For the Locals to anwser
Now that youve had your experiences of getting settled on the island. Can somebody please due a step by step analagie from getting off the plane to finding the right place to live. please include like someone has said when is it best to get a liscence how to get around at the start where to look for apartments besides here mail boxes. please take into account what you have to have to get what you will need. Such as a job and long term rental.. I am moving down in just a couple of weeks and Im kinda looking for a step by step editorial on what to do and in what order to make my move easier and successful.. Thanks for all the help Jason. 🙂
Jason, click above on the left and there is loads of info there as well as moving stories similar to what you want.
Which island? Check the left side here as Ronnie suggests & read through the back threads. Might be a good idea to order some of the relocation books advertised up top also.
I apologize for answering even though I'm not a local, but... (there's always a "but" somewhere, huh?)
I was wondering the SAME things, but have found that searching through the past threads to be invaluable... I'm not trying to put you off by saying "just use the search feature", but it's true!
I've made myself not only a step by step guide, using the info I've found by searching past threads, but also a step by step budget for the whole she-bang! The whole thing is done in Microsoft Excel, includes dates/time frames, locations, names & addresses, $$ needed for each step as well as my income/debt/savings amounts at each step along the way... It goes from my savings plan that started last week, to selling my house, to shipping, planes, PMVs, landing, licensing, EVERYTHING!
This is too big of a deal for me to not be very detailed. "Plan your work and work your plan." has been my mantra for the process!
(Oh, and my "Virgin Islands Settler's Handbook" should arrive in the mail this week, so I'm sure I'll need to edit or modify my "plan" more once I begin reading it!)
All the prep. and money in the world cannot prepare you for ISLAND TIME. This you absorb when there. Names places how to get there are very important. Then CHILL the sun will rise tomorrow. The relo. guide is great! "Life in the Left Lane" is great! But believe me, ISLAND TIME that is what you must prepare for and it can't be done on the mainland. I speak from another Caribbean nation but ISLAND TIME is ISLAND TIME. I thought I was prepared but until you are there. It's their nation and culture, you adapt. It can be a great time. Keep the complaining to yourself. I visit Fri. and look forward to the comparisons.
Really impressed that you have put so much thought and planning into your upcoming move. I'm sure it will make the move much smoother. Now...just a word to the wise, put the word FLEXIBLE in there over and over! It doesn't always happen here like you think it's going to, no matter how well prepared you are. Be ready to switch over to plan B, if, or better yet, when necessary.
We have plenty of plan "B"s, have no fear! The only thing, in my opinion, that needs to be addressed to the MAX is the $$ aspect and that is where all of the other plans come in handy!
If everything else doesn't go as planned, "just roll with it"!
I've been trying for ears to live the "island" lifestyle here in Atlanta, and trust me... It has to be much harder here than it is down there! That's why we're moving!
As always, if there's enough $$$ behind you, it sure makes it easier to smooth out the wrinkles.
I agree with eagleray, that no amount of planning can prepare you for the "change in pace".
I have lived in three different islands, one being STX, all with subtly different cultures, but the same thing happened in all three. We would get a new manager fresh from the USA. He would be full of enthusiasm about what he was going to accomplish. The more enthusiasm he started with, the quicker he would become disillusioned.
Island life is wonderful, but you need to be able to relax and be very flexible.
Soon, Pretty soon, and Maybe soon is only a little part of Island time. It can be fun at times.
Well thanks guys for all the information and comments that I got.. I have read through the past threads and learned a great deal from the website but I was thinking about a somewhat more refined picture. Like can I get a liscense right off the plane. Well probably not cause I dont have a residence yet. How to fill out applications at jobs with no permanant residence. will they mind. Is it better to have place to live first or try to find a job first. or do I need a health permit. for any kind of job I have seen this mentioned but wasnt sure what kind of job it refrenced to. do I need to switch phone numbers after I get there or before. which is easier. there are lots of things. What are the most important things to pack in my luggage. I obviously cant send mail to an address I dont have yet. I have heard the mailboxes. etc claim. I guess I kinda mean If you had a second go around what would you have learned from the first. I am a firm believer that you learn from your mistakes. but I havent had the chance to make any yet so Id like to learn from yours Thanks again Jason As far as the island time thats the whole reason I coming. Im so glad its as noticeable as it is. Happy Sunshine 🙂
Again, what island? You'd need a health card if you'll be a food server/bartender/cook, etc. Have you been to the VI before? Why not do a pre-move visit? Most places you rent will require a first & last month's rent + security. You'll need deposits for utilities. Get a Vi phone number as many don't like calling long-distance numbers which is what your current cell phone would be.
You need to read the threads here & the moving stories.
Which island? What have you heard about Mailboxes, Etc.? Were you referring to the private mailbox company or a more generic reference to just mailboxes? If you let Mailboxes, Etc. know you will be receiving something, they will hold it for you. That's on St. Croix. There are private mail services on St. Thomas as well. Red Hook Mail Service is great.
A health permit is actually a food handler's card, which pretty much describes it. If you want to work in a bar or restaurant, you must get one. Do a search about 90 days out, and you will find a good thread on that subject.
Getting a driver's license doesn't need to be a top priority. You can certainly drive here on your stateside license. I even bought 2 cars, got them registered and insured before I got a VI license. That was years ago, however.
As to getting a job with only a temporary address, shouldn't be a problem. Some employers will want to be sure you are planning on staying, but a lot of restaurants just want people for season. What type of job will you will looking for, and when are you planning on arriving? By the way, I wouldn't mention to a prospective employer that you are here to enjoy "island time". The laid back attitude doesn't reach quite that far.
I am sorry. I am referring to St Thomas.
I moved down in Sept. The first and most important thing to do is get a p.o. box. With that you get everythng else. It proofs you have a roof over your head on the island. I hope that your plan B will work, cause it might take to plan F to get island life right.
I've only lived on STX for 3 months......My advice-island life is a whole lotta "soon come " which means...yeah, it will happen....but not anytime soon.
Be patient. I bought a car 2 months ago ( I still have my Ohio license). My 1st temp tag for the car expired & I never got the license plates. I went to the dealership & they gave me another 30 temp. tag since the plates weren't in yet! Meet as many people as possible. Friends help friends.... The more people you know,the more you're informed 🙂 Good Luck!!!!
island time.........my yard guy told me 5 weeks ago he'd be over the following week to fix my driveway, still waiting. I know he'll come eventually and do a great job, but........
Just think, if someone would advertise in the AVIS that they would do the job you are asking for within 24 hours or it's free, how much business they would get. They could call it "On (island) Time".
Granted I do believe contractors here take longer here then stateside but even stateside getting a contractor to do something within 24 tends to be a big stretch. All you have to do here is be good, thats rare enough, and I'm happy to settle for it. Whats your hurry anyways? If it is an emergency and you've built up a reputation with a good contractor I've never had one say they wouldnt come that day or tomorrow. Didnt you guys all come for the relaxed attitude?
yard guy is here now mowing the lawn but not fixing the driveway,lol
In Grenada, we borrow neighbors goat. Stake it to the lawn with long rope, chump, chump, soon grass gone.
Neighbor no pay for feed. Goat belly full. Ironman on the beach, more rum.
One Love Ironman
i know ironman we used to let the goats in the yard and they'd do that but they also ate the bananas,palms the tomatos and anything else that was not hard, the same with the horses.
I`d like to try my wife's bunny rabbit (I call it goat rat) to eat the green, though I know she wont let me(she thinks everything is poison for it jeez!).
To answer Jason, I got hired many years ago to work on a big yacht docked here, I wanted to impress them with good service, my knowledge, & perform a correct, proper repair for them(despite they docked here in St. Thomas during the 80`s).
I was able to provide the professional service, & located their problem quickly which did impress the Engineer as he was struggling with this problem for weeks in the islands.
They had a fuel plumbing problem that required a fairly standard fitting which also changed pipe sizes.
When I went into the marine store, showed the guy behind the counter the 2 sizes I wanted to join, he messed around the pipe fitting bins for quite awhile, I was getting antsy as I wanted to return quickly with the correct parts & install them.
The man handed me 7 fittings, 12"(this for 3/8" pipe, a small pipe size) long as it was the only way he could adapt from one size to the other with the fittings he had!
I thought he was joking!
I went through the fittings myself & he wasn`t!
I told him "I can`t put this thing on that boat, they`ll think I`m nuts & throw me off"!
I went back to the boat, explained that I would need to go to several stores as our plumbing supplies were quite limited at the marine store, apologized & spent 3 hours, two taxis (everyone didn`t drive their own cars in those days) & ended up with the same ridiculous contraption I started with!
That`s Island Time! There`s NOTHING you can do about it no matter how hard you try!
Just be lucky to get it done/to work... though, they never did hire me again or return to St. Thomas!
I`m certain they removed my mess (I`m also certain it worked all along until somebody in Miami shook his head & said"Island mechainics"... as he replaced it thinking why didn`t they just use 1 fitting)!