go back to the mainland and engage the services of one of the best specialists in the country? The choice, of course, is yours. I and others have decided that if we were faced with that decision we'd opt to go off-island for our medical care.

Now, many of us purchase medical evacuation insurance which will pay the cost of transporting us back to the states if we need hospitalization for a major medical problem. I've lived in the Caribbean for over 15 years and have never needed medical evacuation but I feel the premiums I've paid for Med Evacuation Insurance are worth the peace of mind I get from knowing the coverage is there if I need it.

I can only speak for myself and some of my friends - we use local doctors and hospitals only for routine medical care (colds, flu, first aid, etc.) for anything of major concern we get off the island as fast as possible.


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Afriend
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September 17, 2016 12:36 am  

I've tried editing but it didn't seem to take. The phrase "...is still lacking when compared to major drama and specialty medical centers on the mainland..." should read "...is still lacking when compared to major trauma and specialty medical centers on the mainland...".


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