We're not happy in Michigan.
My family and I are residents of Michigan. We've lived here our entire lives and we're not happy anymore. Quite honestly, I'm not sure we've ever been happy here - what with the short summers and long winters. My mother is absolutely in love with the Virgin Islands. She's never actually been to them, none of us have, but something in our hearts tell us the USVI's are where we need to be. I wake up every morning and stare out at the pale winter snow, and I picture myself standing with my toes in the sand, and the warm water surrounding my feet. Ever since I've found the VI Moving Center, I've had my mind set on letting go of everything I have here and moving to St. Croix or one of the other islands to find myself. We're not rich, but I've found that there are many houses for rent down there that would cost far less than we're paying now.
Are there any people like us who moved to the islands to escape an unhappy and unfulfilled life? Financially, was it a struggle, was it difficult to adjust, and what would your advice be to us?
I'd say wait until the first warm spring day, you know i when it seems that every tree has decided to pop at the same time, the birds erupt in song and you can lay all day in the grass and soak up the sun but the nights are still cool enough to build a fire and drink hot chocolate. Take a walk down near a river or creek inhale that fresh smell of the forest and then ask yourself if you really want to move. The VI is beautiful, I won't disagree, but unless you see beauty in all of your surroundings it may be fleeting feeling.
Well, AllMashUp, that's the main reason that I feel so attracted to the islands. We live on a beautiful lake here in Michigan, and during the warm seasons I'm the guy that lays down by the shore, just listening to the water and absorbing everything around me. The serenity and peacefulness I feel when I see videos and pictures of the islands is almost overwhelming to me. I feel like that's where I'm meant to be - if only because I'd finally have something in my life to really appreciate and be thankful for. Have you ever listened to Kenny Chesney's Album "Be As You Are"? The entire album was inspired by the Virgin Islands and the emotions he felt and people he met while he was there. The songs explain everything that I can't. I've always believed that when your heart tells you to do something, you should consider doing it. Thank you for your advice. I hope that soon I can afford the trip out there and find out if this is really what I want.
You absolutly should come here.
You are telling the story of many who have come before. Many of the people on this board started out one winter day in the snow.
come soon and learn more about this wonderful place. BUT do not plan on moving here until you have found if it is the place for you.
Longing for a better place is normal and natural. Long cold winters make our warm dreams more real. You might be the lucky one who has found a new home, and then again you might not.
Take a chance and check it out. It might be your future or a major mistake.
Please take this as it is meant - if you are not happy where you are, you probably won't be happy in the VI either.
I like STX, the weather is good, the beaches are great and you never have to worry about ice storms. But you do still have to earn a living, do the laundry, grocery shop (I spent 2 hours in the Super Wal-Mart in Louisville last week, just walking up and down the aisles -- it was almost a religous experience!!) dealing with government and, maybe most important, dealing with whoever you share you life with.
By all means, come down for a PMV and see if living here will work for you. But don't expect the VI to solve all your problems.
I agree 100% with Linda J.
This is an awesome place to live, and I'm thrilled to live here. Thrilled. But I was also pretty siked to live in Vermont, Boston, Alaska, Arkansas (a totally underrated state)... Even Maryland, although I hate the oppressive suburbs, affords me a happy and pleasant experience whenever I go to visit the family. I can't say that I am any more or less happy here than I was in any of those other places, but the scenery is different.
Similarly, I've seen SO many dissatisfied people come down to the VI to escape and they are TOTALLY disillusioned when they get here. Unless you are a third world traveler, this place will surprise you. (I'm not saying that this place is third world, only that traveling in such locations adequately prepares you for a different set of conditions.)
Believing something "in your heart" often means you are dreaming, not thinking properly, and want an excuse to make a mistake. If you want to make a mistake, go for it. That's part of the fun in being human. Just be real with yourself that there is a substantial probability that you'll get a swift kick in the butt when you get here.
Oh, and I've found people in cold-weather climates to be generally "happier" than people in warm-weather climates. But that's just my observation and may be entirely crap.
As I sit here in Dubuque Iowa in -14 degree weather (without the windchill factor), I wonder if I have lost my mind. We were in STT over the weekend and returned on Monday. We are slowly, but surely making our transition to the islands. But in my opinion you must visit first. It is not all crystal blue waters and sandy beaches, but with a good attitude and plenty of patience, it can be.
As a fellow midwesterner, I believe that the entire upper midwest goes into a mild depression. The colorless landscapes, the dull grey skies, the painful breaths of air as you go to warm up your car in the morning, wet socks when the slush melts off your shoes, etc..
After traveling for years, we finally took the plunge. We bought a house in STT last year. We travel down about every 2 to 3 months. We will be down in March for several months to renovate our home. I can't wait. This is going to be our decision time. Is STT just an exotic travel destination, or can we truly call it home?
As I sit here in Iowa in sub-zero weather, I already feel like I can't wait to go home. To STT!
Hi acole87. If you can, I would suggest you put your stuff in storage, take a leave of absence from work and go for the season. If you just go for a short visit, you will still be in awe at the beauty of the place and the reality of what you actually have to do to live there won't set in. Living somewhere is like a relationship, in the beggining it is exciting because it is new, then after a while the rose-coloured spectacles come off and you start to find out if you are really well-suited. As we all know "holiday romances" (sorry I don't know what Americans call them) are always fun. So is staying in just about any country for a short time. Only after a while will you know if it is really the right place for you.
I don't think that it is very hard to get a job there if you are flexible. I had a job to go to, but already had the offer of another one by the time I left the airport! If you really believe it is your dream, you should go for it.
I'm always amazed by the number of people who think it's a good idea to move to a place they've never even been simply because they see it as spending time among palm tress, sand and water. If you were planning to relocate to a different city or state near where you live now you'd probably jump in the car and explore the new area to make sure it is what you think it will be. Similarily, you wouldn't buy a car without taking it for a test drive, nor would you buy a house or rent an apartment without seeing it first. Why then don't you apply the same logic to moving to the USVI's (or any island for that matter). You are contemplating a major lifestyle change and it behooves you to learn everything you can about the islands before you cut your ties "back home".
You say you are unhappy, well moving to the islands may not make you happy. You see, you are who you are and moving to a new location isn't going to have that dramatic effect on YOU. Unless you are independantly wealthy you still have to earn a living, you have to get up everyday and go to work, you have to do your daily chores like cleaning the house, shopping for groceries, doing laundry, tending to the yard, getting the car fixed, paying your bills, etc., etc., etc. The routine of daily life will still be there whether you live in Michigan or the USVI's.
Anyone contemplating moving to the islands should read everything they can on this and other relocation web-sites, they should do as much research as possible. They should then plan to make a pre-move visit staying several weeks (the longer the better) not at a resort or hotel but rather a "houskeeping unit" so they cn find out what daily life is really like. If you've never been to the USVI's or if you've only been there on vacation then trust me, you do not have a good base to know what island life is really like. It is far different than being here on vacation.
Hundreds upon hundreds of people come to the USVI's every year because the are "running away" from their everyday life and they rarely end up finding the happiness they are seeking. Life in the islands is not all palm trees and pina coladas but rather it's life in a different place. - it's not better or worse than where you are now it's just different.
Haha, thank you all very much for your feedback. I'm looking into a pre-move trip, but WOW are the plane tickets expensive - close to 700 per person, round trip. None-the-less, I am still anxious.
A lot of you have told me that if I'm unhappy here, I won't be any happier there. Believe me, I understand exactly what you're telling me, but perhaps I misrepresented myself. I don't think moving to a beautiful island will solve all of my problems, that's obviously a fools delusion. I simply meant we're not happy here in Michigan. I know wherever we go we will face the same problems and heartache - I'd just rather face them somewhere that my soul is. Ever since childhood, I've dreamed of becoming a sailor, or a fisherman's apprentice. I think about all the different people I might meet, and the stories I might hear - and even more-so, the comfort of a breath-stopping sunset at the end of a rough day, instead of cold feet, McDonalds, and Dr. Phil re-runs.
But again, I have a lot more research to do, and hopefully a trip to plan. Thank you all again for your advice.
A note to promoguy: Yeah, a lot of us like to gloat about the changing seasons, and let me tell you, they are beautiful and often serene, but that impression doesn't last. Autumn is gorgeous with all the brilliant warm colors, but give it a month and the leaves turn brown, and the tree's become littered in disgusting tent-worm nests. Then winter comes, and the Christmas lights reflecting on the snow is peaceful, but then it drags on. And on. And on. The snow melts for a day, the grass is almost green - but more of a.. dead brown color. Then at last we have Spring, the jewel of Michigan (in my opinion), where the Robins migrate home and the flowers start to grow. Summer brings a warm sun and cool evenings - giving you peace of mind.. until Autumn comes back. 😛
So I guess in a way, this is relative to what I'm being told by most of you. It's not all palm tree's and sand, but that's not what this is all about. I hope to hear more from each of you soon. I know I'll have more questions. 🙂
acole87 - In your last post you hit the nail on the head as to why many people come and go so quickly. They simply are reluctant to make a pre-move visit (PMV) because they think it's too costly. So they come to the islands without knowing what to expect and end up being disappointed and they go back home within a few months. The cost of a PMV is part of the Catch-22 of island living - living expenses are probably higher and wages are going to be lower than they probably are "back home".
It may not be what you want to hear but you should save up until you can make a PMV. In the long run it will be money well spent. and you'll know if island life suits you.
Good luck in making your decision.
If it's cold feet, McDonald's, and Dr. Phil reruns at home, then you already aren't taking charge of your own life, and nothing to suggest you'd start here. Michigan has so much more to offer than that. I'd suggest finding happiness where you are, and then bringing it with you wherever you want to go, rather than expecting external changes (be them palm trees or the stories boathands tell) to find it for you. This is a basic spiritual/philosophical concept, though, having nothing to do with the islands. But it doesn't seem like you really want to hear this kind of realistic answer from your posts to be honest...
You might want to try Puerto Rico. It's a lot cheaper and has a lot more amenities. We have 2 acres out in the country and a 4 bedroom all cement house and it cost us $170K last year. We are 6 minutes from a big hospital and 20 minutes from a big mall. Home depot and Sam's club are 40 minutes away. The beaches are 30 minutes away.
And there is nothing wrong with moving. If you don't like the cold and the darkness then by all means move.
02/05/2008 NK417 Detroit (DTW) to Fort Lauderdale/Miami Area (FLL) 6:40 AM-9:38 AM Deluxe Leather 1130
02/05/2008 NK215 Fort Lauderdale/Miami Area (FLL) to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT) 12:25 PM-4:05 PM Deluxe Leather 1107
02/14/2008 NK212 St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (STT) to Fort Lauderdale/Miami Area (FLL) 4:50 PM-6:45 PM Deluxe Leather 1107
02/14/2008 NK380 Fort Lauderdale/Miami Area (FLL) to Detroit (DTW) 8:15 PM-11:12 PM Deluxe Leather
You can book this flight today using the code 24hours on spirit for $303 including taxes. Go visit, see if you like it. I'm in Michigan also and found this board yesterday after having a business idea that i am gathering research for. There are other dates available but you must depart on a Tuesday or Wednesday to get that fare.
I can understand why you wouldn't be happy in Michigan, or any place that has that lousy cold weather. I have never understood why people live in that type of climate.
Yes I'm from AZ where people say " how can you stand those hot summers?". Well I for one don't like it when it's over 105* but don't mind it up to that point. But when it's 115* and you get in a car that's 140* inside, as soon as the A/C starts blowing cool air in my face, I'm fine. when I go out when it's 30* and get in a cold car, it takes FOREVER for my feet to warm up, and I am miserable!!!!
Yes I know that it's a Bit*# when you have to go out every afternoon and shovel sunshine off of your car so you can leave work and go back home. But I have never slipped on the concrete getting to the car with the shovel. LOL
I can't wait until we can start splitting our time between STX and AZ. My wife wants out of here during the hottest part of the summer, and I want out of here in the winters. If it was up to me, I would live in STX full time, but with a new, 1st, grandchild here now, she doesn't want to move away full time.
I don't know about PR. I know that you will get on much better if you speak Spanish.
I would agree that you come down for a LONG PMV before moving. I f as many people stayed on any of the USVI islands as move here, you couldn't find a place to stand.
I have two sets of friends from AZ. One was on island when we met in person ( we met on this board), she was there a year and could not wait for his contract to be up so they could leave. The others ( we met them on this board as well in AZ before they came down) came for a two week PMV and NEVER LEFT! They cashed in their airline tickets, had friends empty out their house so it could be sold, had a few things shipped, and had a friend bring down the cats. That was two years ago, and they have enver regretted it. So it is NOT for everyone.
We were feeling not so happy in Istanbul because life is very very expensive ( paying 400$ gas for car, heating house costs about 350$ monthly for 8 months, 1 kg meat is about 20$ ) and moved here 4 months ago. I can't say that the place makes big difference for your happiness. Nice and warm beaches, friendly people and beautiful views around but there is something won't be perfect, you will be getting use to see all and want to do something different as life motivate us to complete our life with new experiences. We were smiling continuously and feeling like butterflies with happiness when we just came here but lately begin to feel bored as anything looks same, things are slow down, there is not much things to do. People sitting in the bars and drinking bear, it is ok but all the time you will see around whenever you want to socialize. We are still very happy being here just not like the way at the first month. If you are just looking for warm weather, friendly people and laid back life it would fit perfect to your expectations. Not much things to improve your abilities or some of your personal interests. The other thing is such important about living cost. I can give example with our situation. We bought and old island jeep for 4.500+600(fixing breaks cost etc.), found a condo monthly 880$ and payed 2600$ (deposit, first and last month rent), we stayed in a hotel for 4 days than bed&breakfast and rented a car for several days and they cost about 1000$, that is all what we payed we know. We spent around 16 K eating and settling ( phone, DSL, plates, penn, etc.) even my husband began to work after 10 days we arrived. My husband and I didn't eat out last 2-3 months as we prefer home made dishes and breads except some exceptions. We are very careful what we buy and spend but still money goes so quick. Anywhere has some other or similar problems comes with people being and life needs. Here is the island with many advantages to enjoy if you see the life with real perspective..
Hope you dreams come true,
I hear you acole87, fall can be really beautiful but it is way too short! The end of May and the month of June are pleasant as well. The last snowfall we had got me thinking ( while I was out shoveling my sidewalk) I'd rather be slappin' mosquitoes!!! btw...what is the mosquito population in St. Croix? I read about some of the creatures that reside on the islands, but I neglected to consider those pesky little things.
Mosquito pop 5,435,981....wait I just killed one, subtract one. lol...how do you answer that? 😉 Yes we have mosquitos and no see'ums. This time of year you're less likely to be bothered, as winter is cool and very breezy. Starts to get worse in summer and the rainy months of aug, sept, & oct maybe nov, as they breed in water and the tradewinds die in aug I believe. Some people are definitely bitten much worse then others but generally over the years you don't get bit as often. Your first year you just always carry something like Off with you in your car (just in case) and most restaurants have Off for their customers use. If you are one of those people that mosqitos like, it may be a rough first summer, with lots of off and showers.
sermin: You hit on some really important topics:
1. People who move here are frequently in love with the *idea* of a tropical island- warm breezes and lapping waters, etc. They slowly become aware of the *reality* of living on a tropical island. It takes a month or so for the ideal to wear off. Many people leave in 3 months because of this phenomenon. This is also the period that used to be called "settling in"- adjusting to the rhythm of island living.
2. Island living is tough on folks who are accustomed to being entertained. Some people feel that there aren't enough things "to do". Other people find the lack of things "to do" encourages them to DO things instead.
3. It is expensive to live on an island. There is less competition. There are fewer choices. Shipping adds to the cost. Hidden gross receipts tax adds to the cost.
4. As terry said above- I know of people who have moved here and didn't even make it through a week-end. And I know people who moved here, sight unseen, and have stayed 20 years. I also know local people who have never been off the island as well as their children who left for school in America and have never thought of moving back.
P.S. Anyone who is not happy in one place will probably not be happy in a new place. Same problems, different view.
East Ender, I like #2 a lot. It seems like Americans are constantly looking for something to entertain them (us), rather than creating our own fun. Looks like it's starting younger and younger, with kids and video games being the first example that comes to mind. When I was a kid (which wasn't long ago), I thought ALL kids were supposed to go out and play all day and just come in for meals, baths, and bedtime. One of the many things about STX that appeal to me is that there's a chance my (hypothetical, future) kids won't be surrounded by quite as many electronic babysitters.
It's nice to think that there's an island full of people who are content to go for a walk and enjoy the view. 🙂
Its really a good idea to bring your toys like Neil mentioned with you. They are more expensive here.
The truth of the matter is there is alot of beach activities to do during the day but at night their are bars and restaurants. Before the year is out you will have explored the whole island many of times over. There is one small movie theather but its not the safest place at night. So unless you go to the bars everynight you do need some entertainment at home just like you would stateside.
If its books, order them in advance because it will take a week or two. There is one decent used bookstore downtown but the one in Gallows Bay has more cards then books.
Good friends help as well, but you're not going to be with them everynight either, so it seems a little silly not to have things to entertain yourself or to look down on it.
There's not much to do here at night, so you do have to be able to entertain yourself in whatever manner you want to.