Thinking about moving to the islands
Hi! I am thinking about moving to somewhere in the Carribean this coming up august. I just turned 30 and I feel like I have been going to school forever and getting no where with it. Since I was in high school I have wanted to move to paradise somewhere, and I think I am finally going to! I do have my culinary degree, with extensive experience in all areas of the restaurant business. I am also a advanced scuba diver through SSI and it truly is one of my passions in life, I love the water and being in it.
Currently I live in Colorado, my lease on my current apartment is up in August and thats when I think I would move.
I guess my question is how hard will it be to find a job/apartment during that time of year?
I agree with Linda J. Island living is awesome for the most part. However, not meant for everyone. And make sure you make your visits at least 7 days, and make it about about "local living" not just vacation. Visit the grocery stores, check out the prices, drive around and get a feel for what you are in store for. Talk to some of the locals here about their challenges. You may even make a friend or two!
Just as a point of information, You said: "I am thinking about moving to somewhere in the Caribbean ..." - well, assuming you hold citizenship only in the US you will find it infinitely easier to relocate to Puerto rico, the so-called Spanish Virgins of Vieques and Culebra and/or the US Virgin Islands. Relocating to any other islands in the will require that you obtain a Work Permit which depending on the island may or may not be easy to get.
Now, living on an island is much different than most people imagine - it's not like being on vacation and it's not for everyone. It's not all sitting under a palm tree drinking pina colodas. Before making any permanent changes you should do as others have suggested and make a Pre-move visit for several weeks. While here don't stay in a resort or big hotel but rather try living like a local in a "housekeeping unit". Do ordinary chores like laundry, clean house, grocery shopping, stand on long lines at the bank to cash a check, stand on long lines at the utility companies as you watch people pay bills, find out what commuting is like. In other words try to find out what day to day island life is really like - after all you'll be doing those things once you move.
Use your time to check out the housing market to find out what type of dwelling you can get for the amount you can afford. Check out employment options. Remember, too that wages on any island tend to be lower than they are for comparable jobs back in the US and living expenses tend to be significantly higher. That's the Catch-22 of island life. You may have to make some adjustments in your life style.
Living in the islands is not necessarily better or worse than where you now live, it's just different. You still have to get up each day, go to work and earn a living, pay bills, etc.
Good luck following your dream.
I moved from Colorado in 2007 but I secured a job via craigslist before moving here. There's plenty of restaurants/hotels that always need talented cooks/chefs. Do your research, keep an eye on craigslist for jobs. It took about 2 months of phone interviews, menu sharing, and back and forth before even beginning the moving, storing, saving $$ process.
But, it can be done even without a PMV.
Noah may have done it but I recommend that you do a PMV. It just does not make sense to change you whole life, unless you live out of a suit case and have no ties, do move here and then move back.
You need to spend a thousand and come down. Line EVERYTHING up. From a position (notice I said a position not a job), housing, location, apartment etc.
There is a lot of stuff on this page to look at regarding the cost of things here. If you are planning on getting a "bar job" balance that out with the costs. You may not be able to do it alone.
I agree with billd - think about it, you wouldn't buy a car without at the very least looking it over first hand and you'd be even better off taking a test drive. So too, if you were moving within your own town or perhaps to a neighboring village, county or even state. If that were your plan I'm sure you'd make a few visits to the "new area" before you made the move. Why then would you consider moving hundreds or even thousands of miles to a completely different culture without first doing some "up close and personal" reconnaissance. I don't mean to sound crass but a lot of people seem to throw caution to the wind when it comes to thinking about life the tropics. They envision an idyllic life sitting under a palm tree watching the waves lap against the shore while no having a care in the world. Island life is far from that. It's real life with the same everyday challenges you have elsewhere with a few more thrown in for good measure. When considering a move to the islands one should take of the rose colored glasses.
Yes, it cost money to make a PMV but if you can't afford to invest the cost of a ticket and accommodations for a short visit you may find life in the islands to be more of a challenge than you bargained for.
No one I know has ever regretted making a PMV but there are plenty of people who found out the hard way that island life was not for them.
Make sure you check out the crime rate and then re evaluate. It was the farthest thing from my mind when I considered the move. No it's not fantasy island.
How can anyone check out the crime rate when it is not published?
I've asked this before with no response. Other than the homicide rate, does anyone have a link to crime statistics for the VI since 2004?
I think the 29+ homicides in 9 months says a lot. I found info at the V.I. Source in the police blotter. I also went to the V.I.P.D. site. I find it interesting that when someone posts a topic like this one, all kinds of advice is given but no one volunteers information on the violent crime. It should be the first thing on the list for some one who's never been to the island. So if it's not published anywhere, what's a PMV going to accomplish? Any one who's thinking about relocating usually checks the stats. first then visits. The VI gives an illusion of paradise and not crime.
OK......yes there is crime in the VIs......yes there are homicides......yes you should check out any place you plan to move to.
That being said....look at the real reasons behind the homicides, if that is what's concerning you. In the VIs we have a lot of drug related homicides (gang against gang). If you subtract the drug trade the violent crime "statistics" are low.
Common sense prevails.
We had the same concern as you 6 years ago......and we still bought a condo on STT......and have enjoyed it ever since.
Illusion of Paradise: "Paradise"....that is a "state of mind".....some people think of the VIs (Caribbean Islands) as "Paradise" ......others think it is...... (well, you know).
If the VIs were really that bad we all wouldn't be here........
Come for a PMV and decide for yourself.....too much "analysis" creates "paralysis" and you will never make a decision.
Hope this helps.
Hmmm....I read the papers too. I have not seen crime stats published. How can you state that the stats are low if they're not being published and we don't know what the numbers are? My perception is quite different than yours. I think that violent crime here is exceptionally high. Some hard data would help us sort it out.
Huh??? "Violent crime here is exceptionally high"? What do you regard as "violent crime"? What island are you on?
I guess neither of us have "official statistics" ....just what we read in the news papers.
I feel that once you remove the "drug trade related homicides" the remaining number of homicides (if any) are low...am I wrong?
What would "hard data" sort out? In any event if one feels unsafe someplace, then one must move on.
I guess neither of us have "official statistics" ...
That's my point. How can we say that the number of crimes committed is high or low compared to other places/cities if we don't know how many crimes were committed?
Someone considering a move to any US city can look up the crime statistics. They are published annually. Here are the FBI crime statistics by state for 2009. You can also look them up by city.
Have crime statistics been published for the VI since 2004? If they've been published, please provide a link. If they haven't been published, why not? People should be able to look up the crime statistics for the VI when considering a move here.
As for homicides, we know those statistics. The homicide rate in the VI was nearly 10 times the national average in 2009. This year, we are in the running for the title of the Deadliest Place Under a US Flag. The daily news article on last year's homicide rate is here:
The homicide rate is what it is. Saying that the crime statistics here are low after "drug trade related homicides" are filtered out says more about human psychology than it does about crime. Someone else on this board filtered out all "black on black" and "drug on drug" murders and, with one wave of his wand, transformed the VI into one of the safest places in the free world. Was he wrong?
Crime is a problem. And it happens more than just a "little bit more" here in STT. But there is one thing you can do to avoid it. Don't be in a place were you should not be. Now there will cases were you are in the right place, but at the wrong time. But be aware of your surroundings.
I never have felt in danger here. But I stay away from those areas of crime and drugs.
I do have my culinary degree, with extensive experience in all areas of the restaurant business.
There are many restaurants in the VI. Come and bring your credentials.
As to diving, we have on St. Croix "The friendliest dive shop on earth." Take a look at http://www.stcroixscuba.com/