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[Sticky] Living in the Virgin Islands Experiences & Survey  

 

Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
May 24, 2020 1:52 pm  

Over the years, our site’s members have asked questions like “do we know if many of our readers have actually moved to the Virgin Islands”, or “do we know why they moved”, or “why they left”.

We asked our readers these questions over the last year through a survey.

The replies are brief, but collectively provide a great deal of insight through personal experiences and through tips. By sharing them it is our hope that you discover questions about island living that you need to research before making the move, that the VI community learns something about itself from the experiences of those that gave their dream of island living a chance, and to help new residents learn about the VI community that they are joining.

We will share a few replies each month.

If you want to participate in the survey, please do. It is applicable to those that considered moving but did not end up moving, those that did move and are still living on island, and those that came to the VI and moved away. Go to “Living in the USVI Survey”.

Thank you & Enjoy. 

 

 

 


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Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
May 24, 2020 1:56 pm  
These are the experiences of VIMovingCenter.com readers related to living in the Virgin Islands. 
 
"I lived in St. Thomas for 1-2 years, but no longer do. I came to the island solo, and worked in the education field. I moved there for the adventure of it, and for the island atmosphere. One of the reasons I left is that I had trouble meeting people, and making friends. I am glad that I tried it out, I learned a lot about myself." 
 
"I lived in St. Thomas for 1-2 years. We came to the island as a family with 2 kids. Our plan was to go somewhere "fun" for a year before it was time to put our kids in school. We wanted a U.S. place with an "island lifestyle". It was Hawaii or the USVI. We stayed for 1 year as we had planned, but honestly we were ready to leave after 8 months. The novelty wears off. There are conveniences that are lacking. Service is VERY slow, and we got the feeling from customer service personnel that we were bothering them just by coming by their store." 
 
"I lived in St. Thomas briefly, under a year, having moved there with a friend. We were looking for an adventure, good weather, and my friend was moving so I went along. I didn't stay longer because of my boyfriend, and lack of resources. Overall it was an amazing experience, I enjoyed the community and found the experience to be very unique."
 
"I lived in St. Croix for 6-10 years. I moved for work and for the weather, and came solo. I left because the hurricanes in 2017 ruined my business. A tip for people thinking about living there - you have to be OK with simple living." 
 
"We've been on St. Croix for 11+ years. We moved here in search of a different lifestyle, better weather and the tropics. My wife and I visited and we enjoyed the culture, and started researching moving. It’s not for everyone. The shortcomings include lack of availability of some products and services. Good healthcare is lacking." 
 
"I moved to St. John and I am still here 11+ years later. I came to the island solo, for the climate and the culture. I don't think the islands are for everyone. Anyone who wants to replicate their CURRENT life but in a location with better weather - will be in for many surprises." 
This post was modified 4 months ago by Islander

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Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
June 5, 2020 1:26 am  

These are the experiences of VIMovingCenter.com readers related to living in the Virgin Islands. 
 
"I lived in St. Thomas for 6-10 years. I went to the island on vacation, met a man that lived there, fell in love, married, and eventually we moved back to the states for our careers. We left because it was just time for other opportunities. My take away and tip for others is that most people dream of living on an island and leaving all their problems behind. They don't realize that living on an island has its own set of problems and challenges. The beaches are beautiful and the culture is intriguing, but jobs are scarce and the cost of living is outrageous. It is a balance, just like anywhere else."
 
"I lived in St. Thomas seasonally, for under a year. I made the move for a seasonal job and for the climate, nature and water sports. First round I was there solo, on the second round I moved with a girlfriend. There are many challenges to living there: high cost of living, limited career opportunities, lack of non-vacation-rental housing, transport, environmental degradation, unsustainable ecological practices, increasing hurricane frequency and strength, summer heat, terrible government bureaucracy, lack of national democratic engagement, and unreliable tax system. There is a large gap between vacationing there and living there. Unless you are wealthy and can afford a vehicle, real estate, frequent airfare, etc., then daily life on island requires a lot of inconvenience and sacrifice. Remoteness and isolation from mainland family, friends, current events, etc. further complicates things. I also witnessed more than a few who, for lack of discipline, could not manage the work-party balance, fell on substance abuse, and spun out of control. In spite of it all, there was much to love about the place: access to incredible experiences in nature, healthy community organizations, and a sense of potential for improvement."
 
"I lived in St. John for under 2 years. I moved with a friend and headed to St. John looking for SUNSHINE! I found an apartment that was available right in town before I moved. Having an affordable place to stay when I got there was what convinced me. One of the reasons I left was that I was not prepared for the animosity that exists between the 'ex-pats' and the natives. Tip for others: Finding a place to live is difficult on St. John."
 
"I currently live on St. Croix, and have for 3+ years. I moved there solo but with pets. I like the peaceful nature and friendly people of the island. I was tired of states, of the traffic, noise, air and light pollution. I don't believe island life is for the masses as many prefer a more hectic (happening) lifestyle."
 
"We currently live in St. Croix and have for 11+ years. We moved here because we like the weather, people, and the views above and below the water. We visited the island and area many times before deciding to move here. Tip: If people are not running away from something then moving to the island can be a positive choice." 
 

This post was modified 4 months ago by Islander

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Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
June 17, 2020 1:01 am  
These are the experiences of VIMovingCenter.com readers related to living in the Virgin Islands. 
 
"We, wife and I, lived in St. Croix for 6+ years and loved it. We were retired. We left because of family issues. I don't think living on St Croix is for everyone, it is very different from living in the States. Not everyone can handle those differences."
 
"I lived in St. Croix for over 3 years. I went there following a dream, accompanied by my spouse. The slow pace and the friendliness of the people are what attracted us. I loved the island people and they came to accept us. We made many friends there. We left because of infrastructure issues and economy. The government did not care about the island's tourism. The sewer outside our store stank to high-heaven, vagrants on the street on ship days chasing tourists away. When we asked to have the sewer cleaned we were told it had been like that for 30 years and there wasn't anything to be done. I don't think living in St. Croix is for everyone."
 
"I lived in St. Thomas for 3-5 years. I was looking for a change and warmer weather. We moved as a family - husband, wife, and one child. It really was a leap of faith. Everything just fell into place for us. We left because our son was going to college and it was time to move back to mainland to be near family. Obviously not for everyone but if you have an open mind and willingness to accept a different way of life, its amazing. Honestly, probably best decision for myself and family."
 
"I live in St. Thomas with my boyfriend. We moved for a work opportunity just under a year ago. If you like warm weather and sunshine, yes island living is for you. But, you also have to be ready to give up certain amenities and conveniences you have on the mainland."
 
"I currently live in St. John and have for over 11 years. My motivations for moving to St. John were that I wanted to be warm in the winter, and wanted to snorkel and relax. I moved solo, and have never left because I fell in love with someone living here. Some of the cons are that it is very expensive, it is limited in availability of goods, services & things to do. And hurricanes are terrifying. My tips: If Paradise was easy, it would be a lot more crowded. Try it out if you can, for at least two months, before moving here."
This post was modified 4 months ago by Islander

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Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
July 9, 2020 6:41 pm  
These are the experiences of VIMovingCenter.com readers related to living in the Virgin Islands. 
 
"I currently live in St. Croix and have for over 11 years. I chose St. Croix for the slower pace, and for an adventure. Also, my father was born here and I wanted to meet my extended family. I came down solo. You have to be very broad-minded to live here."
 
"I lived in St. Croix for 2 years. I moved there because I love scuba diving in the Caribbean, and living in U.S. territory was easier than dealing with living in a foreign country. I moved with my spouse and we continued working at our stateside jobs, remotely. We left St. Croix because my husband's company required him to come back to working in the office. Is living in St. Croix for any and every one - Absolutely no. We loved it, but it takes a certain personality/mindset - relaxed, patient. Type A people will have a hard time dealing with the... "leisurely" way in which business is conducted."
 
"I lived in St. Thomas for 2 years, came for work with my spouse. We left because the economy is unstable (post-Irma). Its a good place to move to when you are young - good money to be made for the young and beautiful in the tourism industry. Tip: If you move to the islands, you have to know that you are a visitor, its their island."
 
"I currently live on St. Thomas, going on 4 years now. Moved to the islands because I was done with the rat race stateside. Moved with my hubby. We chose St. Thomas because of the beauty, the affordability and the people. Anyone can live here, as long as material things aren't very important to you. It was and still is the best decision we have made. Life here reminds you of what's important in life."
 
"I currently live in St. John, its been almost 2 years. Always wanted to retire in the U.S. where there was turquoise water, white beaches and wonderful people. The cost nearly prevented us from fulfilling this lifelong dream, but my family did it - we moved to St. John, USVI. It's not for everyone. It's not easy getting here. If convenience is important to you, this place is not for you."

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Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
July 29, 2020 1:02 am  

These are the experiences of VIMovingCenter.com readers related to living in the Virgin Islands.

“We currently live here and have for over 6 years. We loved visiting and wanted to become a permanent part of the St John community. My wife moved first while I got rid of our stuff and got our house ready to sell. Oldest son moved with me, and younger one came after he completed college. Both have since moved back stateside. Timing was right, I had lost my job, youngest son was in last semester in college, just seemed like the universe was saying 'what's holding you back?". Had to leave for 6 months after Hurricane Irma due to nowhere to live, and no internet, which I need for one of my jobs. Island living is not for everyone. Not everyone is cut out for the inconveniences that are a part of daily life, as well as the relative scarcity of things to do. We have never looked back and have no plans to leave, but realize that while it is paradise, it is not a utopia.”

“Been in St. John for a long time. I moved to the VI for adventure when I got out of college, to teach school. I arrived in 1966 and left in 1968. I moved back in 1980 and moved aboard my boat. I have been there ever since. In a lot of ways living in the VI is like living in a 3rd world country. It is not like living in the northern 48. You must be able to put up with a lot and get used to doing without. If you are planning to move to the VI, come here for an extended period, not just a short vacation, before you pull the plug. Make sure you can put up with it before you do.”

“I lived in St. Croix for a couple years with my husband. We love St. Croix... friendly people, small community, nice beaches, nice food, but very expensive to rent now. The cost of living was the reason we left. Renting in St. Croix is expensive, as well as going to restaurants and events, not affordable. It is not for everyone because it is very costly. It is not for retirees, or people with a fixed income. It is only for rich people, or people who live off welfare, either of those. People should do a lot of research before making the move or visit and stay for a while. The utilities are very high, and you will also need a generator, it’s all very costly.”

“I currently live in St. Thomas. It has been about a year. Moved here for the clear blue beautiful water, and sandy beaches. My tip for others: Islanders from St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix are by nature cold, hard, rude and don’t realize how unpleasant they are towards others from other cultures. They are unhelpful, unsupportive, unfriendly and judgmental."

“I lived in St. Thomas for over 6 years. My family and I moved there looking for a laidback lifestyle. I loved vacationing there. The water clarity, the sand, the down island views. We left because I felt trapped. I wanted a normal life again. Tired of high cost of groceries for such a limited variety. Island living is not for everyone. People that love to go shopping, love having lots of entertainment options, and have kids should seriously consider moving carefully. It is such a beautiful place and I have made lifelong friends that I am still in constant communication with. I would not trade the learning experiences for anything. We learned so much about ourselves and true grit while we lived there.”


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Islander
(@the-islander)
Member Moderator
Joined: 16 years ago
Posts: 3028
September 1, 2020 1:47 am  

These are the experiences of VIMovingCenter.com readers related to living in the Virgin Islands.

"We lived in St. Croix for 2 years. We were volunteers helping VI churches with their youth programs. My wife and I chose St. Croix because it is part of the USA and English is the popular language. We left after we completed our volunteer work and we moved to another island. For the average American it would be quite a cultural shock, everything is slow and difficult for an outsider, but locals seem to get along fine, and we did too after an adjustment of our expectations. It is a beautiful location with wonderful people, we truly hated to leave the friends we made. I think for outsiders it would be tough to invest in property given the hurricanes and extremely lengthy recovery. I would like to see the average citizen in the islands be able to afford non-government housing, raise their children and send them to college, and then have the children return to the VI and lead the islands fairly with competence and compassion."

"I lived in St. Thomas for a couple years. It was the right time to find a little bit of adventure and so we made the move. We both lived in a tourist destination in Florida and wanted to continue in the tourist industry. My boyfriend convinced me to move there, plus snorkeling and diving and hiking and 30+ beaches!! We left because it seemed like it was more dangerous, or the dangerous stuff was happening closer and closer to home. Drinking was getting out of control. We couldn't save much money. We had a load of adventures and fun, but it was time to go somewhere a little less lawless! Is it for everyone, Hell no!! When we lived in Florida, not even an island, you could jump in your car and go see your friends and family you miss so much, people in the islands can’t do that! No, island life is not for everyone. People miss family, have expectations that are unrealistic, or health issues – all of which cause people to move back."

"I at one time lived on St. John. I was there under a year. I was motivated to give it a try because I hate winter and wanted a slower pace of life. I received a job before hand and together with my wife, we made the move. The island and move put a strain on our relationship. Island living is not for everyone. Some people can't handle living on island time."

"I currently live on Water Island and have for over 6 years. I moved for the weather; I didn't like the cold anymore. I choose it because it is part of the USA. A tip for those that want to move to the USVI, you must be resilient and able to adapt."


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