U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > U.S. Territories
 [Register]
U.S. Territories Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 12-17-2007, 02:44 PM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
4 posts, read 105,585 times
Reputation: 15

Advertisements

Hey! Whats up folks? I just joined this board as one of my first steps towards escaping the prospect of another pointless year here on the mainland. I just can't do it anymore.

Regardless, I will be posting many questions over the coming months as I intend to visit the Islands in March for a cursory once-over. I have the same questions everyone asks I'm sure....can I get work? where will I live? will the locals kill me and eat me? That sort of thing.

Looking forward to "talking" with you guys. Peace.

~doug
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 12-18-2007, 04:10 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 16,646,560 times
Reputation: 7618
Doug -

Ask away - so where in the VI are you intending to move, or have you picked an island yet? How often have you been there? All of the USVIs are very, very different. I can tell you about St. Croix...STT Resident lives on St. Thomas and has for 25 years.

The locals will not kill and eat you. Can you find a job? Depends on what you want, your qualifications, and how much you are willing to work to make ends meet. Cost of living may not knock you down coming out of Orlando, but it was an eye-opener for us.

Give us more info on your proposed move - just you? Pets? Rent or own? Kids (which changes EVERYTHING)...Island first and then we can deal with specifics - unbelievable how different each island is.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-18-2007, 11:45 AM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
4 posts, read 105,585 times
Reputation: 15
Hey Sam.

Thanks for the reply. I just wanted to put that first one out there to see if anyone was still reding this thread. Glad to hear from you.

I have yet to select an island for I have never set foot on any of them. I have traveled throughout the caribbean but never seemed to land in the USVI. Besides, I'm much more the type of guy who will let the island select him ya know? I've just known in my heart for a very long time that my place in the sun is somewhere in those islands. Call it pirate's intuition if you will.

I will be traveling with no kids, as I own none, minimal belongings, (as my stripper ex-wife has them all), and one very well-traveled and horribly spoiled indoor house cat. I was relieved to learn there was no quarentine period in the USVI. I would have had to look elsewhere if there were. I have resigned to the fact that at 41 I am probably never going to be a homeowner so renting is definately what I'm all about. Eventually I picture myself buying a live-a-board vessel and exploring the surrounding areas. But that's well down the road.

A little background on me should help you lead me towards a descent income, and ultimately assist my island in selecting me. Like I said previously, I'm 41 and recently divorced from a woman who wanted all the gold at the bottom of the sea but would never dream of diving for it herself ya know what I mean? I, on the other hand, am never afraid to get wet but would never share my treasure with someone so ungrateful. And with that, the cool biker and stripper couple from South Carolina were no more. Now I can go forward with what she called my "childish dream" of leaving this mainland and living my life, as only I know how to make me happy.

I am an artist. Musician, actor, photographer, writer. I am a biker. Long hair, free-spirit, anti-establishment to the end. A true "Live Free or Die" type of person. Some who know me best might say the last great amerikan pirate.
I like that title. My tattoos are not of skulls and flames, but of palm trees in blues and purples.

I am not too proud to work anywhere for a fair wage. It's never been about what I do for survival money, it's the art I create when I am free from the daily 9 to 5 that I concentrate on so I'm open to any type of employment. Obviously I would prefer to use my talent to earn my living. I would be happiest playing bass for a reggae band five nights a week and designing websites and graphics on a freelance basis from home but I dont expect to just stumble into that scenario right away. I am a skilled carpenter and know my way around a kitchen well enough so I would hope I could find something right away. I do wonder if my "long-haired white boy from the mainland thinks he's a pirate" look will work for or against me though. Maybe I could work at the Harley shop or a boatyard/marina.

The first and most important thing I want to find is SAFE housing for the cat and I. I hate living in fear. I won't ever again. No ghetto. I am realistic but, over my "career" in music I have had penthouse apartments and I have been homeless for weeks at a time. I can adapt to anything but I'd rather work three jobs and live in a nice, safe place than struggle with crime and drugs outside my front door anyday.

With all that info for you to digest I shall leave you with a few questions of my own. I'll just list them. Thanks again for the reply. And, yes....of course I am planning a couple of visits before just dive right in. I'm eccentric, not foolish.

~doug

Transport between islands? Cost? 24hours?
Readily available travel to mainland U.S.? 24/7/365?
Hurricane season?
Drivers license....Tied to U.S. or separate?
Transportation...Used cars/motorcycles/boats, insurance, THEFT RATE?
Locals...Friendly? Helpful?
Crime....where and how bad? what is super-safe?
Cops/Government..."live and let live" or "do as you are told"?
Rum....served with every meal?
and most importantly....the women. think there's one down there right now just waiting for a character like me to sail in?


Peace.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-18-2007, 12:57 PM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 16,646,560 times
Reputation: 7618
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbaxxx View Post
Hey Sam.



~doug

Transport between islands? Cost? 24hours?
Readily available travel to mainland U.S.? 24/7/365?
Hurricane season?
Drivers license....Tied to U.S. or separate?
Transportation...Used cars/motorcycles/boats, insurance, THEFT RATE?
Locals...Friendly? Helpful?
Crime....where and how bad? what is super-safe?
Cops/Government..."live and let live" or "do as you are told"?
Rum....served with every meal?
and most importantly....the women. think there's one down there right now just waiting for a character like me to sail in?


Peace.

Doug -

I'm going to take your questions first and then try to devleop a cohesive booklet of info that may or may not help.

Travel off island - between the islands you have a couple of choices - there's the seaplane, my favorite - http://www.seaborneairlines.com/ It goes between St. Croix (STX), St. Thomas (STT), and Puerto Rico. Starts running about 7:30 a.m. and ends dark time or so. American has some hoppers. Not sure if Caribbean Sun went under or not. There's also a ferry between St. Croix and St. Thomas that is notoriously unreliable and has switched hands a few times, not to mention the fact that it is one rough ride. It's also time-consuming for the money you spend. http://www.smithsferry.com/home.php I have not traveled with those folks, so I can't tell you one red thing about it. Travel to the U.S. is not 'round the clock. I think the STX airport closes about 10:00 and maybe STT closes at 11:00? If you can get to Puerto Rico you likely can get out before 11:00 p.m., but they also shut down. The interisland transfers are all on the bottom floor...you walk out onto tarmac at all three. Some of the airlines have direct routes but a lot of stuff goes through PR.

Hurricane season is hurricane season. We never had to go through too much, but the tales some of the folks can tell that were there are pretty impressive. Remember that St. Croix went without power for about 5 months, I believe, after Hugo. No power = no water, too, everything is on cistern. It's wet and rains a lot, but not for days on end...it's windy from the Christmas winds right after the end of season. Big winds. The very smart lay in a good supply of bottled water, food, etc. for when the big one comes. Everyone else just panics when a squall shows up. Speaking of which, the grocery stores are like every store. If you see something you like/want/need, buy it right then. It may never be there again. If you have the ability to store food, buy 3.

Drivers license is tied to the U.S. and records are checked. If you have a valid license it is easy to make the switch....a little time-consuming, but most everything is on island. Everything there moves at a snail's pace - a snail that is crippled.

Lots of used cars, no problem there. There are motorcycles, more predominant on STX - but remember that the sea air is going to take a toll on everything and rust it beyond recognition at some point if not well cared for. And there are very few places that have garages, so you deal with sea air eating everything up. Don't take anything you value, you won't recognize it in a year. Electronics come and go with the flick of a finger. Insurance seemed a little pricey to me, but I'm in backwoods Arkansas so go figure. It is necessary and required. Used boats? Pricey. Lots of folks sail theirs down or have a captain bring it down. Theft? Yes. Just lock up and be safe and pray - don't leave it in a marginal area, don't leave valuables or anything easily taken visible.

Locals will be friendly and helpful to some degree. Maybe not at first, but after they've seen you around for a while they will open up. There is an air of sullenness at first...as I said, people don't invest a lot of time in you because of the huge rate of attrition. You may or may not be there next week...prove yourself and you will find lots of friendly people.

Crime - oh, that it could be said "don't go here". Mostly it's use your head, your eyes, your gut...but there's a thing you won't understand until you see it - million dollar homes next to shacks. You will figure out very quickly where not to go. Same rules as the states - if it looks scary, is dark, there are lots of alleys, and there aren't people around, just be safe and stay away. You're talking about very, very small islands - you will figure it out quickly. I do think the crime rate is out of proportion to the population - again, Arkansan not in the big city talking here. I just always made it a point to be home by about 9:00. I will tell you we were held up there on our pre-move visit at a very popular restaurant on the north shore of STX. Not a pleasant experience at all. We assumed it was an anomaly, but it happens more than you might think.

Cops/government - hmmm. The police presence is not real strong, and the police are ill equipped and not well trained. There's some talk about a lot of corruption, too. I never met up with any of them so I never had a problem. Never even met but one when we got held up and they wouldn't come to where we were - we had to go to the police department in the middle of the night because it was "too far" for them to drive. Make of that what you will.

Rum is the cheapest thing going...so any mixed drink will be more rum than anything else. Beware - the Painkillers pack a punch!

Women - well, I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but there are a LOT more single men than women there. Women tend to come down with their love, men are more adventurous. I have sons that are 27 and 30. The younger was going to make STX his home but realized there absolutely were not any mainlander females that weren't already attached there and the locals seemed to be more interested in other locals. The running joke is to bring your own.

You may be able to work into something in construction. My suggestion? See if you can get on with Hess Oil and transfer with them and let them pick up the tab. Unless you know someone in construction you probably aren't going to make a very good wage for a while since construction in the islands is very, very different. And there are a thousand people wanting to do internet graphics work there, or tech work, or whatever. A lot of them are dying on the vine. The islands are not rocketing into the space age with computers.

St. Thomas is very urban and bustling. Unless you have a wad of money you haven't disclosed, you probably don't want to live on St. John or Water Island because the employment and housing opportunities are limited. Oh, you'll WANT to live there, but it may not be practical. St. Croix has more of a rural feel to it and is the largest island, but the chances for employment are probably better on St. Thomas.

Make sure you always have enough money to leave if you get enough...we came and we left. I have many friends who live there and wouldn't live anywhere else. I have other friends who left, and still more friends who would like to leave but can't afford to.

I will be honest - for what we spent to live there, we could have had a couple of excellent vacations a year. I'm not sure it would have gotten island living out of our blood. I never had rock fever, but I did miss being away from friends and family and the familiar. I miss it from time to time - it was our dream, we did it, and we're poorer in pocketbook but richer in memories for our time there. It is definitely not for everyone - the important thing is to be open, be friendly, say good morning, good afternoon, and good night to everyone, and try to find like "pirates". The continentals there do flock together for a while and find some comfort in their unique place in the sun but among the familiar of other continentals. Eventually you will catch your stride but it won't happen overnight. You may very well work 2-3 jobs to make ends meet. Rent is pretty high but there are deeals to be had - lots of locals rent out apartments that are built under the main house or off to the side, and if you are patient you will find one that will work for you. The fact that you only have a cat will make your "finding" that much easier, although pet friendly can sometimes be a trick. I hope your kitty lives indoors - many of the West Indians have dogs for alarm systems that may not be kitty friendly.

All I can do is warn you - when you do make your visit, get your eyes off the water and really look at what is there, and realize it may or may not change in your lifetime. Some things are evolving, but others remain the same. Take in the fun stuff and know that there are lots more good times to come, but also know that it can be tedious to work 18 hours a day to live on an island but never get to go to the beach - and I know some folks like that, too.

All in all, you can't predict who will make it and who won't - I haven't called it right yet! I'm just not sure anyone can know if they will make it until they try it - so much has to do with what is inside of you and the sum of your life to that point. It's not like moving from Atlanta to Dallas - anything and everything that was familiar to you will be gone for the most part. Just weigh things out carefully - it's a big adventure. For some it's the adventure of a lifetime, and we can only hope you fit into that category!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-18-2007, 04:34 PM
 
Location: U.S.V.I.
15 posts, read 84,752 times
Reputation: 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam I Am View Post
Cheers? Me thinks maybe you are a displaced Brit? LOL!
don't you live in ark.?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-18-2007, 04:43 PM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 16,646,560 times
Reputation: 7618
Quote:
Originally Posted by atlargecrb View Post
don't you live in ark.?
I think I said that...and who is this on St. John?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-19-2007, 04:56 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 60,615,256 times
Reputation: 26569
Excellent response, SamIAm. Would stress to dbaxxx the importance of making a pre-move visit of at least a couple of weeks and longer if possible. You could stay at Villa Fairview (www.villafairview.com) whose owner, Ronnie, has an excellent reputation for helping out potential newbies with good advice. Rent a car, travel around the island and get your feet wet less in the Caribbean sea but more in the basic mundanities of everyday life like shopping for everyday necessities, standing in line at the bank and at the Post Office, etc. The slow life and the long wait to get even the simplest task accomplished can be anathema to many.

The online newspaper, St Thomas Source (www.sts.onepaper.com) is an excellent source of information, and the Virgin Islands Daily News is online (I believe it's vidailynews.com but a google will get you there easily enough.)

The life here is not for everyone and, as has been stressed many times, the newbie attrition rate is VERY high. My first job here was a total disaster and after three months I ended up with no job, no car, an apartment and the dog and cat I brought with me. It was only serendipity that before I totally crashed and burned I found a wonderful position which I happily held for the next ten years. I'm still here after 24 years but am definitely the exception to the rule!

Don't burn your bridges back home, bring only the bare necessities and make sure you have enough money to go back if things don't work out for you. The very best of luck to you and have fun doing lots of research. Cheers!

Last edited by Sam I Am; 12-19-2007 at 05:05 AM.. Reason: website deletion
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-19-2007, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
4 posts, read 105,585 times
Reputation: 15
You guys are great. Thank you all so much. Do not worry, though I have limited finances I most assuredly will visit for a couple of weeks at a time before making the big move and will ALWAYS have return airfare set aside.

As far as the slow lifestyle and lack of immenities, not a problem. I have been training for island life since I was a kid. I have a long history with, and some great friends on Jamaica and in the Caymans, but neither of those places appeals to me in the long term. Maybe the VI will, who knows.

I have already spoken with Ron and he said the cat is no problem....she's more than welcome at his place, though I will leave her in Florida while I'm just visiting. No need to freak her out over a move that may not even happen right? I'm trying to line up some construction work for my visit to test the daily routine....and quite honestly help pay for the trip itself. I'm resourceful. I'll find something. In the evenings I will find musicians to hang out with and they will hopefully lead me to the artistic underground that exists in every city on the planet. If history is any indication I figure it should take me about 10 minutes to fall in with the "wrong crowd" and make new life-long friends.

If anyone has island pix, or would prefer to use it, you may certainly have my e-mail address. dbaxxx@rock.com

Talk to ya'll soon.
~doug
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-19-2007, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Orlando, FL
4 posts, read 105,585 times
Reputation: 15
*amenities

this thing should have spell check!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 12-19-2007, 09:24 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 16,646,560 times
Reputation: 7618
Doug, I have about 9 million of STX and STJ...I will post a picture thread later today and you can see it from a resident's eye, although many of these were taken at different festivals or whatever. I may also contact you via email with some links to Snapfish or something...you'll enjoy looking. I would suggest if you go to STX or STT that you try to make time during one of the festivals. Lots and lots of fun. STX has Jump Ups on the boardwalk in downtown C'sted - lots of beer and rum and mocko jumbies and rum and food vendors and rum. It's just for an evening, but it's a nice intro to the islands. Frankly, I wish you could get there during the Christmas celebrations, which go on and on and on, but maybe next year?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > U.S. Territories
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top