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Moving to US Virgin Islands

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jkappel
(@jkappel)
New Member

My girlfriend and I are thinking about relocating to the US Virgin Islands. For people who have done this before, what is the best way to go about finding a place to live and a place to work on the islands? We are worried about flying down there, not being able to find a place to stay and blowing all of our money on a hotel. Are there couch surfing programs or anything that helps people get set up down there? How did you guys do it? I would love hear some stories about how people did it, so I am not begging for money to get a plane ticket back to the mainland 6 months after I get down there.

Thanks

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Topic starter Posted : May 26, 2015 2:20 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Have you read all that's available here on the site from the drop-down menus top of this page to all the related topics covered on the forum? (Search engine is a great tool, just change the dates to "all").

I certainly don't mean to come across as unwelcoming but exactly the same question has been asked by countless others over several years - and this site was created to provide you that information right at your fingertips. You can't find a better source so dig into all those topics! They'll give you an excellent overview so you can better determine if such a move would be a good one for you to make and then, if you need answers to more specific questions, ask away. Happy researching!

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Posted : May 26, 2015 8:46 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

Agree with the above poater. Have you thought of which Island ypu would like to live on do you have money for first. Last and security. Do you have money to last a few months until you can find something we are coming into the slow seaaon, at least on stx. What about transportation? You have to ask yourself a lot of questions. And answer them. After you have figured out that, come back and ask specific questions

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Posted : May 26, 2015 11:15 am
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Expert

There are very few jobs available in the Virgin Islands and those that are available pay less than poverty level wages. I'd take Old Tart's advise and read, then re-read all the information presented here. This is not somewhere you want to be stranded without money or a job.

As far as my situation...we bought an established business here and didn't need to worry about finding a job. But living in paradise is very expensive and takes a lot of hard work and determination to succeed.

Good luck!

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Posted : May 26, 2015 11:28 am
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

It is expensive, but doable. We are not living in a gated community by any means and I work at a job that pays above median income but the nickel/dime things here add up. Quicker than you think. We can survive here, but to thrive here we know my wife will have to go back to work at some point. I somehow worry far less about money here than I did stateside though?

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Posted : May 26, 2015 11:38 am
SausageInTheCan
(@SausageInTheCan)
Advanced Member

You make certain you bring about 10k with you to cover your first, last and security deposit. You will probably need a cheap car to get around. The rest will sustain you until you find work. Make sure you have an exit strategy in place also.

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Posted : May 26, 2015 12:39 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Also, finding employment in the island has its own set of challenges. Most employers won't even consider hiring anyone who isn't "already here" so you'll need to bring enough money to tide you over until you find suitable employment.

How long it takes to find employment depends on what type skill set you have. Some jobs here, especially those related to the tourist industry, are seasonal as may business don't begin ramping up until November and start laying off people after in May & June.

Bring enough cash with you to support yourself for at lease 6 months (a years living expense would be better) - if you fid employment before that time all well and good - you'll have extra money in the bank. If not you'll at least have given it a fair shot.

Good Luck.

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Posted : May 26, 2015 1:03 pm
hanco2312
(@hanco2312)
New Member

JKappel

my boyfriend and I are in a similar situation. We bought one way tickets for September and are in the process of figuring everything out.

Where are you moving from and when do you plan to arrive?

At least you know you aren't alone 🙂

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Posted : May 26, 2015 5:38 pm
dabb21
(@dabb21)
Advanced Member

You def. Arent alone i move in 3 weeks by myself! This board at times may scare you but it really is helpful good luck

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Posted : May 26, 2015 6:35 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Welcome to the board, jkappel! Although my experience was many moons ago, I came down on a vacation to scout out the possibility of moving here. I decided to try it for a year; I did not burn any bridges back home. While I had a one-way ticket, I did keep enough money for a return ticket in reserve. There are no "couch surfing" programs of which I am aware. There are plenty of people who come down and turn around in 3-6 months, not sure anyone would want to provide a free spot for extras. LOL!! There are some places you can stay fairly inexpensively. Check out http://www.crystalpalaceusvi.com/. Self-proclaimed foster father, Ronnie has helped many of us lost souls. 😉

One question: Do you have a special talent or skill? Nurses, bookkeepers, teachers, allied health workers and several other professions need people. If you have a good work ethic, you will be in demand. Good luck.

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Posted : May 26, 2015 8:00 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

If you can only afford to couch surf, you cannot afford to move here.

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Posted : May 26, 2015 9:06 pm
wcpalmtree
(@wcpalmtree)
Active Member

Don't be thwarted by the nay sayers! Yes, you should have lots of money saved before you move, and yes you should have enough saved to leave if things don't work out for you, but don't let the people on this board scare you off.

This board is a very good reference for how to move here i.e. what to bring, how to ship your vehicle, what food will cost etc. But don't let the fear mongering on this site run you off. While I do believe everyone means well in painting the picture that life in paradise is not always paradise… it is totally doable and will be what you make it. If you move here with an open mind, are friendly, patient, and a hard worker you will do fine.

I moved here (STX) 2 days before Christmas, by myself, and on a very limited budget. I had no job lined up, no friends… just a deep desire to live in the Caribbean and to integrate myself into the Cruzan culture. I read posts on this board voraciously for over a year to learn as much as I could about how to get myself here cost effectively, and what to expect. About 3 months before I made the move, I stopped reading posts on this board entirely because (I personally felt) there were so many negative posts and people just lurking on this site waiting to jump on new comers that ask questions that have already been posed, or someone who says something silly like "can't wait to kick back in paradise!"

Do your research on how to move, and have a financial plan, but at some point you have to take a leap of faith if this is really what you truly desire.

My move to St. Croix went like this: I rented an apartment for one month at a lovely little place called "St. Croix Haven" located right off Northside Rd. It was one of the only places I could find on line that rents month to month. The apartment was clean, secure (tucked away from sight of the main rd… you wouldn't know it was there unless you knew what to look for), and situated nicely between Csted and North shore, right by Judith's Fancy. The apartment itself was nothing extraordinary, but what was extraordinary was the landlords. A fantastic couple named Gary and Juanita own the place and were an absolute joy to rent from. Juanita picked me up from the airport, gave me a big hug, took me grocery shopping and got me all settled in. When I arrived on the island, I had no vehicle, but was able to walk to a few places to eat close by, walked to the beach, and would bum a ride from Juanita when i needed to go further than I could walk. I still stop by to enjoy a rum and coke and the company of Gary and Juanita when I pass my old apartment.

I shipped my truck (before I left the states) from Florida to STX, through "Top of the Line Transport"… which was not a top of the line experience. It arrived 2 weeks late, and sat in customs for another week due to the insane amount of holidays that are celebrated in the VI. I got a taste of "island time" straight off the bat, which I am thankful for because it really slowed me down and taught me if Im going to make it here, I will need patience.
Within a month I met many fantastic people that were very eager to help me get established. I had many job offers, and options on housing. In my personal experience, i have found that if you go out and are friendly and approachable then you will make all the connections that you need to get established on this island. I was amazed at how seamlessly things fell into place and how obvious it was that the people that I met were put into my life for a reason.

I have lived here for 5 months, and I now have 2 jobs and more friends than I can handle from the East coast to the West coast. In my opinion, the 4 things that have gotten me the farthest down here is: Be friendly, be patient, be open to new experiences, and be a hardworking reliable employee.

My experience moving here may have been an anomaly, but I feel that if I had listened to all the warnings that people give you on this site, I would have never left Georgia. At some point, you have to take the reins and become the master of your own fate.

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Posted : May 28, 2015 1:43 pm
klpmtm
(@klpmtm)
Advanced Member

Awesome post WCPalmtree! Thank you for sharing!

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Posted : May 28, 2015 1:50 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

wcpalmtree got it right.

A bit of planning, a stash of cash, a positive, friendly and approachable attitude and patience will go a long way here or anywhere, for that matter.

Good luck to all and continued resilience!

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Posted : May 28, 2015 4:38 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

just wondering where you met your friends before you got a job? seriously this is a curiosity

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Posted : May 28, 2015 8:50 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

speee1dy: I met a ton of people on my look-see visit. I had an apartment waiting for me and a job offer the day I moved on island. I count these folks as friends to this day even though I don't see them as often as I once did. 🙂

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Posted : May 28, 2015 9:25 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

i was just curious because of how shy i am, hard for me to meet people.

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Posted : May 28, 2015 10:50 pm
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member

just a deep desire to live in the Caribbean and to integrate myself into the Cruzan culture.

I believe wcpalmtree hit the nail on the head here. The difference between the people who transplant here and stay here and the people who come here and leave is the deep desire to want to be here and the ability to integrate themselves with the culture.

In my experience, the number of people who stick around are FAR out numbered by the people who come and then leave whether it be after two weeks or after 5 years. The negativity seen on this board comes from years and years of combined experience of seeing people come and go. A lot of people just don't have what it takes or don't have the ability to adapt to living here. And for the people who do have what it takes to live here, probably the three biggest things that would take us away from here would be health issues, children, and family issues stateside.

Some of us came down with little more than a wing and a prayer, but it would be irresponsible of us to recommend others do the same. It can work, but it can also be disaster. I think the people who contribute here actually have a pretty deep sense of community over all or else they wouldn't bother contributing. For the most part, I think people on this forum don't try to tell people not to come, they try to get people to take off the rose colored glasses before they make the leap. There is a ton of very useful information on this forum and people have to individual decide whether or not the information is useful to, or applies to, themselves.

If you haven't already, go read this thread, Leaving Stories There are also several posts about arriving here

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Posted : May 29, 2015 7:12 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Thumbs up, Julie. The reality is that however you say it and however many times you say it, you're going to be saying it a million more times in a million different ways in the years to come and those come-and-go critics still won't be satisfied. Describe a positive (or disagree with a negative) and you're wearing "rose-colored spectacles"; describe a negative or a simple reality and you're a "doomsayer". It's just the best feeling and makes it all worthwhile when somebody approaches you and simply says. "thank you - you helped me enormously!" 😀

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Posted : May 29, 2015 8:52 am
kakalee
(@kakalee)
Advanced Member

Look at airbnb.com under shared lodging for a not private but cheapish stay. I never saw it said on this board but saint croix buy or sell your stuff on facebook had a post that rang true. It suggested STT if you need to have a job. Had I seen that before spending 8 months searching for work, I suspect live would have been better even tho rent is higher

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Posted : May 29, 2015 5:25 pm
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

just a deep desire to live in the Caribbean and to integrate myself into the Cruzan culture.

I believe wcpalmtree hit the nail on the head here. The difference between the people who transplant here and stay here and the people who come here and leave is the deep desire to want to be here and the ability to integrate themselves with the culture.

I have to disagree somewhat. I know many who have moved down here and have no desire to integrate themselves with the culture or make friends with locals. They live in a bubble. Only socialize with people of their same color (their Facebook pages only show friends from home or people who transplanted here that live in the same bubble). They've lived here for many, many years. The only times you will see them socializing with a local is if that person is doing work for them or they work in the same environment. I've heard the Chili Cook-Off being the only Caucasian event on island for the year. I've seen and heard them make fun of the culture and some even post pictures online.

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Posted : May 29, 2015 8:01 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

the chili cook off is not a white event. all people go to that. all people participate in it.

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Posted : May 29, 2015 8:12 pm
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

the chili cook off is not a white event. all people go to that. all people participate in it.

True, but that is what I heard many, many times and even read on Facebook. I was even told that face to face by someone. I was dumbfounded and didn't know what to say :S

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Posted : May 29, 2015 8:54 pm
BeachcomberStt
(@BeachcomberStt)
Trusted Member

the chili cook off is not a white event. all people go to that. all people participate in it.

True, but that is what I heard many, many times and even read on Facebook. I was even told that face to face by someone. I was dumbfounded and didn't know what to say :S

I should elaborate on what the person meant when I was told that the Chili Cook-off is the only Caucasian/white event during the the year. It was explained to me that that the majority of events are for West Indians; Carnival events, boat rides, beach jams, etc., so this person and friends (all Caucasian) all look forward to the Chili Cook-Off each year because it has a very, very, very high majority of white participants, entertainment, and audience, compared to any other event on island during the year, with a low turnout of any other race/ethnicity. That was told to me many, many years ago from someone who definitely has a chip(s) on their shoulder(s).

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Posted : May 29, 2015 11:50 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

They also call the opening night of the carnival village on STT White Night, because that's when more white people show up.

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Posted : May 30, 2015 12:10 am
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