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Young Florida couple longing for Island Life  

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AmeelsOnWheels
(@AmeelsOnWheels)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 14
June 1, 2016 9:23 pm  

Hello USVI!

My boyfriend & I are seriously considering taking the leap and moving to St. Croix. Honestly, I think our souls have already made the decision so there really is no other option! Unfortunately we can not just snap our fingers and be there, and being that we are both fairly good planners, we might as well just start the process of planning.

Now we are both from Tampa, Florida- so "tropical" life is not very foreign to us, but the hustle and bustle of the mainland is starting to weigh heavy on our daily life. A smaller community on an island is just our style and the island life is the life for us.

So basically I'm here to get any and all advice for anyone that is willing to give.

Our rental budget will be as low as we possible(max $750 per month)- and we don't believe we will be able to afford a vehicle until we have been established and build up some income.

We both have extensive backgrounds in the Service Industry- Front of the House for myself and Back of the House for the Boa (he is currently a Chef at a Speak Easy here in Tampa) and I also have an Associates in Science with a Concentration in Counseling and Human Services. I love children and people of all ages. If you have any information on available opportunities please feel free to message back!

Thank you- I look forward to hopefully chatting with you all on this forum!

Bless yes!
Amelia Rose


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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2404
June 1, 2016 9:44 pm  

Start there now by simplifying and saving some serious cash. It is a much easier transition to here if you can afford the start up costs without strain.Cash for 3 months rent up front, deposits on utilities and some form of transportation so you can extend your range for job hunting and daily essential chores are practically the minimum expenses, finding a home that suits makes life way more bearable and a $$ stash for the time it takes to find a job that pays your bills is reality. Enough money to get off island if this all does not work out is a very good plan too. Plenty of good info in the drop down categories in the header on this site, the Settlers Handbook is a worthy purchase, a pre move visit, not vacation, is an absolute help on decision making. Many jobs are extremely seasonally dependent income wise.

$10 K is commonly a figure that is bandied about by people who have done it recently.


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Betsyshaffer
(@Betsyshaffer)
Advanced Member
Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 31
June 1, 2016 10:52 pm  

My sister and I moved to stx last November. You really need a car to get around and to do errands. This is not a walking nor biking community. The roads are very narrow, no place to safely walk or bike. I guess you could make it work if you find a place in frederiksted or Christiansted close to grocery and beaches. Public transportation not so much.


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St X
 St X
(@St_X)
Advanced Member
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 133
June 1, 2016 11:11 pm  

You will need to make a car a priority. You are infinitely more hirable with a car.
$750/month rent will seriously limit your options.
We are quickly approaching summer which is hit or miss for service industry jobs. Many restaurants close for either Sept or Oct (for the whole month).
I hope it works out for you!


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Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 12291
June 1, 2016 11:43 pm  

$10K goes pretty fast.
By the time you pay 1st, last and security on a rental, hook up utilities, purchase basic groceries and necessities like linens, cookware, and a reliable car.....boom,
you're out of money and don't yet have a job. furnishings?
Do your research.

Rentals in STX cheaper than STT but everything else is expensive, especially if you're coming from FL.

Living in the VI doesn't remotely resemble living in FL.
Definitely do a premove visit.
Good luck!


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STTsailor
(@STTsailor)
Trusted Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 640
June 2, 2016 12:10 am  

Come over and indulge in islands beauty and powerty.
When you are poor life here is really simple here. Boils down to food,water and shelter. So romantic. Join many others. Welcome.


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Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
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Joined: 6 years ago
Posts: 2357
June 2, 2016 12:31 am  

A car is a must. Don't even think about a moped.


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speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 8792
June 2, 2016 11:03 am  

come for a visit , maybe a week or so, to see how much of what you want is doable


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AmeelsOnWheels
(@AmeelsOnWheels)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 14
June 2, 2016 1:31 pm  

Thank you all--

We will definitely be doing a visit soon-- and hadn't even hoped to make a full transition until sometime next year.

So...

**transportation a must
**save up, what seems to be an unattainable, amount of money (for us at least)
**stay blessed
**come visit
**never leave

<3 🙂 <3


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AmeelsOnWheels
(@AmeelsOnWheels)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 14
June 2, 2016 1:36 pm  

Come over and indulge in islands beauty and powerty.
When you are poor life here is really simple here. Boils down to food,water and shelter. So romantic. Join many others. Welcome.

BLESS!
Thank you-- needed to hear this in the midst of the straight and narrow.
I am definitely somewhere between wanting modern living amenities and living in a shack by the ocean. such is life.


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Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered
Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 2404
June 2, 2016 3:56 pm  

Thank you all--

We will definitely be doing a visit soon-- and hadn't even hoped to make a full transition until sometime next year.

So...

**transportation a must
**save up, what seems to be an unattainable, amount of money (for us at least)

**never leave

<3 🙂 <3

The pre move visit should give you a good idea of what kind of apts. are available in your budget and an understanding of the lay of the land in STX, job market, living costs, community - use the time wisely to explore and ask questions . Have a rental car!!
transportation -- I think you will find that it is truly a necessity - but you could ship your reliable car or budget for a mid price used car here.
Saving $$ - start to simplify your current lifestyle NOW - make a concerted effort to cut expenses, start a dedicated fund - sell a lot of your current possessions, you probably won't be bringing them and it will cut down on shipping costs. Maybe work an extra job there with a goal in mind.

Never leave -- unlikely -- even if it is years down the road for a plethora of reasons.

Read all the info in the drop down menus in this boards header - you will learn much useful info doing it.


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Afriend
(@afriend)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 504
June 2, 2016 4:13 pm  

BLESS!
Thank you-- needed to hear this in the midst of the straight and narrow.
I am definitely somewhere between wanting modern living amenities and living in a shack by the ocean. such is life.

I don't mean to burst your bubble but "...living in a shack by the ocean..." on the two of budget you seem to be gravitating toward is a pipe dream. There are no "shacks by the ocean" - only $million dollar homes and pricey condos.

You have to be a bit more realistic.


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STTsailor
(@STTsailor)
Trusted Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 640
June 2, 2016 4:51 pm  

There is alway an option of squatting on abandoned vessels in the Benner bay. Ocean front property!

One of the bay's in STJ has a fishing camp set up. Very simple life. Less than a tent. No electric. The bay has limited deep water access and there are no roads.

I sailed to that cove a couple of times. The guy comes out of his camp naked to fish twice a day with the spear. Pretty cool.


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
June 2, 2016 4:56 pm  

Getting back to earth and practicalities, you may not know that the territory doesn't participate in the Affordable Health Care Act and there is no affordable individual health insurance available here. Just something you should be aware of.


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stxsailor
(@stxsailor)
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Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 628
June 2, 2016 5:28 pm  

Not fair when I fish naked my wife yells at me.


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AmeelsOnWheels
(@AmeelsOnWheels)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 14
June 2, 2016 6:54 pm  

BLESS!
Thank you-- needed to hear this in the midst of the straight and narrow.
I am definitely somewhere between wanting modern living amenities and living in a shack by the ocean. such is life.

I don't mean to burst your bubble but "...living in a shack by the ocean..." on the two of budget you seem to be gravitating toward is a pipe dream. There are no "shacks by the ocean" - only $million dollar homes and pricey condos.

You have to be a bit more realistic.

Oh I know it's not a reliable or realistic dream to have (nor would I survive very long in a shack without modern amenities). Our budget is our budget, and there's not much around that... unless I win the lotto... which I don't even play.


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AmeelsOnWheels
(@AmeelsOnWheels)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 14
June 2, 2016 6:57 pm  

Getting back to earth and practicalities, you may not know that the territory doesn't participate in the Affordable Health Care Act and there is no affordable individual health insurance available here. Just something you should be aware of.

I've discovered that through surfing this forum. Lots of good info out there... what a bummer. So basicallllyy... do get hurt, on an island with rough terrain. Or sick... should be interesting!


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AmeelsOnWheels
(@AmeelsOnWheels)
Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 14
June 2, 2016 7:00 pm  

Thank you all--

We will definitely be doing a visit soon-- and hadn't even hoped to make a full transition until sometime next year.

So...

**transportation a must
**save up, what seems to be an unattainable, amount of money (for us at least)

**never leave

<3 🙂 <3

The pre move visit should give you a good idea of what kind of apts. are available in your budget and an understanding of the lay of the land in STX, job market, living costs, community - use the time wisely to explore and ask questions . Have a rental car!!
transportation -- I think you will find that it is truly a necessity - but you could ship your reliable car or budget for a mid price used car here.
Saving $$ - start to simplify your current lifestyle NOW - make a concerted effort to cut expenses, start a dedicated fund - sell a lot of your current possessions, you probably won't be bringing them and it will cut down on shipping costs. Maybe work an extra job there with a goal in mind.

Never leave -- unlikely -- even if it is years down the road for a plethora of reasons.

Read all the info in the drop down menus in this boards header - you will learn much useful info doing it.

Definitely going to be writing up a budget plan and focusing on sticking with it. Unfortunately we both have two jobs at the moment, but with the monthly bills and (some) student loans it feels like an impossible task to save money...


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CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Trusted Member
Joined: 7 years ago
Posts: 2483
June 2, 2016 7:17 pm  

Good to hear that you have been doing your research.
So you already know that your electricity will cost 4 times what you pay now.
Your food will cost more - everything is going to be more, except maybe your pay.
Cigarettes and hard liquor will cost less. That's about it.


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Afriend
(@afriend)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 504
June 2, 2016 7:22 pm  

For what it is worth, you are not alone. A lot of young people with limited means dream about living in the Caribbean but are unable to act on those dreams in the near term.

Spouse and I honeymooned on a tropical island and "caught the bug". A few years later we we contemplated relocating to an island but, like you, had very little money so we put those plans on hold. Fast forward about 30 years - we kept the dream alive and after putting the kids through college and years of saving we finally found ourselves in a position to realize our dream. We took our time time visiting numerous Caribbean islands until we found the perfect one for us. And so, 17 years ago we purchased our property and built our "dream home". We've been living the dream ever since.


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LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1937
June 2, 2016 7:32 pm  

So basicallllyy... do get hurt, on an island with rough terrain. Or sick... should be interesting!

Meh, from what I've seen no one has insurance and the hospitals don't turn people away... not so sure how big of an issue this is... but I'm 36 & only been to the hospital "overnight" once in my life (it was here, however...).

they will take payment plans...

Shack on the ocean? how about a Tent near it? My mom lived in a tent with an extension cord from my house for MONTHS (she wanted to...)

I have two volunteers living in my house on a work/trade out program.. they pay exactly zero a month for living expenses (water, electric, internet, rent, garbage, entertainment from watching my mad farm life, I don't feed them,,,, very often). It's possible with the right personality to land a "house watching" gig as well, though not super easy.

So with all the nay sayers out there... there are options as well.... Just remember, with everything in life, drive, desire and perseverance trump all. (trump... haha!)


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OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 6523
June 2, 2016 7:34 pm  

Cigarettes and hard liquor will cost less.

Not even that so much any more. Visitors taking liquor back are getting much more savvy these days about the prices they pay "back home" as the savings on liquor is nowhere near what it used to be. And we have a new cigarette tax coming up.


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tedc
 tedc
(@tedc)
Advanced Member
Joined: 9 years ago
Posts: 75
June 2, 2016 7:50 pm  

For what it's worth, there are also plenty of people, particularly those who are young and relatively unencumbered, who simply take the plunge.

Planning and saving for 30 years sounds like torture to me, and there are plenty of opportunities for fate to squash your dreams in the span of three decades. Keep some stuff and contacts in FL, as well as a return ticket, come down and see what happens.

Some last a few weeks before retreating, some last months, some do stay forever. First weeks are obviously the hardest - but if flexible with living arrangement at first [may be month-to-month, may be a sub-let room, may find other opportunities], own good walking shoes, and network with everyone possible, the island sometimes looks favorably and aligns the stars for you. It's not a turn-key existence, unless you do have the $10-$25k most people say you "need" to start up here - which allows for instant gratification of nice apartment, a car or two, and time to find the perfect job.


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Afriend
(@afriend)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 504
June 2, 2016 8:26 pm  

Planning and saving for 30 years may seem like torture but doing so allowed us to purchase property and build our home for all cash and still have a nice nest egg so we can fully enjoy our retirement without any debt or financial concerns.

I'm not saying that approach is right for everyone, especially those who want instant gratification, but it was the path we and many others we know took. We have no regrets.


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LiquidFluoride
(@LiquidFluoride)
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Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 1937
June 2, 2016 9:26 pm  

especially those who want instant gratification.

That's one approach, mine is this: Life is short, do it (what ever "it" may be) while you can.

Think less, do more; trust yourself.


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