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RELOCATING??? The Truth vs. Perception

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I made a promise to myself and the good people at that I would write a piece after relocating to St. Thomas, USVI. This site was extremely helpful in the success of my endeavor and I feel it is the least I could do. I felt it was important to wait a good five months before writing anything because relocating is one thing, but the transition is an entirely different animal. Before I begin my rant, I do want to make one point clear-What you read is clearly my opinion based on my experiences. Feel free to take it with a grain of salt because you know how the old saying goes, “Opinions are like @$$holes everybody has one.”


So before you just up and move, my advice would be to take a moment and evaluate the reasons why you want to relocate. Really, why? Because there are times when you are going to get aggravated while living here (You will. Don’t kid yourself.) and that is when you go back to the point of origin, “Hey the reasons why is…” If you possess defined, solid reasons to relocate then it will make it easier to deal with the transition.

A nice lady at a bar once told me, “We are all here, because we’re not all there.” There is some truth to that and brings me to my theory-All “relocaters” can be filed under three categories-HIDING, ESCAPING, and/or SEARCHING. Numerous relocaters can be under more then one category. I am a prime example; escaping and searching. Here is a quick background check and I will make it short and sweet. Back in the states I found myself newly divorced, and employed at a job that hit the ceiling. My artistic, creative side had been stomped to the ground by the “reality rat race” sometime ago, but was starting to call to me. In order to rejuvenate my suppressed being, I had to escape where nobody knew me, no obligations, no connections, and no excuses. On the same token, I was also searching. I took a wrong turn in life a while back, really got lost, and then found myself searching for a new map. What better place to find this map then an enchanted island, surrounded by crystal blue waters? Isn’t that what sells you? I visited many of the islands in the Caribbean ten years ago when I was a Navy Squid. I told myself that if I ever got the chance I would move to an Island. I was sold on the laid back atmosphere and the beautiful scenery. So it was now or never. Decision made, case closed.


I just want to say this before I go on:

If you are a depressed, closed minded person with high expectations and under the impression that once you escape here to be showered with a Poo Poo platter of bliss and positive energy in paradise-You will be disappointed.

To the ones who are escaping an addiction/problem with alcohol or drugs, “Don’t come here.” Your chances are better in a dry county somewhere in the Midwest. The second down here you find yourself weak, the demons will literally knock on you door and make deliveries. To many islanders, drinking is a way of life. To others, the VI’s are conveniently close to Columbia, just look on a map. It is far too easy and prevalent. It’s almost ridiculous.


My goal here is not to bore you with insignificant, minor details-just the highpoints. The two words that must be in your pre-move plan are “organization and research.” Your last week home and your first month here can be rather hectic, but if you are organized and do the proper research you decrease that margin tremendously. The internet is a powerful tool in the relocation process. This site alone contains tons of useful info on making the transition. First, shop around for air fare, for you can find some descent deals. Take only what you need. You can have stuff shipped down later. Make sure you know the airline’s baggage weight and number limit. I had to forfeit two bills because one bag was overweight and had one to many. If I had done the proper research this could have been avoided. Find long term rental before you arrive (Villa Fairview, The Mafolie, Captain’s Quarters), have the rental car company (Dependable Car Rental) waiting for you when you arrive at the airport. Get a PO Box (Red Hook Mail Service) and a bank account (First Bank). The latter two can be done later, depending on your priorities. I thought it was necessary right off the back. Remember “organization and research” and you will be fine.


Don’t know? Ask somebody. You will not believe the amount of info you gain just by conversation. The post office, gas station, restaurants, bars, etc., it’s out there and all around. Most people are eager to help because chances are they have been in your shoes and know what it’s like. Where can I find good produce (Fruit Bowl)? Who has specialty items (Gourmet Gallery)? Who is a good mechanic (Carlos, at the Auto Clinic)? What’s a cool bar where I can chill that is not very touristy ( Epernay, Sopchoppy’s)? Ask questions and then ask questions on top of that. Shower them with questions. The more, the merrier. For example, I bought the “Beast” (90’ Mitsubishi Montero) from a nice couple that was leaving the island. I asked them if they knew of a good place to rent. They said, “Yeah, actually ours. We are leaving in a week. Come check it out.” So I found a nice, reasonable place with an incredible view from the same source I got the vehicle just by asking one simple question.


KEEP LEFT AND FOLLOW THE CARS IN FRONT OF YOU! “Nah, it ain’t really that bad.” But I will say having your own vehicle is not a must, but it’s a whole, helluva lot easier to get around. Important Note: Think Island Car-A dependable piece of Sh!++. I would not drive anything new here. The road conditions, terrain, driver error and disrespect can turn a good car bad with the quickness. Also, in my humble opinion, I would not ship your car from home. Not yet, anyway. Think about driving an island car first, then if you feel your gonna stay awhile then take action. I know a chef that relocated here on a job offer that shipped his car with the intentions of staying a while. He now hates his job, ready to move back to the states and now has to ship his “baby” back home.

As for as housing goes, the only thing I will say is, “Choose wisely.” This is going to be home; indefinitely. Make sure you are gonna be content with the place. If they give you a choice on the lease, six months or a year-take the six months. You may find something better in six months or decide island life is not for you and go back to the states. Try to find something with a view, they are out here. It’s a freakin’ Island for God’s sake. It’s nice for me to hop on the porch, drink my coffee and observe the arriving cruise ships. It’s inspiring.


If you’re here on a job transfer then feel free to scroll down to the next section. If you’re a job seeker-Find some source of employment, the sooner the better. The stash that you religiously rat-holed to come down here begins to deplete at a very steady rate. Restaurants, retail, and boat charters are always hiring. Get employed and if you are not satisfied; keep looking. At least you have some source of income. I was a little stressed about finding a job, but people reassured me, “If you wanna work, you will find a job.” It’s the truth, show some ambition and you will find some income. My background is Hotel Event Management but I found being a server in fine dining was geared more to my lifestyle. I can write in the morning and work in the evening. I am a creature of habit, and this schedule is perfect for me. Yeah, it would be nice to sit under a palm tree all day collecting my thoughts, but unless you are blessed with millions a job is a necessity.


Soon enough the newness will wear off like a good wax job. You will find a routine on a part of the island you call, “my stomping ground.” And yes, even in paradise you will be confronted with daily aggravations and inconveniences. In many ways this is third world living with a high cost flare. Sweating while you eat, paying over five bucks for cereal, drinking recombined milk, mosquitoes, power outages, mildewed clothing, island drunks, wannabe pirates, aggravating rastas, dumb tourists, taxi road hogs, cruise ship traffic, redundant radio commercials-I could piss and moan for days, but you get the point. Yet still, it is all worth it because chilling in the beautiful ocean with cool rum punch in hand at Maho Bay is an experience you will never duplicate. The opportunity to meet people from all over the United States is priceless. Breathtaking views and ocean pleasure is part of your daily life. These experiences are held in high regard and will be with me for the rest of my life.

Think of your time on the Island as an adventure. Your adventure, just do it smartly. Watch your back. Think before your act. It’s easy to get sucked into a life of straight partying here. Temptation lurks behind every palm tree. This place is filled with “Peter Pans” living under the impression that this is NeverNeverLand. They appear to be running from something and/or dodging reality. I once read an entry on this site while planning my escape that read, “It’s a great place to waste your life.” If this is the path you choose, then it can be found here. It’s evident all around, it’s present everyday. I will conclude this section with a chorus from a song by Handsome Boy Modeling School that sums it all up, “You can hide from the truth, but the truth is all there really is.” So have a purpose here and remember your goals.


As for me? Well, if you care. I will do a year here and move back to the states. I always new it would be temporary. It will be enough time to complete my writing and start things on the right foot back home. Sometimes in order to solve the problem you have to take yourself out of the equation. A year will be enough time to make that happen. Besides, for the same reasons I left home are the same reasons I miss it. I think with time on-island you come to appreciate what you left behind. A Mexican Pizza from Taco Bell anyone?

With all things said and done, I want to express that I have zero regrets moving down here. It’s something that I had to do. Again, it’s an adventure and I will cherish it for the rest of my life. Living here humbles your inner being and expands the horizon. How can that not make you a better person? So is it a burning desire to come down here? Do you want to take a chance? Change your map? Then like Bob Barker would say, “C’mon down!” Just remember living here-It is what it is. Don’t try to change it, but live with it and totally embrace it. Come find yourself, escape, hide, have a good time, live a little, be Peter Pan, watch your back, moderation is the key, think before you act, God bless, good luck, and may the force be with you.

Posted : August 31, 2005 9:36 pm
Posts: 2259
Noble Member

Very nice. Need to save this or refer to it again and again! Maybe after a year you will opt for another!


Posted : August 31, 2005 9:58 pm
Posts: 2552
Famed Member

Great Post!
A must read for everyone. I printed it off for furture reading.

Posted : September 1, 2005 12:01 am
Posts: 0
New Member

so what was aggravating about the rastas? and how was one a wanna be pirate?

Posted : September 1, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

Very nice, thoughtful review of settling in, X! All the best to you.

BTW, it is wonderful to know that there are still people who are able to write a sentence with correct grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Posted : September 1, 2005 8:27 pm
Posts: 3030

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences/opinions.

Folks that want to read other accounts we have them all together in the What to Expect section of the site, there are about 40 stories there. You can find them at

Thanks again Xtreema.


Posted : September 2, 2005 5:34 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

Great post that one will go down in my books!!!!!!!!!

Thanks again xtreema

Posted : September 2, 2005 8:20 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

You need to come home to the dirty south b/c I really miss your wit after reading this. You need to keep writing, the islands are bringing back that side of you and your writing that I so longed for. What about your website? Crank her back up.....

Posted : September 2, 2005 10:58 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

i have not seen you or talked to you in a long time. i loved reading about your experience and hell after hurricane katrina you may want to stay put. hope to hear from you more and your adventures in life. love ya, toni (remember me?)

Posted : September 3, 2005 8:31 am
Posts: 7
Active Member


Wow,just what I needed to read. That't me peterpan,hiding, escaping, and searching. I want to move there, but I'm so afraid that I will turn a corner and there I will be. Like you I think it would be nice to factor myself out of the picture around here for awhile-seems therepeutic in a way. I'm a nurse so I think I could get a job etc.. Just like a lot to do to get there and I can't get anyone to explaine the process step by step. I am someone who hasn't been anywhere so this type of moving is strange and my agent that I talked to there well.....

Back to the other stuff. Do you think you will move in a year? The azure waters-diving- you said it they are incredible. I hear all of this talk about island time and that alone sounds great. Let me share this- I have a friend who drinks a lot- hope you have time for this- you just seem so insightful I thought you help me see.

I have this male friend who I truely believe is a functional alcaholic. I mean he drinks bushmill whiskey everyday and one night I watched him drink 15 glasses on the rock's (for that's worth) and was able to walk, and didn't have a headache the next day. He admits to drinking a drink everyday-I'm not around that much so I don't know how much. I see the bottles stragtegicall placed on bookshelves and various places in his apartment-either as trophies or reminders of how much he hates what he does.

He has an occasional smoke on the wild side how often of that I am not sure. I know he did itone sat morning. I repeat MORNING. I can't figure out after almost a year of knowing him what he does for a living. I don't know maybe he get some compensation from a working accident, maybe an inheritance? I can say there is no sign of a job much anything that resembles a steady or even occasional job. Well once he claimed to be a male prostitute for "old lonely house wives" HHhmmm-I just have a hard time believing it.

I met him through scuba diving, everybody said what a great guy. He stood me up on our first date and we managed to do damaged repair and year later we see each other once a week. I don't see anyone and he see's anyone. I know just walk away-anyone who has ever cared or loved someone else know's it's just not that easy. So while I know he see's anyone who will see him, that I don't mean anything, I know he is a functinal alchaholic,is a self proclaimed prostitute, who smokes some maryjane who know what else, I still tend think this guy has (someday) something to offer society. He just about to get his b.s in p.e teaching, he is an accomplished scuba diver, he can paint as in artist, he is althletic and loves and plays soccer.

It's just that he is colder than iceberg you will ever touch, he just about as distant as one. I am beyound concerned for him in his adventures to move stt (croix). He is moving nearly asap. He hanging up his degree and plans to move to paradise. He says he will be glad when he can say he has lived there for 5 or more years. Where am I going with all of this?

I'm concerned and envious. Will he find never never land and escape all that he is trying to hide from in my opinion or will those demons that will knock on your door, and the easy accepted drinking environment sink him to the bottom of that azure sea, which I long to swim in. He says he has friends there,but after reading your letter I hope he not too close to Colombia.

He really is a great guy with a lot of potential. I just hope he finds paradise,but given the existing conditions inside him and his secrecy about his life- well what will happen to this peterpan, this wendy would go to the ends of the earth to save, but how would I ever know when. So everybody-anybody do you think he find his paradise, his never never land or after a little while will he see, and once he see's will he be able to accept it?

Posted : September 3, 2005 2:16 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

Hey Joe,

Sounds like you're doing good there. I hope all is well and I can't wait until you come home. Great writing, keep it up!
Love you, Fatch

Posted : September 3, 2005 4:52 pm
(@Julie Newton)
Posts: 1
New Member


Glad to hear you are doing well. I feel alittle jealous at this point considering the last week around here has been somewhat out of the ordinary. I visited with Frances today and she looks great. Take care and hope to see you soon!



Posted : September 5, 2005 3:06 am
(@STT Resident)
Posts: 3
New Member

Dear Tina,

You're a nurse. Contract nurses here in the Virgin Islands get really sweet deals and you can cetainly research this where YOU are concerned.

Insofar as the "friend" is concerned, please re-read your post, and try to read it as a bystander

Users are very cleverly manipulative and your friend falls into this category bigtime. He has talents and probably a rather high IQ, a manipulator supreme and we see them here in the islands ad nauseum. They don't last too long here but last long enough to create enormous damage to those with whom they come into contact.

You're being led up a wonderfully enticing garden path in perceiving a bigtime user and probably abuser as someone who is "cold as ice" sometimes, very sweet at other times ...

Dear Tina, please be very wary. I urge you to immediately get away from this "friend."

Please do post again if you need guidance from those of us who try to help!

Posted : September 5, 2005 5:20 am
Posts: 8
Active Member
Topic starter


I could make a feeble attempt to try to explain this phenomenon, but I don't think it would do them justice. It's best to come see for yourself.

Posted : September 5, 2005 2:08 pm
Posts: 8
Active Member
Topic starter


I will try to assist you the best I can...

I have met a few traveling nurses on the island and they all seem pretty satisfied living here. I don't think you would have a problem finding a job. I would definitely look into the traveling nurse program b/c from what I heard they give you per diem and pay for many of your expenses.

If it is your gut feeling to come down to the island and get away-then take a deep breath and make the proper arrangements. If you don't care for it in six months then who says you can't go back home? Don't live in regret.

Now, about your friend...WOW...Let's see...OK, first I feel that "Paradise" is a state of mind. Some people will go a life time searching for this tangible place. If your friend thinks he can run away to an island paradise where there are no demons he
is wrong. Like I said in my rant, to many alcohol is a way of life here. For example, there are places here where you can "pour your own poison." They do not have just a few drinks for happy hour, but get to the point where they possess zombie characteristics. Does this sound like a good place for an alcoholic to move to? Now don't get me wrong, not everybody is like that, but I do see it here more then back home. And again, this is an island-So you run into the same people frequently in a short period of time.

I guess what it simmers down to is that the only person that can help your friend is "himself." In my opinion, the preaching, caring, concern, etc. is a waste of energy. All you can really do is be there for him when he falls and finally asks for help-If he ever does.

I hope this helps...

Posted : September 5, 2005 2:50 pm
Posts: 5404
Illustrious Member

Tina: While you can get a short term position through a traveling agency, you will be asked to sign on as a "regular" after your tour. They used to re-up the nurses endlessly, which made for some bad blood with the staff nurses. And no, the staff nurses don't make as much, but their last negotiated raise kept them fairly happy.

Posted : September 5, 2005 5:31 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

Great rant - open, honest, & direct, Its a breath of fresh air to hear from you. You sound like you still got your head screwed on right, I'm glad to see that artistic side coming back out in you. I'm looking forward to hearing some more of your stuff. Same ol shit over here, except that CNN, FoxNews, and the likes driving this hurricane crap down our throat 24/7. I got quite a few comments of my own about that, but CNN hasn't asked my opinion yet yet...... Don't get in no big hurry to come home, B.R. ain't the same no more, we got a whole new Ultra-Ghetto underclass bringing down the quality of life for the entire town. Anyhow this aint my rant, so I'll let you go. Take care, smoke one for me, Talk at you soon! T-roy

Posted : September 6, 2005 12:48 am
(@Ryan A)
Posts: 1
New Member


Brother, enough said. Sounds like you're back in the groove. Don't let it get to your head. Stay the course you've set.

Be Safe you melt.


Posted : September 6, 2005 1:53 am
Posts: 8
Active Member

reading passages like that force me to think hard about moving down there, i see myself in everything that you said, i just hope i dont get down there, freak out, and then want to come back home to texas. i love to travel and will be going to the University down there so i will have a focus. it's like i feel it in my heart that i will like it... i hope that feelings right...just knowing that other people have had the same feeling of wanting to go and hide/escape/serach and then decide to come back home makes me feel a little less crazy!

Posted : September 6, 2005 4:31 am
Posts: 8
Active Member
Topic starter


That's real good Sassie.

Posted : September 6, 2005 5:19 am
Posts: 224
Estimable Member

Great Job. I get the picture.

Posted : September 8, 2005 6:01 pm
Posts: 15
Active Member

Well said, I've been here for almost two weeks now and have echoed many feelings and observations. Sometimes you just have to ignore the unpleasantness and focus on why you came down in the first place -- the gorgeous natural surroundings. Not to sound cheesy, I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life the other night outside a friend’s house on the Northside, suddenly the eternal wait at Banco Popular didn’t bother me as much.

Posted : September 8, 2005 9:05 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

I am so glad I read this. It really is one of the best things I have read up here. Definitly printing and saving for later! 🙂 I am realizing that moving to STX isn't going to be quite as much of a breeze as I had originally invisioned. I am so up for the challenge tho. I loved that you put in specific places. Do you happen to have any info on STX? I really hope that you continue to write about your adventures. Are you possibly reconcidering going back stateside so soon?

Posted : September 9, 2005 5:01 am
Posts: 8
Active Member
Topic starter


Sorry, I don't know too much about STX; I have never been there. The best way to get info is by combing the pages of this discussion board and asking plenty of questions. That is how I did it. The members of this board are eager to help-They are a fine group of people.

And to answer your last question, "Yes." I will be heading back to the states in April. It is the end of my lease and it will be enough time to complete my writing. Plus, with Katrina hitting my home town, I feel the need to get back.

Posted : September 9, 2005 3:24 pm
Posts: 1
New Member

Most awsome report from the islands.Truthfully though any where is probaly better than being 45 min form the under water city{new orleans}. Isaw some pics you sent back and looks pretty sweet down there.Have you been writing? You could probabaly write a whole movie on whats going on around here.SO you just made 31 huh? Man i hope i can live to be that old [hahahaha].Tonight im gonna drink a bloody mary just for you my friend.have you found a good bloody mary down there? Yea life over here is pretty bland but im content.Well dude ill type you later {throwing up the shocker symbol} peace jp

Posted : September 9, 2005 7:21 pm
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