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why are you leaving USVI

Posts: 2570
Famed Member
Topic starter

It seems that USVI is the place I want to move to, and reading this board gives glowing reports. However if everone who says their moving or have moved, and no one left, it would certainly be more crowded then it is.
I would like to hear why some people are or have moved away. That way I can get all sides, to help make an important decision. Since being married 38 years, we have only lived in 2 homes, and this will be a major decision for us, so we want to know all sides.Pros and Cons.

Posted : February 15, 2005 2:07 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

Hello, Terry,
You make an excellent point and one I've never seen addressed here before.

Posted : February 15, 2005 3:20 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

The cost of living is tooo High! And job wages aren't following... We have an artist joining our company who's moving back from St. Thomas and that was is interviewd reasoning...

Posted : February 15, 2005 4:02 pm
Posts: 1171
Noble Member

There are a lot of reasons people leave here - much the same as anywhere. For most working class folks extensive travel between here and the mainland is cost prohibitive so there is the sense of isolation from family, friends, etc. The cultural background is so different that you can't expose your children to zoos, museums, opera, etc. on a regular basis and that is also a reason some people with growing children leave. Some people just quite frankly don't fit it. Type A personalities don't do well here. If you have to have everything lined up and perform in that straight line (i.e. must have phone in today, internet tomorrow and get my car inspected this afternoon) you are going to become frustrated extremely quickly. We used to joke at the secretarial service I worked for that we could tell in ten minutes the ones who were not going to make it by how red thier faces got when we told them not to expect Fed Ex deliveries on the weekend!

Yes, the cost of living is a reason for some but remember that it not for everyone. It's relative to where you are accustomed to living. Wages can be on par with what you are accustomed to in the states with some ingenuity. You just have to be creative!

That's my two cents worth ....
Pamela - working on the 11th year and loving it!

Posted : February 15, 2005 5:13 pm
Posts: 3030

Hello Terry,

Population growth rate: -0.05% (2004 est.)
Birth rate: 14.49 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate: 6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate: -8.94 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)

Americans from the states:

A lot of people that move here are seasonal workers. They come from Nov-May when its high tourist season and then they move somewhere else.

Then some move with the intention of staying and don't like it after a few weeks, a few months and leave. Leave because they don't like their job, can't find a job in the field they wanted - paying the same or similar to what they were getting before, don't understand/get along with the majority of the population (Black West Indian from throughout the Caribbean including the USVI), can't adjust to the red tape/gov't offices, don't like the customer service (or lack of), don't like the polictics, miss their family/friends back home, don't like the initial belonger/outsider sentiments, not enough fast food joints, not enough white people in their age group or their liking to date, golf is not good enough for their liking, came down looking for "something" they had developed in their mind/dreams and didn't find it so were disappointed, fell into the rum party mindset and are slipping into waste so their family 'rescued' them, not enough movies/clubs/parks/malls/sports... (all reasons I have heard or seen).

Virgin Islanders:

You have a large number of young adults that move to the states to attend college and stay there for 4 years for school and quite often stay after school for one reason or another (job prospects, got married, internships, graduate school...).

You have young families with children who feel raising their children in the states might allow the children a greater oppurtunity to see more, learn more, experience more. AND on the flip side there are some of those young Virgin Islanders that moved away for college that once they have children want to come back to the USVI to raise their children.

Immigrants from other Islands:

They moved here to seek a better life, to work. Many stay and make the USVI their new home, some return to their native islands years later.


Posted : February 15, 2005 8:17 pm
Posts: 8
Active Member

I've only been here for 4 months and don't plan on leaving anytime soon, but here are some things that i can see people getting tired of (myself included)
-Traffic. I've never had to commute in traffic until I moved to STT. In the morning I'm usually early enough to beat it, but coming home at 4 or 5 traffic is backed up for several miles. What the heck is that about?? I need to move to a smaller island... ha.
-Crime. I haven't had any problems with it personally, but a friend was shot near his home in a nearby neighborhood. I live right next to the Ritz-Carlton, supposedly a safe area. It was rather unsettling, but I'm not going anywhere. Police were no help, and actually blamed him for getting mugged and shot at.
-Girls. The ratio of guys to girls is something like 8 to 1, so things can be very frustrating. I was lucky enough to find a great girlfriend, so there is hope, plus there is always fresh meat in the form of tourists at duffys!
Hopefully no one takes offense to this, but it seems that staying here for extended periods of time has an adverse effect on intelligence levels. With the way that alcohol is so much a part of life here, I look at some of the people who have been here for years and years and listen to them rant and rave about things and I really just hope that I don't turn out like that. I understand this is a rather large generalization, but several of my friends have also noticed this. But hey, we are here to have a good time, and that is certainly easy to do. All this being said, I wake up every morning and listen to the waves on the rocks and can't believe I'm here.

Posted : February 17, 2005 12:32 pm
Posts: 684
Honorable Member


I have lived here six months. My husband got a job here and we moved the family down three months later. I had the hardest time adjusting. My husband liked it immediately and the kids liked it as soon as they hit the beach. I think that mothers and wives usually end up taking care of the details and those things can drive you nuts. 😉 The island doesn't work like most places on the mainland - so for most people coming from the States - it is a complete change of pace. The best way I have described the island is that it has everything you need to live, it just does not have everything you want - unless of course you have the means to get everything you want. Oh, yes, and for every blanket statement made about the islands - there are the exceptions. So you see the difficulty in describing island life to anyone. You never know until you try - so some of the best advice is to set up a pre move visit and see how you like it. What helps to make a move to the islands work is to research (this board alone has helped many), come with an open mind and come with little to no expectations. Adjusting can be difficult or for some really easy in moving here. I have stuck with it and I really feel that I am enjoying my life here on the islands. I still have things pop up that I wasn't prepared for and I still am learning patience, but for me the island is becoming home. Crazy how things work out! Good luck with everything.


Posted : February 17, 2005 1:23 pm
Posts: 43
Eminent Member

If you live on St Thomas, it feels very much like a city. There are stores, pizza huts, wendy's, mcdonalds and a mall and k-mart and movie theatre and a discount grocery store which has great prices on stuff. So living on St Thomas would work for someone coming from the states. Sure, you miss out on a few things, but that's life.

Now, If you live on St John. GOOD LUCK. That is where I am living. There are NO fast food restaurants. The few grocery stores here are outrageously overpriced (6.95 for a small box of lucky charms, 6.98 for a gallon of milk which is almost expired, 2.50 for a loaf of bread, 9 bucks for olive oil). The streets are horribly paved and very very steep so be prepared for that. And most places on the island don't have air conditioning including most apts/homes. It's a real adjustment and it's very expensive to live here. So you better have a good job lined up or you're gonna be living paycheck to paycheck. Oh, and a lot of places prefer cash vs credit.

But I just moved here three weeks ago, so what do I know 🙂 Good luck!

Posted : February 17, 2005 6:59 pm
Posts: 4
New Member

Hi Terry!
I lived on St. Thomas for ten months, returning to the Washington, DC (home) area last June. While I looked forward to our move to the islands (husband landed a job with a corporate big-box store), I must say that I soon developed a lot of the feelings described in both Islander's and Teresa's replies. I'm guessing that you and I are about the same age, and speaking only for myself, I think had I been 20 years younger, the challenges of everyday life - surly customer service, dealing with government offices, limited choices of goods and plain old "rock" fever - probably wouldn't have phased me in the least. While I tried to acclimate, it just didn't work for me. The absolutely gorgeous weather and beautiful vistas couldn't make up for plain old homesickness for the mainland. I would strongly suggest that, before you give up your home and jobs, if not yet retired, you plan a month or two on the island of your choice, talking to as many transplants as you can and seeing for yourself first-hand what to expect. Island life is not for everybody. I wish you happiness in whatever choice you make!

Posted : February 18, 2005 3:02 am
Posts: 684
Honorable Member

Weird, I was thinking if I was older and my kids were grown that this transition would have been easier. It is just different for everyone. Coming for a pre move visit it really key to knowing how it works for you. Several people on this board have moved to the islands and loved it from day one and are probably puzzled by why others don't fit in. I am somewhere in the middle. It was hard at first, but now things are easier and I have everything I want. Family has visited and I know will return each year so I don't feel so without them. Things are better for me and I am glad I stuck it out. I knew things would work out because they worked for the rest of my family. I doubt my story is unique, but it certainly isn't the norm. May everyone find their own happy place. 😉


Posted : February 18, 2005 12:46 pm
Posts: 136
Estimable Member

it all depends on what you're used to back in the states. i've talked w/quite a few people on island who were unhappy with the lack of *good* career opportunites, fast food restaurants, propert customer service, etc. i was very happy in the VI b/c the quality of my life back in the states hadn't been the greatest -- no car, fab career, big house, etc. -- so of course i didn't miss these things when i was on island. it's hard to miss something you never had in the first place.

the VI is a huge step up for me b/c in the states i live in a deteriorating, white trash neighborhood. my husband and i feel much safer and happier in the VI.

but everybody's different, and like everything else in the world, not all things are for everybody. these were my experiences on island, so i can only go by them.

Posted : February 18, 2005 1:36 pm
Posts: 2570
Famed Member
Topic starter

Thanks for all the great input. Looking forward to more. It really makes you think about some things we haven't thought about or did think about but thought that they weren't a big deal.

Posted : February 18, 2005 1:45 pm
Posts: 4
New Member

I lived on St.Thomas for two years and returned to Atlanta last June. I couldn't wait to come back. The cost of living is extremely high, ie I have a two bedroom condo in Atlanta with all sorts of gadgets. My electric bill was 35.00 last month. In STT , our apt was virtually empty no ac, no washer/dryer etc we were paying 85.00-100 monthly. Imagine, we had AC and the others. Lack of cusomer service and I don't care attitude, very few good paying jobs, the gov't is the main employer. On the pros side the weather is nice and the beach . I grew up in similar environment and never really cared for the weather nor the beach. My two cents is go down there and stay for about two months and check things out first.

Posted : February 28, 2005 8:13 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

hey CP

Good advice.

I think it is important for immigrants to the Virgin Islands to make careful decisions. All too often young people with little life experience jump into the Virgin Island culture.... while it is true that some find their "home", many do not. Some of those who settle here become regular residents and have spent 20, 30 or more years living and begin to feel like "real" natives. Others still feel like outsiders...

I think it is important for new "settlers" to examine why they are moving and if they have the flexibility to stay here happily.

The Virgin Islands are long way from the states...but you can enjoy them if you have the right attitude.

If you are coming here to "get away" from something it will follow you.;

If you are coming here to continue your quiet lifestyle...It might work.

Posted : March 1, 2005 3:10 am
Posts: 315
Reputable Member

I think that goes for every move. We moved just 15 minutes from where we lived from PA to NJ. However, people are so different over here even after 2 years I still feel like a outsider. I never had this problem before.

To me the mainland is not really that far away from the VI. I believe it is 2 hours to Florida correct. It's not like your home is Australia. But if you make yourself believe that you are that far away I would think the Rock fever will set in much sooner. I would pay attention and evaluate what I do here on the mainland. How many of us work go home sleep and do little else in our free time?

As a former chef I am use to living where others go to have their vacations. In all off those kind of places one has to work harter to make friends. People are use to strangers and stay reserved. Keeping to themself till they believe your are there to stay. I am not really sure what the point to this behavior . I have seen it all around the world.

I would think that new people make a place more interesting. But then I was always the new person.

Posted : March 1, 2005 1:50 pm
Posts: 230
Estimable Member

It’s interesting how people can differ so much in how they experience living in a particular place. The only con for me on St. Croix is the lousy government, but I know there are a lot of people who try to make it work.
I think the best way to make money here is through the standard formula: Get a college degree, work for an employer for a couple of years in your chosen field, perhaps at somewhat low initial pay, then set up a company. Another great way is on the extensive black market, as you pay no taxes and sort of get even with the government. (Not saying that I necessarily do this-just that it’s an option with some interesting possibilities. Haha!)
You can live here for very little if you choose to live simply. I know people who don’t use the power company. They collect dead wood in the forest for fuel and run a generator from time to time. That’s too rustic for me, but I admire the way they sidestep unreliable WAPA. If you have a bit of land and a well, you can grow a lot of your own food. There is also food in the ocean as well as many edible plants in the forest and savannah. You can live and work in the same neighborhood and not need a car. I did this for years on the mainland. If you’re trustworthy and network a lot, you can find a free place to live, as many people are off island during low season and want security for their property. If you’re into the nature scene, there’s no cover to go into the mountains or to the beach. Your entertainment costs can be almost nothing. While I’ve chosen a lower material standard of living, I feel my quality of life has gone way up compared to the mainland.

Posted : March 1, 2005 10:08 pm
Posts: 0
New Member

Great advice from everyone! I'm planning to come to STT in June as a recent college grad w/ a degree in communications/public relations and also a former college tennis player. Thanks everyone for all your help!

Posted : March 1, 2005 10:20 pm
Posts: 2570
Famed Member
Topic starter

Everyone mentions the corrupt goverment. We from Az where we had one governor impeached and another resigned before serving time in jail. Does the corrupt goverment touch you personaly, like in the south in the 50's or 60's, or just the fact that it is corrupt iritate you?

Posted : March 2, 2005 12:47 am
Posts: 393
Reputable Member

I tell folks who come here, "Welcome to the 1950's". My wife and I have lived on STX for about a year and a half. It's a lot like living in the 50's. That is meant as both a compliment and a slam. I love it here and intend to die here (not too soon, I hope).


Posted : March 3, 2005 12:55 am
Posts: 3030

Hello Terry,

The corruption is more along the lines of mis-managed money, missing money, nepotism & hiring unqualified people, rude/unprofessional employees, red tape, inffiencieny galore, poor management, lack of basic supplies, unpaid vendors, big $$ projects without adequate explanation of who is getting how much and for exactly what services...


Posted : March 3, 2005 7:36 am
Posts: 15
Active Member

To really put things in perspective - the USVI government hired the District of Columbia government as a consultant to show them how to govern properly. This was when Mayor Marion Barry was still addicted to crack cocaine and before he went to jail. It was also around the same time that more than 10% of the members of the DC police force were under indictments for felonies including murder.

Posted : March 3, 2005 3:23 pm
Posts: 58
Trusted Member

I left St Thomas back in June of '05 and left many things behind (including one of the above posters, Adam). I miss the island on a daily basis but at the time I had to leave. Some people can't handle the cost of living; I lived like a king, worked like a pauper, and made enough to pay rent, travel, drink, and invest at my leisure. Others can't handle the locals; I miss the locals the most, and left island with many friends there. And then there are those that can't handle the expats; There are some crazy folks down there, be careful who you let get close to you. But that goes for anywhere and anytime I guess. I know though that one day down the line I'm going to spend alot of time in the Caribbean as I think its one of the best places to live, for the winter at least.

Posted : January 3, 2006 11:33 pm
Posts: 224
Estimable Member

Terry ASk yourself Some of these questions?

WHat are you looking for out of life?
What can you afford to do with out?
What changes are you willing to make?
What makes you comfortable?
What makes you uncomfortable?
How open are you to making things happen without all of the resources that you are use to?
How flexible are you?
Does less stress stress you out?
Do you have a good cell phone plan that will keep you in contact with love ones and new friends on the VI?
Are you willing to change you eating habits?
Are you willing to change your spending habits.
Are you willing to make new friends?
Are you willing to embrace a new culture?
Are you strong/confident enough to share your culture with others?
Can you deal with the lack of support from others who may not understand your move?
Have you identified who your biggest supporters are?
Are you willing to be calm when things and people, and processes move slower than what you are use to?
Are you willing to learn how to identify fruits and other food items that grow naturally so that you can cook them and spend less money at the grocery store?
Are you willing to look for the positive each and every day?
Are you going to encourage your friends and family to come and join you in this experience?
Are you going to accept that most government has its flaws?
Are you going to commend those who provide you with good customer service?
Are you willing to say goodmorning,afternoon, and good night often?
Are you going to rack up on all the little things that you like before you come to the VI and mail them to yourself or ask others to send you some of your favorite things from time to time?
Are you going to sell everthing you own and bring a couple suitcases to live on?
Are you going to plan out everything to the last detail? If so be prepared for things to go wrong and right?
Are you going to miss the mall?
Can you give up certain food stores, bookstores, and other retail places that will not be available in the VI?
Will you have a computer and internet connection?
Will you apreiciate home more or less after you come to the VI?
ASk yourself even more of these types of questions.... the list is endless.
OR! don't ask at all. IT's all about choices, risks, adventure, stability, life. Try it you might like it .... and if you don't you will have alot to share with others about your experiences.

That's whats happening for me.

Posted : January 9, 2006 11:57 am
Posts: 3
New Member

Is that 8 to 1 thing really true? What's the age range for that statistic? My friend and I are moving there in the next couple of months and that little tidbit makes me want to get on a plane right flippin' now!
Why do you suppose that is? I mean, is there more work for men than women? Or do you think it's just because men are slightly more adventurous and spontaneous than women?
My friend and I were checking average male to female ratios, wondering where the best place would be. We decided that the important thing would be to truly love where we live and to wake up every morning and be grateful for the perfect beauty around us. I guess we might have found a place with both requirements..
Alaska has a ratio of 14 men to every woman, but needless to say that wasn't happpening.

Posted : January 12, 2006 8:12 pm
Posts: 372
Reputable Member

Hey Cnoelle,

Just a tidbit... Think Alaska... Most of the women here I've met would agree... "The odds are good, but the goods are odd".

A flippn' PMV is a MUST for 2 girls. Just be careful! Not to be a kill-joy, but if you two are the adventurous and spontaneous type, you may want to check the rank of HIV in the US... I think the VI is number 1.

Posted : January 12, 2006 10:11 pm
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