How did you do it?
I wonder if those of you who successfully made the move from wherever to the US VI would be willing to share how you got started. Was there one thing that made you decide? I'd be willing to bet that there are some wonderful stories out there. It would also be interesting to hear where home used to be.
How did you begin the process of detaching yourselves from work, houses, cars, etc.
How did you find a job, place to live, health insurance, etc.
What things would you never do again?
What things are you glad you did do?
What made you choose your island? Would you choose it again?
What opportunities do you see around you?
Is there anyone with environmental allergies that can tell me how big a problem they are for you in the US VI?
Thanks in advance for sharing!
My comments might not compare with most others because it seems like the very large majority of posters are on either STT or STX. We are on STJ which makes everything a little different from the beginning. We are also in what seems to be a minority of newer residents here. STJ is very expensive and newer residents seem to be either the ones who can afford to spend $1million on a house or are in their young 20's, or childless. We decided to make the move at 39 & 49 with a 9 year old in tow and one in college in the states.
As far as what made us decide to move? Life. We lost my mother in a very young, ugly way and almost a year later, lost my stepson. Life was once again reminding us how short it is. We were beyond tired of our previous self-employment and my husband LOVES the water. We just decided one day that we had enough and if we were ever going to do something this "crazy" we better do it now.
We started by selling our house, downsizing my huge vehicle, selling our business in Texas and ended up buying a tourism related business on STJ. We just did it each step at a time, stopping along the way about a million times, chuckling and asking ourselves if we really had any idea what we were getting into.
We created our "job" with the new business. Housing is exactly as you will read on the board over and over again. How you find housing is usually by being here looking. Our moving process involved so many flights back and forth that I lost count. Although we've had okay housing, we are on a never ending quest for unfurnished rental housing now. On STJ that is a very difficult thing to find.
What things would I never do again? I'm not sure yet. Sure, I could make a list a mile long right now but I still don't feel like we've worked out our kinks yet enough to comment on that. I will say that I never really understood the comments from others about leaving their possession in the states for awhile at first "until they decide for sure they want to stay". We shipped a 40' container with everything we own. I suppose I wish we would have waited but not "to see if we want to stay", just because I would feel better with all our things sitting in the states rather than here while we find empty long-term housing. We came down with the opinion that going back wasn't an option. This move has to and will work out.
What things are you glad you did do?...had the nerve to make the move. My husband is so in his element. I've never seen him this happy and probably nothing else would even come close.
What made you choose your island? We come from a quieter, smaller area in the states and new that for us even STT or STX was too busy and large. We came for the water and found STJ best suited for our plans for a water related business. Even with the headaches, so far, we would definitely choose STJ again.
What opportunities do you see around you? Interesting question. I'm not sure exactly what you are asking? Employment wise, very little, unless you plan to own a business or are bringing with you a career that fits into island life. Family wise, great opportunities to bond and spend time together in a wonderful environment. We have more quality friends now than we both have ever had in our entire adult lives. We've also met more arrogant, controlling, rude people than we've ever had to deal with in any one place. Education wise, that's still up in the air.
In our case, we continually dealt with mild allergies in the states and have been surprised that we've not had much of a problem at all. In fact, the only slight problem seems to be this past couple weeks and only at night. We'll keep our fingers crossed on that one.
Are you planning a move or just doing some research? Which island?
I've read this forum for a long time but don't normally post. Despite it's drawbacks (which is why I don't normally participate), it is a wonderful source for just about everything you could think of to ask about.
Yes we are from the Detroit area! Sterling Heights to be exact.
I would love to hear what your plans are and how things go for you. We are just in the beginning stages of exploration but are pretty committed to making a move somewhere in the Caribbean. We have family that has property in Belize and have looked at Panama but are leaning toward the USVI. It just seems that it would be a little less of a shock that way.
I don't have to tell you how uncertain things are in Michigan. Both my husband and I work in auto related fields and it seems that you never know what tomorrow will bring job-wise. So why wait? Besides dealing with my darn allergies (I live in air conditioning here--can't open the windows), the only thing I really couldn't live without is internet access.
I envy you your deadline. Best of luck to you!
Thanks for all the info. My heart goes out to you for your losses. I applaud your bravery and hope to follow in your footsteps.
Working in tourism really appeals to us too. My husband, like yours, loves the water. He lives for the times he can go diving and has already taken advanced classes as well as first aid training with an eye toward the future.
Because of the expense involved we haven't even looked at St. John. It sounds like a wonderful place but probably out of our price range. We are just getting our daughter married and our son is still in college. Hopefully he will choose to follow us. It breaks our hearts to think of leaving her behind so pat yourselves on the back for making the move while your youngest child HAD to go with you. I hope the college aged one joins you with a degree in hand.
St. Croix appeals to us. We visited there recently and it seemed to be in a growth phase. We would like to go back for an extended visit to really get a feel for the place.
A lot of what you wrote hit home with me. We too would make the move with a no turning back attitude. While I wouldn't ship everything I own (I'm not all that attached to most of it and downright hate some of it LOL), there are some pieces that I will not part with and don't care what it costs to get them over there!
I am curious about the rude, arrogant people. Were they tourists or residents? It really doesn't matter much, there is no shortage of rude, arrogant people to deal with anywhere you go but I am still curious.
Thanks for sharing Kelly!
East Ender- Funny how I didn't really think about that too much at first...but now that I am, that does seem to be true. The ones that really get to me though are the homeowners and/or business owners who act like they rule and own the island just because they "own" their home....and it doesn't even matter that the only reason they might own that home (on a ridiculously expensive island) is that they got here enough years earlier to be able to afford it but couldn't now.