More Q's: Quality of Life
Okay, so I've been reading and reading. My next question is this:
In general, are people working all the time in order to keep up with the expensive cost of living / lower income? It sounds like there would be no time left to enjoy your life, having to work 4 bizillion jobs... Or, do people simply learn to live modestly? I know that there is no clear cut answer to this...
I was talking with a friend of mine today at work. He is a young man, originally from Bosnia. He told me that in the US, you really only need two outfits - one for work and one for bed. That is so true in so many cases. We work, work, work so that we can make $$$. I can't remember the last time I sat and enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in the morning without rushing around. I know that this is all a matter of perspective no matter where you are, but what is the "general feel", in your opinion, of the quality of life on the islands?
People live modestly in many cases - enjoy their time off in various ways - often get a real job or 2cnd job doing something they enjoy - sailing, diving, beach work, landscaping, etc.
Clothing costs are really low in comparison unless you are working in the legal field, most other fields are pretty casual.
No Need for a Highway car that can go 70 mph or take you a 1000 mi. from home.
There is generally a total lack of the "keep up with the Jones" in the VI overall.
Rarely will someone ask you what you do for a living and categorize you accordingly. You can have friends from all walks of life easily.
If you need to have every modern and newest convenience here -- it will be more frustrating than expensive.
Many are retired or semi retired and have income from pensions or SS. Most live simply. It is easier if you have 2 sources of income, so couples do better. 2 may not be able to live a cheaply as 1, but 2 living together can sure do better than 1 living alone, which may mean 2 jobs.
Remember though there are a LOT more holidays.
On the other hand, only gov'mint workers get those. If you are self-employed, hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work you go!;) But when you look out the window on a day like today, you remember why people save all year to come visit here for a week.
And your time off is often spent so inefficiently in the VI - dealing with ANOTHER flat tire, super long lines at Plaza because it is food stamp day, driving to a restaurant that is randomly closed... I felt like I had less free time than ever. But we usually found time for a beach morning or afternoon most weekends.
I work full time and my time off is precious. I try to get in or on the water every weekend and take a dip maybe a few times a week after work.
Things definitely take more time here, like shopping and all the regular tasks. But I think my QOL is better than when I lived in the states. The pace is slower, exceptions are tempered. My ride to work passes by some incredible views and vistas. I work with some great people who are rarely "down". I have a sneaky view of the reef and the sea from the window in my office. My health is better as I spend more time outdoors and being active.
Once you establish a budget and some priorities things will fall into place.
The CATCH-22 of living in the USVI's (or any Caribbean island, for that matter) is the Cost of Living is high and wages are low. Many peopole either make significant adjustments in their lifestyle or hold two or, in some cases do both. There's an old saying that goes something like this: NAME YOUR ISLAND may be paradise but it's not heaven.
A lot of people think that the living on an island is all sitting under palm trees and drinking pina coladas. The truth is unless you have an independant source of income you still have to get up each day and go to work, you have to do all the daily chores such as cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the hose cutting the lawn, paying bills that you do where you now live (FYI - if you happen to be young, leaving home for the first time you'll be fending for yourself and won't have your mother around to do those things for you). So daily life in the islands is like anywhere else, you work 8 hours, you sleep 8 hours and you have 8 hours for everything else be it chores, commuting or recreations. Take stock of how you spend your time where you currently live. It's not going to be that much different in the Caribbean. What is going to be different is your out-of pocket expenses will probably be higher unless you make adjustments in your spending habits and your "material needs".
Make your pre-move visit, learn as much as you can while you are on-island. Keep reading through the material on this website (I'd be willing to bet you've only just "scratched the surface" as there's some much info here it would take a month of Sundays to read it all), and evaluate all you've learned. Once you do that you'll have a good feel as to whether or not making the move is right for you.
The truth is unless you have an independant source of income you still have to get up each day and go to work, you have to do all the daily chores such as cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the hose cutting the lawn, paying bills that you do where you now live (FYI - if you happen to be young, leaving home for the first time you'll be fending for yourself and won't have your mother around to do those things for you).
Damn - I was hoping that the move came with personal assistants... (j/k) No, I am not leaving home for the first time. No, I do not expect a lavish lifestyle in which I am waited on hand and foot, sipping drinks on the beach. Yes, I better have SOME time to sip SOME drinks on the beach, otherwise there is no point in making this move.
From this point forward, I will refrain from asking questions on this board, and simply read... I have found it to be an excellent way to learn about logistics, lifestyle and the people living there.