I have always loved the ocean and I'm at a point in my life that I need a fresh start. I have been to St. Lucia and the BVI, but not anywhere in the USVI. I'm planning a pre-move visit the summer and I would like to talk to some people that have relocating experience. I'm a single 36 year old male with not much holding me down. My biggest fear is moving there and not finding a job. I'm a network admin now and I'm burnt out on the IT front. I would like to live on STJ because of the laid back vibe I hear about, but having fewer business's means less opportunities. As I said before, I love the water. I'm a certified open water diver though I haven't gone in a few years. I would like to have a job on a boat, but is it even possible to make a living on snorkel or scuba tours? Do most people starting out have to get two jobs to survive? What is daily life like on STJ? Any advice would be appreciated.
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Well you'll need a crap ton of more certs including Dive Master with a certain number of dives to even be looked at for a dive guide position - As a snorkel / boat tour / island tour guide that can name every critter in both our oceans - I'll say no. You can't live on that alone, you'll have to have a couple jobs AND room with someone. My approx income last year doing tours = $9k.... I've never been happier! Haha! I also do web and graphic design to pay bills in off season and I split all the bills with my honey. The good news is that if you're willing to do whatever it takes, you can always find a job on STT.
On St. John, Cruz Bay Watersports always seems to be hiring. I don't know if you could have just the one job… but it could be a start. A lot of people here are in the service industry to one extent or the other. Tipping jobs seem to be where people have the most earring potential. The off season is a good time to find a place to live, but not a good time find job. Networking on St. John is important. So if you do make the move, make sure you bring enough cash for a couple of months of living until you can make friends and find a job. I also wouldn't sign a lease without being here to check the place out. You could potentially stay someplace like Samuel Cottages until you found a place to live. You can PM me with specific questions if you like. Good luck!
Thanks for all the advice. Sounds like a difficult transition, but I think it will be worth it.
I understand the being burnred out on the IT front comment and seeking a different career path. You may find your IT skills will be very welcome here in the VI however and the expectations and pace of life might well allow you to continue in that field here with considerably less pressure - not to deter you from finding some water based occupation, but you may be able to earn some income using your current skill set as you work to acquire a new one.
In your present job things that might be expected to be done 'yesterday' could be done by next week and greatly appreciated -- is the kind of example I am describing -- and you may feel a lot less hassled to compete. Just another aspect to consider that might ease your transition and job worry.