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Afriend
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November 19, 2015 5:40 pm  

The reasons why a person leaves vary greatly but many leave because island life turns out not to be the panacea they hoped it would be. People think the islands are paradise - that may be true but they are not heaven.

Whether they admit it or not many people relocate to the Caribbean because they are running away from some unpleasantness in their life back on the mainland be it a divorce, bad credit, bad employment history, a boss they hate, family problems, dependency problems, money problems, or even to escape the snow, you name it people want to get away from it!!!

Or, they have convinced themselves that they want to "live a simpler life style" and they envision themselves living in a cute little bungalow overlooking a nice beach while they sit under a all tree and sip pina coladas only to find out that life in the islands isn't "simple" (the rats race here as much as they do on the mainland), that cute bungalow doesn'tt exist in their rental budget range, they end up working two jobs for difficult bosses, don't have the time just sit under that palm tree, and they spent their entire last paycheck repairing the island beater car that broke down AGAIN.

I tell people, life in the Caribbean isn't necessarily better or worse then where they now live, it's just DIFFERENT. and one has to either be able to adjust to the differences or recognize island life is not for them.

If you are struggling with life on the mainland it's not going to magically get any easier in the islands. Unless you are financially independent you are still going to have to earn a living, go grocery shopping, do the laundry, pay bills, clean the house, walk the dog or any number of a hundred other chores that make up your daily life. Those things don't go away when you move to the islands.


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CruzanIron
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November 19, 2015 6:31 pm  

1. Jobs

2. Cost of living

3. Health care

4. Lack of hope for anything to improve

5. Crime. It is a reason cited by many who leave whether agreed with or not.

I didn't add crime since it everywhere on different levels.


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Spartygrad95
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November 19, 2015 7:27 pm  

If I leave it will only because I found a better job in a similar climate. The cost of living is high, still my rent is lower here than my mortgage was in the states. I would have had to pay childcare in the States, here I can send my child to Montessori for LESS than daycare was at home. Afriend hit the nail squarely on the head with the above post. Spot on.


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shangirl
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November 20, 2015 1:45 am  

All really great perspectives...

For the people who are still living there but have cited many negative attributes that drive away transplants....what keeps you living on the islands?


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NugBlazer
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November 20, 2015 6:29 am  

No one has mentioned what I think is by far the biggest reason of all: for many people, after awhile, the "cool" factor of living on a small tropical island wears off, and it simply gets old.

Put another way: things change.

Are there other factors at work when people leave? Sure there are. Like others above have mentioned, the cost of living is high, crime is bad, politicians are corrupt, customer service sucks, electricity is undependable, roads are awful, etc. The list goes on and on. And, while those reasons might cause some to leave, the majority leave simply because they've had their fun in the sun and are ready to move on, or because it wasn't what they expected in the first place.

Like I said: things change. People get older. Places close. Children are born. Friends leave. Economies crash. IIllnesses happen.

That beach you fell in love with your first year loses some of its luster 10 years later when you've been there a million times. Your favorite restaurant -- you know, the one you've been going to regularly for years where the entire staff knows you -- closed down three years ago. Those Full Moon parties that used to happen every month? Those got cancelled when a billionaire bought up the area. That St. Patty's day parade that you LOVED going to every year? You now have kids and can't seem to find the time. That bar you used to frequent multiple times a week and see all your friends at back in the day is now full of faces you hardly recognize. The power outages and tropical storms that seemed "quaint" in your first couple of years are now a pain in the ass that you are so OVER dealing with. Drinking and partying every single day after work with your friends used to be a blast... until it started to catch up with you. The concept of "island time" which seemed so darned meaningful and relaxing at first now isn't so lovely when the electrician was supposed to show up at noon and it's now 6PM and now you'll have to go without running water for the night. Your best friend who's lived on-island for 12 years just moved away after abruptly losing his job. This list goes on forever.

The sensational stuff like crime, cost of living, etc are what grabs headlines, but, for most people that were born in the states, it's the culmination of everything, not a single thing, that eventually makes them leave. The islands are their temporary homes, sometimes for years or even decades. But, in the end, most realize that the states -- where all their family is -- is their real home, and they return to it once they've had their fill of the VI.

Yes, there are those who move down, fall in love with the islands and stay forever. But, they are the exceptions. Island life isn't for everyone, and that's ok. Some make it for a month, some a year, some a decade, some more. But, most don't stay forever.

They just want to move on. Been there, done that. "VI 'till I die?" Easiah said den done, mehson.


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OldTart
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November 20, 2015 8:11 am  

For the people who are still living there but have cited many negative attributes that drive away transplants....what keeps you living on the islands?

A question which has been asked many, many times over but to which there oddly has been no response at all as far as I recall. Nor does it seem that the majority of those who complain do anything constructive to effect change other than repetitively complain and bemoan. Funny, dat, but not unusual. That empty drum beats very loud. 😀


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stjohnjulie
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November 20, 2015 8:52 am  

For the people who are still living there but have cited many negative attributes that drive away transplants....what keeps you living on the islands?

For me, a big part of it is that I no longer fit in in the states. I don't like how people don't look at or greet one another. I don't like cookie cutter anything. I don't like keeping up with the Jones. I don't like gigantic grocery stores. It all just feels strange and overwhelming to me now.


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Gumbo
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November 20, 2015 9:00 am  

)

For the people who are still living there but have cited many negative attributes that drive away transplants....what keeps you living on the islands?

For me, a big part of it is that I no longer fit in in the states. I don't like how people don't look at or greet one another. I don't like cookie cutter anything. I don't like keeping up with the Jones. I don't like gigantic grocery stores. It all just feels strange and overwhelming to me now.[/quote
(tu)


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OldTart
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November 20, 2015 9:18 am  

Couldn't agree with you more, Julie as I feel exactly the same - but you're not one of those who endlessly complains which was shangirl's point.


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STXBob
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November 20, 2015 11:26 am  

For the people who are still living there but have cited many negative attributes that drive away transplants....what keeps you living on the islands?

A question which has been asked many, many times over but to which there oddly has been no response at all as far as I recall. Nor does it seem that the majority of those who complain do anything constructive to effect change other than repetitively complain and bemoan. Funny, dat, but not unusual. That empty drum beats very loud. 😀

I stay for the weather, the friendly people, and the slower pace.

Many of us do try to effect positive change, and it's often futile. Slowly we learn, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."


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Afriend
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November 20, 2015 12:31 pm  

What keeps people living in the islands? - The same things that keep people living in any place where they may not be completely happy. Maybe they can't afford to make a move, they don't handle change very well, they worry about finding employment in their "new" location, they have strong ties to family and/or friends where they now live, the kids are still in school, they have no idea where they might want to relocate or maybe they hate living in the islands but their spouse loves it so much they stay for the sake of the marriage. These are but a few of the reasons people stay when they'd rather move. The list of reasons is endless.


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vicanuck
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November 20, 2015 1:02 pm  

After 12 years of owning a business and living here, I'm just not compatible with living on the mainland, especially where its cold.


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SausageInTheCan
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November 20, 2015 3:10 pm  

Getting dicked by employers like Underwater Safaris and Caribbean Auto Mart.

A few years ago CAM lost an employee before he even got here because they screwed him over at the last minute on the relocation deal.


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Exit Zero
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November 20, 2015 4:29 pm  

Getting dicked by employers like Underwater Safaris and Caribbean Auto Mart.

A few years ago CAM lost an employee before he even got here because they screwed him over at the last minute on the relocation deal.

And many other employees have worked at both places for years.


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SausageInTheCan
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November 20, 2015 6:29 pm  

The thread relates to why people leave.


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OldTart
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November 20, 2015 7:16 pm  

The thread relates to why people leave.

The constant posting and repetitive bashing of two local companies gets tedious. Further, if an employee was lost before he even got here, that employee hardly qualifies statistically or is representative of someone who moved here and left ...


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SausageInTheCan
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November 20, 2015 8:09 pm  

They should be bashed because of the way they treat people. It goes to why people leave. If an employer can't even recruit from the mainland then there's a good reason why people will not stay. Thanks for you two cents once again. It's an opinion and I'm entitled to mine.

People reading should know what goes on here before they move. It's still a moving web site. Isn't it?


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mtdoramike
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November 20, 2015 10:53 pm  

Paradise is only paradise when viewed from afar or when only visited for a short time. But even paradise can become boring and hum drum when people have to carry on with their work a day lives and can't stop to really enjoy the small things and reflect back on why they moved to paradise to begin with.

Now my wife and I would love to move back especially since St. Thomas is her home with all her family still living there. But unfortunately for me, other than short visits moving back isn't really an option since I have a bum ticker and can't really take the hills like I used to nor is the medical facilities any where close to what we have here in the states. I can call for an ambulance where I live in Central Florida and the wait is at most 5-7 minutes for rescue and 10-15 for an ambulance. On the Northside of St. Thomas your looking at no rescue and an ambulance time is about 45 minutes if your lucky.

mike


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Exit Zero
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November 21, 2015 1:59 am  

I was only pointing out that those 2 places have employees who have worked there for years and so they didn't feel mistreated, it would seem - if it was said that 'some' companies mistreat employees, rather than singling out those 2, that there is some personal vendetta with, I doubt I would have even commented.


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OldTart
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November 21, 2015 10:24 am  

Exactly. (tu)


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SausageInTheCan
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November 21, 2015 3:16 pm  

They should be singled out and people made aware of their deceptive and cruel business practices. If they did not want to be bashed publicly then they should think of that before they mistreat people and not after.


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James T
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November 21, 2015 4:47 pm  

Exactly. (tu)


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shangirl
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November 22, 2015 4:11 pm  

@mtdoramike- I understand what you mean about paradise just from living in Florida. My daughter has a friend who lives in Vermont. Her mother just told her living in Florida wasn't "real life". That "going to the beach every day year round was not real life." Well, I would have to agree with her, since I don't know anyone here who goes to the beach every day year round. Not even my friends who live ON the beach. Not even me who now lives quite close to beaches. No, we work, and drive our kids to events, and help them with homework and do laundry and cook dinner and take care of sick kids and, and, and....try to make it to the beach when we can.

BUT, there are advantages, even though it is real life, I can get to what others think of paradise for a couple hours if I can carve the time. I do drive across the causeway on my way to some errand and watch the sun set over the ocean behind the palm trees and sigh a happy sigh. Most of us do have passes to the amusement parks and use them a few times a year. We don't have to get on a plane to hop a cruise ship for a few days. Growing up in New Hampshire I knew like one family who had been on a cruise. Here, living in a port city, everyone has done it. Take away the cost of airfare for a family and get on one of the shorter cruises and it becomes a pretty affordable vacation for most, at the very least for a couple.

So, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the fact that yes, this is real life, but it is real life with benefits if you ask me.

OldTart- You got my point exactly. You seem to have a handle on the fact that the islands are not perfect by any means, but you choose to stay there because there are things you love about it more than the things that are imperfect. Others I see seem to know the islands are not perfect, but are missing the part, or seem to be missing the part, where they love it anyway because they feel the good outweighs the bad. I was wondering what things make those people stay, maybe they would tell me the wonderful reasons they do want to stay despite the negative aspects. I truly thing there are positive and negative aspects to living anywhere. And sometimes you stay somewhere you don't like because you don't have another choice right now. Maybe that is the case for some on here.

Right now in Florida we are all wishing it would cool off just enough to open the windows as we have had record heat this November (looks like we get some relief tomorrow). Florida politics are sketchy and we are often made fun of in the news because of all the "crazies" here. Florida is not what old Florida used to be and I have had to find new favorite places as my old favorites become overrun with tourists or crazy teenagers (Clearwater Beach). Fighting fleas with pets is often a losing battle I never dealt with in the cold of New England and mosquitoes...well they still have not died off this year as it is unseasonably hot still. Crime is high in some favorite areas and much of Florida is devoid of a culture of its own due to the high amount of transplants from other states. We are in the south but in many ways we are not like the rest of the south. Who is Florida? Despite all this, and even with my nostalgic love of my home state in New England, I wouldn't move back there. Last year I had the chance to spent a lot of time in New England because my Florida born daughter decided to go to boarding school for high school in CT. I spent a lot of time visiting her. It was gorgeous in september!!! In october we froze at one of her all day, outside horse shows, but the leaves were beautiful and it smelled like fall. In November we froze again.....but the holidays...oh it was so nice to have the chill for the holidays. In December we froze more as the winter wind blew through the open barn doors and we tried to hide from it......but the Christmas lights and the holiday music and the dusting of snow!!! How beautiful!!! In February....we froze. We fricking froze. And then we froze some more. And then we were caught in a snow storm and a one hour drive turned into three as the roads made it impossible to drive. Then I almost went off the road in my rental car. Then I wore pajama pants to bed tucked into warm fuzzy socks because I just couldn't get warm. On my last morning I got up an hour early to shovel out my car, clear snow from my car, scrape ice from my car, warm frozen feet that were packed with snow in my boots. Drive slowly to the airport and hope I could make it out of that god-forsaken place. Back to Florida. 70 degrees, imperfect, but perfect for me 😉

My daughter made it through her freshman year before she decided she had enough of her New England adventure and came home. Riding her horse in 15 degree weather, which was the cutoff for riding at the school, was just no fun, nor was digging her bicycle out of the snow, walking through the snow to get to the cafeteria, eating ramen in her room instead.

Whew....sorry for the long message! I really love hearing about the islands and just wanted to give a little of my experience of living in a place that many in the states consider to be paradise. Have a great day on your islands!!!

Shannon


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mtdoramike
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November 22, 2015 10:27 pm  

Shannon, it sounds like you would be a perfect transplant for the Islands especially with your attitude of being able to make lemon aid out of lemons. You described Florida beautifully.


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shangirl
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November 23, 2015 1:54 am  

Thanks mtdoramike- I figure some amount of lemonade making will be necessary anywhere.


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