Notifications
Clear all

why people leave  

Page 6 / 8
 

islandnewbie
(@islandnewbie)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 66
December 25, 2015 1:26 am  

Hi Rambo - As a relatively new island resident and one who will be returning to the states as soon as possible, I'm fairly well qualified to tell you why we are leaving. Do not think that research on this (or any other ) site, watching a bunch of videos, or even short visits will give you a real feel for the island (we're on STX).

Warmth...yep, we have that, along with high humidity, dust from the Sahara, and LOTS of mosquitoes. If you're the kind mosquitoes love, buy stock in Cutter or Repel and be prepared to live in insect repellent. It tells you something when the outdoor restaurants have a table with cans of insect repellent at the entrance :-X The winter months aren't too bad and are nice and warm. Summer is HOT and HUMID, with very little "cooling island breezes" and heat indexes well over 100 degrees. Electricity is erratic and super expensive, so use of ac may need to be limited and didn't you come to the islands to live with the windows and doors open? Oh, and don't forget the other bugs (roaches, ants, centipedes, etc.). You will need to have a monthly pesticide treatment or do it yourself.

Laid back...not so much. If you never leave your gated community, spend all your time on the beach or at the pool, and have someone deliver your groceries, maybe so. But trips to the store or Home Depot or KMart mean dealing with crowds, frantic traffic, crazy drivers who make up their own traffic rules on the fly, and lack of many things you have gotten used to on the mainland. Don't forget this is a small island with over 48,000 people on it. There is a great deal of difference between laid back and "could care less", especially when you are dealing with contractors who show up hours or days late (or not at all), without a call or text or have a very loose definition of "qualified." And if you are uncomfortable around people "on the dole", you need to understand that about 50% or more of islanders receive some kind of public assistance, even if you don't usually see people standing on street corners with cardboard signs or asking for money.

We were also surprised at how many US companies will not ship to the US Virgin Islands, even if they ship internationally, and those that do often charge an arm and a leg in shipping costs. Even large companies like Amazon will only ship certain items. I couldn't get Apple to ship a couple of small parts.

Why are we leaving? Lots of little reasons.
- I am a mosquito magnet and can't go a day without a bite or more, even when covered with DEET. I am really concerned with the number of illnesses that are transmitted by mosquitos, illnesses that are reaching epidemic levels, with serious or fatal consequences and no vaccine or treatment. It feels like Russian roulette.

- It seems like every home in our area has at least two dogs...dogs that never stop barking. I don't think I've slept undisturbed through a single night since I've been on island. No concern for neighbors. Also, everything (except in the gated communities) appears at least a bit run down, and many areas truly look like slums or government projects, even in town and major shopping areas. I think this may be why people talk about "3rd world conditions." I agree with you that this is NOT a 3rd world country, not even close, but to many, when visually comparing it to mainland standards, it looks like people don't care.

- Too crowded...too many people. Not the laid back lifestyle we were hoping for. Unless we are at a beachside restaurant, it really doesn't feel like a tropical island (except for the weather) or island retreat.

- Even though it is a US territory, it is not the US in so many ways. Language (English, but not really), customs, general attitude (although the people are very nice as a rule). It is fine for a visit, but it will never feel like "home". This is not a criticism of the island and its citizens, just an observation from my point of view. It probably works well for younger people who can comfortably merge into the lifestyle, but it's just not for us. Come and visit for a time. Rent, drive the roads (watch out for the potholes), shop at the local stores, and get away from the resort and gated community areas, unless you plan to never leave them, if you really want to see if the island suits you as a permanent home. For us, it has not been "paradise" but just another place to live...a place without enough pluses to outweigh the negatives. Good luck.


ReplyQuote
susan56
(@susan56)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 147
December 25, 2015 3:27 am  

Totally agree with Island Newbie.

Plus, I got Dengue within the first month I was there.


ReplyQuote
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
December 25, 2015 8:53 am  

As has been repeated hundreds (if not thousands) of times, it's just not a good fit for everyone!

PS: This is also why we recommend NOT moving "lock, stock and barrel". Put your furniture and "stuff" in storage until you know/think you'll be staying for a while.


ReplyQuote
islandnewbie
(@islandnewbie)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 66
December 25, 2015 1:36 pm  

Prices here on the island (and we are pretty frugal)

Gas - now $2.69 on STX
Electricity - 39.19 cents per kWh
Auto Insurance - about the same
Groceries for a family of 2 - $600-$800 per month, not including dining out
Water - cistern (there is very little community or city water on the island. Make sure you get a house with a large cistern, at least 20,000 gallons)
Sewer - again, very few houses are on sewer. You will probably be on a septic system.
High speed internet - better to call it medium speed internet that will cost at least $100 a month
Cable - No cable. Satellite (Dish or Innovative) starts at about $90 a month after the first year specials. Ours runs about $180 with 2 HD receivers.
Cell - Depends on your provider. Several providers don't service the island or charge outrageous roaming charges. We have Consumer Cellular and our rates didn't change and we don't have roaming for calls back to the states.
Sin items - Liquor is cheaper, especially Rum. Don't smoke, so I don't know about cigs. Wine is about the same, although the same bottle in the states would cost less.
Home insurance - Very high and dependent on location. We have a modest home on a hill east of Christiansted and valued at about $500k. Our homeowner's insurance runs around $600 a month, but we had bids of up to $900 a month (Marshall & Sterling was the most expensive. We went with Lloyds.), If you get something in some of the gated communities or waterfront/near waterfront, plan on $1000-$1500 a month.
Taxes on your home are very reasonable, with a 60% discount for veterans after your first year of residence and an additional discount if you are over 65.


ReplyQuote
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
December 25, 2015 2:45 pm  

You purchased property on arrival too? Wow. Aside from leaving "stuff" in storage for a while, it's also been stressed many times over here NOT to buy real property for at least a couple of years. But hopefully the plans to move back will go smoothly.

On your prices, may as well mention that I pay $168/month for the Innovative bundle of landline, cable (one HD/DVD box) and internet. Well pleased with all of it. Still having a really hard time digesting the $6-800/month grocery costs for two people but you're not the only one who's come up with that figure.

All the best with your move and really so sorry it didn't work out for you. All experiences good and bad are helpful to others.


ReplyQuote
islandnewbie
(@islandnewbie)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 66
December 25, 2015 6:10 pm  

Thanks, OT. My husband didn't want to rent, so we bought after several short visits (are you listening, Rambo?). Looks like it is going to cost us about double to get back to the states. Sometimes we are definitely our own worst enemy. HGTV is not a reputable way to visit the islands. 😛


ReplyQuote
Finatic
(@Finatic)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 91
December 25, 2015 6:33 pm  

Thanks, OT. My husband didn't want to rent, so we bought after several short visits (are you listening, Rambo?). Looks like it is going to cost us about double to get back to the states. Sometimes we are definitely our own worst enemy. HGTV is not a reputable way to visit the islands. 😛

A sad story heard too often. Good luck with your return and may smoother seas await you there.


ReplyQuote
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert
Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 5376
December 25, 2015 8:18 pm  

islandnewbie: Your experience is probably more than typical. So many people think that living here will be just like in the states but with better weather. There are so many ways that it is totally different, and you can't tell which one(s) of those will drive you insane. This is why many on this board have suggested:
1. Do not sell all your stuff back home. And don't ship it down. Put it in storage until you are sure.
2. Do not buy housing immediately. Rent until you are sure (6 months to a year).
3. Decide to stay for a set period of time- 6 months, a year, then see how it is going.
4. Realize that it is NOT "back home" and things will never operate the way they did there. After 20 years, I still can't believe there is no Sunday funny paper- except the Avis, I know!;) But that is something I never even thought about before I moved here.

At least you tried it. You can always say that you lived in the Caribbean for a time. 🙂 All the best to you.


ReplyQuote
cre
 cre
(@cre)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 67
December 25, 2015 8:52 pm  

It's definitely not for everyone. I was born and raised in St.Croix. I left after High School and promised that I'd never come back for many reasons. Over the years I began to see some positives to being on an island in comparison to being in NYC. The BS is still here but I came to realize that it isn't so much the island it's usually the people. I came back after 11 years so I kinda tailored my island experience(people I hang out with and places I go) and it's be working pretty well now. Sucks that it's doesn't work out for some people. Different strokes for different folks. New people brings new ideas so I welcome anyone to try it out.


ReplyQuote
wanderer
(@wanderer)
Trusted Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 596
December 26, 2015 12:47 am  

I came to realize that it isn't so much the island it's usually the people

That is an interesting hypothesis, but I think it's a bit more complicated. For example, an opposite argument can be easily made and convincingly defended: the USVI geography and history is what affected the way that Virgin Islanders think and act.


ReplyQuote
cre
 cre
(@cre)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 67
December 26, 2015 1:51 am  

No one on this forum is going to have the correct answer as to why people leave ... just opinions. And whoever did leave will have their reasons and that's where it stops. I spoke in 1st person in my response so I'm not speaking for everyone maybe some people will relate. You don't? That's great. One of the main reasons I came back was an Afro-Caribbean literature class which made me view the islands a different way.


ReplyQuote
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
December 26, 2015 9:53 am  

... maybe some people will relate. You don't? That's great.

To put things in perspective where opinions on the subject are concerned, wanderer has never lived here, ergo has never "left" in context. He spent a couple of weeks vacationing on STX and a week or so on STJ. This experience (in his opinion) provided him with all the knowledge necessary to give advice to those thinking of relocating here. 😀


ReplyQuote
quirion
(@quirion)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 427
December 26, 2015 9:12 pm  

7 months in and going strong. One thing we do that helps us remember why we moved is guarenteed beach trips every week with friends and I try to dive very often 🙂


ReplyQuote
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2335
December 26, 2015 10:44 pm  

7 months in and going strong. One thing we do that helps us remember why we moved is guarenteed beach trips every week with friends and I try to dive very often 🙂

(tu)(tu)(tu)


ReplyQuote
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 1885
December 26, 2015 10:58 pm  

18 months Wednesday here for me. Things are still good, if not different. My wife is back at work and my toddler is in school which was not part of the original plan but we still love it regardless of minor inconveniences. At this point I'd have to find a job at 2x my salary in a very few locales my wife has designated to get her to leave.


ReplyQuote
jonrobin
(@jonrobin)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 75
December 27, 2015 4:23 pm  

Thanksfor all the advice. My wife and I are going to come down April 20th. I have an interview at the hospital and if they will hire me we are going to move. Our plan is to rent and stay for a year. If we like it we will consider buying. We want to give it a try. We are at a point in our lives that we can. We don't want to regret not giving it a try.


ReplyQuote
stjohnjulie
(@stjohnjulie)
Trusted Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 875
December 28, 2015 8:24 am  

Good plan jonrobin! I always say, it doesn't have to be a permanent move. Just like anyplace else, if you don't like it, leave. The only thing you have to be a bit more careful with here is make sure you have enough money to leave. It's a little harder than just hopping in your car and renting a Uhaul, just takes a bit more money and planning. But we don't force people to stay if they want to leave 😀

What island/hospital are you going to?


ReplyQuote
jonrobin
(@jonrobin)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 75
December 28, 2015 10:36 am  

We are hoping it will be STX. We like that it is a little bigger and rural in some parts. I have been in contact with the hospitals on both STT and STX. They both seem to be interested in me. We will see what happens. Thanks again to all for all the info on this board, it has been very helpful. We know it will be alot different way of life but we are ready and are very excited.


ReplyQuote
stxsailor
(@stxsailor)
Trusted Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 627
December 28, 2015 11:56 am  

Four years and going strong. We've been renting for the whole time and are just now getting ready to buy. We took the risk and did ship everything. In spite of all the bumps, hiccups, frustrations we love it. It is paradise but paradise is what you make it. Some may try to ruin your paradise, but that will happen everywhere. Remember if following and living your dream was easy, everyone would do it!


ReplyQuote
Matt T
(@Matt_T)
Advanced Member
Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 261
December 28, 2015 11:57 am  

Well I've been kiteboarding for a week straight, the winds have been great! Went to the village last night and had a blast. Superb weather lately with sun, nice breezes, and the occasional interspersing of rain to keep things green. Love the community on STX. Love the northshore on STX. Love just cruising around the island and enjoying life.

On the flipside, I could never move back to the continental US at this point. I love the tropics, mosquitos and all. I love the Caribbean people, chupps and all. I love the Caribbean music: Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Quelbe, Fungi, Merengue, Salsa and my boy Jon Gazi doing his Rockalypso. I love the ocean and all the activities and fulfillment it provides: surfing, kiteboarding, diving, sailing, swimming, paddleboarding. I love the clear Caribbean water and could stare at the reefs and multitude of water colors for hours. There is almost every shade of green on the hillsides. I love variety of culture, spice of life, and things to laugh at on a daily basis- the USVI certainly provides plenty of comic relief. I love beautiful flowers blooming on the side of the road, the smell of genips blooms in early summer, having an abudance of mangos and other fruits in season, being able to buy real charcoal at plaza extra or the side of the road by national guard. Ag Fair STX, Ag Fair STT in Bordeaux, Carnivals on all three islands, Dub in the Rainforest, Jump Up's, Love City Music Fest, BVI Music Fest, Regattas, hikes to tidepools, hikes to the lighthouse, exploring ghuts, exploring ruins, jumping off the pier, skating the halfpipe out west, island hopping by plane, island hopping by boat, Carnival parades, catching big fish offshore, catching small fish inshore, taking a dip or relaxing on the beach, sitting under a shade tree on a hot day with a cool drink...

I guess you get the point. This place is what you make of it and its not for everyone but it's certainly for me. I am an adopted Virgin Islander and grateful to be part of the community going on 10 years now!


ReplyQuote
jonrobin
(@jonrobin)
Advanced Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 75
December 28, 2015 12:03 pm  

We are also looking forward to things like that. I am a diver and my wife is going to get recertified. There is nothing better than exploring a new area and the history of it.


ReplyQuote
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2335
December 29, 2015 2:31 am  

I love the tropics, mosquitos and all. I love the Caribbean people, chupps and all. I love the Caribbean music: Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Quelbe, Fungi, Merengue, Salsa and my boy Jon Gazi doing his Rockalypso. I love the ocean and all the activities and fulfillment it provides: surfing, kiteboarding, diving, sailing, swimming, paddleboarding. I love the clear Caribbean water and could stare at the reefs and multitude of water colors for hours. There is almost every shade of green on the hillsides. I love variety of culture, spice of life, and things to laugh at on a daily basis- the USVI certainly provides plenty of comic relief. I love beautiful flowers blooming on the side of the road, the smell of genips blooms in early summer, having an abudance of mangos and other fruits in season, being able to buy real charcoal at plaza extra or the side of the road by national guard. Ag Fair STX, Ag Fair STT in Bordeaux, Carnivals on all three islands, Dub in the Rainforest, Jump Up's, Love City Music Fest, BVI Music Fest, Regattas, hikes to tidepools, hikes to the lighthouse, exploring ghuts, exploring ruins, jumping off the pier, skating the halfpipe out west, island hopping by plane, island hopping by boat, Carnival parades, catching big fish offshore, catching small fish inshore, taking a dip or relaxing on the beach, sitting under a shade tree on a hot day with a cool drink...

You forgot Mango Melee:-)


ReplyQuote
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 12275
December 29, 2015 8:14 am  

High prices for gas and groceries and many basic necessities, high cost of living, ill lit, pothole riddled roads, trash strewn everywhere you look, undependable electricity (mine is out as I write this), lack of affordable healthcare, lack of choices and options for a variety of things are all reasons people leave as well as aging parents, need to be closer to stateside family, health issues, etc.


ReplyQuote
Gumbo
(@Gumbo)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 490
December 29, 2015 11:23 am  

And the good news is. There are multiple flights leaving daily.


ReplyQuote
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2335
December 29, 2015 5:49 pm  

And the good news is. There are multiple flights leaving daily.

Don't take it for granted. Imagine if there weren't. Scary thought. Would really need to travel by cargo ship then.


ReplyQuote
Page 6 / 8
Settlers Handbook

Thinking about moving to the Virgin Islands?

The Settler's Handbook is a Indispensable Guide

The current 19th Edition, will help you explore your dream of island living. A solid reference book, it was first published in 1975. That's 40+ years of helping people move to the Virgin Islands.

Order Today $19.95
Close Menu