Of all the places in all the world… St. Croix, USVI?
ME: So, we’re moving to St. Croix.
ME: St. Croix it’s in the Virgin Islands. (silent blinking and looks of surprise)
FRIEND: You are either really cool, or crazy. I can’t decide.
ME: I would like to think that I am both cool and a little crazy.
FRIEND: Why? What made you choose St. Croix? Of all the places in the world, why there?
Once we’ve gotten past the “you’re crazy” moment of this discussion, inevitably we land on this final question: “Why St. Croix?” I will now attempt to lay out our rationale and the reasoning beyond this move to the many inquiring minds!
6 Reasons – in no particular order
1 – Budget
My dear wife Sarah was out for the evening fulfilling a church responsibility leaving me at home with our two sleeping children. Usually I read or go to sleep myself. However on this particular night I wandered down to the basement and decided to tap the vastness of NETFLIX. I don’t watch a lot of television so this truly was a rarity. I happened upon a show entitled “Half Priced Paradise” on HGTV. Intrigued I watched an episode or two – alright maybe three. It was fascinating! The entire premise is people moving from very expensive places to less expensive places that suit them better. For example, I watched an episode where a couple moved from New Jersey to South Florida and halved their cost of living. After watching three episodes I began the Google search of “cheapest places to live” I looked at Texas, Georgia, Ohio, and many other places. Incidentally, the US Virgin Islands (including St. Croix) are not on that list. After a few days of this list, I decided randomly to check the real estate market on St. Thomas (I have visited St.Thomas once while on a cruise). Due to the economic crisis of 2008, (which hit the USVI about two years later than the mainland) the housing market offered some very reasonable prices on some great homes. That clinched it. Sarah and I decided that if we could live without a mortgage payment on a house, I could work anywhere and make enough to live on. We bounced back and forth between St. Thomas and St. Croix and ultimately decided St. Croix would best suit our family. St. Thomas is known as “The City” of the Islands, St. John is “The Nature Preserve” and St. Croix is “The Country.” We like the idea of being “A little bit country” so St. Croix it is. We will own our home outright – NO MORTGAGE. Hurray for the equity we had built up in our previous home!
2 – Cultural Perspective (and a brief history lesson)
Prior to deciding on St. Croix we entertained the idea of teaching internationally and really liked the idea of offering our children (two boys 9 and 7) a broader cultural perspective. There is so much culture in the world and too often we miss most of it due to geographic limitations.
St. Croix is a territory of the United States that has been under the rule of seven different nations. It is the ultimate melting pot. First on the island were the Arawak Indians, an indigenous people. They were followed by the Carib Tribe – who greeted Columbus on his second voyage to the new world in 1493. Columbus was the first to lay claim to the island in the name of Spain, however it was the Dutch (Netherlands) and British who first inhabited the island together. After a feud between the Dutch and English, in which both Governors were killed, the Spanish moved in to claim the island. Hearing of the political unrest on the island, Louis the XIV sent soldiers to seize the island for the French Crown. Phillipe de Poincy, a Knight of Malta, succeeded in establishing the French West India Company on the Island. Sadly, the French did not fair well on the island and had mostly abandoned it by the early 1700’s. In 1733 the Danish purchased the island from the French and established the Danish West Indies Company famous for the farming of sugar cane, distilling of rum, and a burgeoning slave trade. It was during the reign of the Danes that Alexander Hamilton began his climb up the political ladder to become one of America’s founding fathers. With the abolition of slavery, hurricanes, and other factors taking a toll on the sugar cane plantations, St. Croix began a sharp descent from its former economic prosperity. In 1917, the United States of America purchased the Island from Denmark for military reasons. The US was wary of Germany and its European prowess, and didn’t want the Danish Territories under German influence if perchance Denmark should fall to Germany.
Thus the United States is the latest flag to fly over St. Croix. The people, places, and history attached to this tiny island in the Caribbean offer a different and multi-cultural experience that we are missing in our current location. We are very excited about the learning and cultural opportunities that await us in St. Croix!
3 – Citizenship
As an unincorporated territory of the United States of America, I don’t need a green card to work. Hurray for finding gainful employment! I can get a job and enjoy all of the rights and privileges that I do now. The only exception that I have found thus far is that citizens of the Virgin Islands do not get to vote in Presidential elections….meh…no loss there!
4 – Employment Opportunities
St. Croix is a tourist Mecca with many opportunities in the hospitality industry. While going to college, I worked the front desk of a hotel and thoroughly enjoyed it. With the resorts and hotels and tourism in general it seemed promising in regards to finding some employment when we arrive.
Due to the rich history of the Island, there are also many National Parks/Monuments etc. on the Island. I have had the great pleasure of working for the National Park Service for 7 Seasons at Timpanogos Cave National Monument. If the Department of the Interior is willing to hire me in St. Croix I will look forward to preserving the many natural resources on the island, or helping to interpret the fantastic history of the island with visitors and locals alike!
As an educator of 14 years, teaching is probably what I do best! There are many schools on the island; public, parochial, and private. If given the chance to share my knowledge with the youth of the island, I will embrace that opportunity. There is also the University of the Virgin Islands on the island which could be intriguing as well.
There just seemed to be many opportunities for employment that suit my past work experience – so St. Croix it is!
5 – Pace of Living
What is island time? Duncan Hurd from thisslowlife.com describes it like this:
I found myself saying “it’s too much” in regards to just about every facet of my life. I decided that I needed to find a place where the clock runs a little slower and life is enjoyed a little more. I am 36 and exhausted. So in selecting places to live, we needed somewhere that would be drastically different from the norm. Mainland living is sadly about the same no matter where you live on the mainland. Everything is a crisis and most people are moving at such speed that the simplest of joys is passed by. I wanted a place where we could slow down enough to grow closer as a family. Where my job didn’t keep me from spending quality time with my boys while they are still young. If like me, you find yourself saying, “It’s all just too much” consider finding a way to put the brakes on and say “no” to the rat race.
6 – Climate
For the past couple of weeks, I have had the sad duty of scraping my windshield every morning. I have never liked the cold. I don’t enjoy shoveling snow. I am not a skier or snowboarder. So other than the beauty of freshly fallen snow, I don’t really care that much for winter. Unfortunately, on my current latitude, I spend about 4 months dealing with snow, frost, ice, fog, etc…. I am ready for blue sky, sunshine, warmth, and humidity. Yes, you read correctly – I am ready for humidity. I have had problems with my eyes and skin due to the dry environment I currently live in. My Corneas and epidermis will benefit greatly from the humidity found on St. Croix. Who knows, it may get old after a while, but for now, especially in the dead of winter, it sounds GREAT!
There you have it! 6 of the many reasons why we are moving to St. Croix!
It was nice reading your story. I have looked into moving to the USVI’s for a couple years now. I will most likely not bite the bullet because we are a close family and my parents and brother are here in Michigan. So instead we just vacation to the Caribbean. It is still a dream to move some day in the future. I would have the same idea of buying a place cash and just working in any industry to cover food and taxes and other random bills. I don’t thing my kind of work is done there, but I am able to work remotely and am thinking that I could make a good living doing my current job there via the internet. My only worry would be that I might not be able to during hurricane seasons if internet connections are not stable. either way, thanks for the inspirational story. Its good to see people follow their dreams.
We love it here! As far as working remotely, it really would depend on how you are able to stay connected. We were able to use a hotspot from our phone as soon as the Wireless network was back up here. Thanks for reading and keep on dreaming!
I just discovered your blog after looking up plane tickets for a nice week-long fall or winter getaway this year. It sounds like a lovely place to live and raise a family and I would totally do the same if I were you!
Do you know if airbnbs generally have wifi? I may stay a bit longer if I can work from home.
Lisa, St. Croix IS a great place to live and raise a family! You will really love being here. Yes, most Airbnbs do have wifi. Come and stay a while! Thanks for stopping by.
We are moving to St Croix
We all ready got a house on the Frederiksted side trying to sale or stuff we’re not talking hope to be their before the end of summer I did HVAC in Missouri
The island is great and you will enjoy it!
It’s great to see more families interested in moving to St Croix “post Maria.” Although not exactly on the list of cheapest places to live (the cheaper housing & tax structure is offset by expensive goods, healthcare and insurance) there are still so many reasons to get an island life.
We purchased a villa in an HOA controlled community in July 2018. We still have another year before we can go there permanently due to my work, but renting out your place until you can occupy it is a very attractive option right now. Rents are through the roof, what with hurricane recovery people still on the island and a refinery set to begin ramping up and producing again.
My wife and I are looking forward to a very unique and adventurous retirement on St Croix!
I’m sure your retirement will be well worth the wait! Thanks for reading!
Thank you for the insight! Looking to relocate our family of five from Florida. Will have to rent as we do not own here. Any advice on school for the kids? Ours are 6,4 and 1.
Hello! Thanks for reading! Renting here is tricky as there are still a lot of people here for recovery as well as those who are relocating to work for Lime Tree Oil Refinery. As for schools, ours attend the private school, Good Hope Country Day School. That is where my husband and I teach and so our kids attend there. It is a great school! There are also a lot of families who choose to homeschool and there is a thriving and supportive community.
We purchased a home in Good Hope in December of 2018. We assumed we’d sell everything and be there by the summer in 2019. It’s so hard to sell your entire life and only keep enough to fit into a 40 ft container. Needless to say, we didn’t get everything sold in time and now with the world coming to a halting stop with this coronavirus…aaaah! We hope to be ready late this summer/early fall. I’m excited to be on St Croix permanently.
This has certainly been a hard time for many! Hang in there! You’ll get here soon!
Thought to myself, why not congratulate Stewart and Sarah after reading their story fully. I have my sights on St. Thomas, summer of 2021, on the other hand. I wish home to be a motor yacht obtained through sale of properties, investments, etc. I will be pursuing retirement while the wife seeks to resume as a Licensed Massage Therapist, who also has 25 years experience within the Hospitality Industry. I will turn 65, she 52 making the children grown and on their own. Therefore, I commend you all for uprooting as a family. Perhaps the next feelgood story may be the one I submit!!
Sounds like a great retirement plan! All our best!
We’re looking into buying a business on the island right now. Very excited and hope it works out. Just need to find a bank to help with financing the expansion.
I wish you all the best with a business there! There is so much potential on the island!
Hi! Hope you’re doing well. We heard St Croix had a little Covid outbreak. We are still working on our business purchase but have run into a stumbling block finding an assessor for an outside valuation. I don’t suppose you know anyone on St Croix who does commercial appraisals do you? ?. Hope to be headed your way soon!! ??????
Thanks for reading, Debby! Unfortunately, we had to leave the island you can read about it here. Wishing you all the best!
Can you tell me how the schools are in St. Croix? We are considering moving there in a few years. I have elementary age kids.
In our experience, we chose to home school at first and then my husband got a job at the private school, Good Hope Country Day School, that enabled us to be able to send our two boys to the school. If you are able to, I would ABSOLUTELY send them to GHCDS. We love the people and the environment there. We miss many dear friends who are teachers and administrators there. If you are not able to send them to GHCDS, there is a thriving home school community who often meet for social (when it’s not pandemic time) events and other activities. Unfortunately, we do not have experience with the public schools so can’t really speak to them. Best of luck!!!
Been wanting to move to a tropical island all my life, finally decided to bite the bullet and start looking for property. I have a trip planned to take my wife to st. Thomas for our 9th anniversary, but I’ve been looking at houses on st. Croix for a year now. Lol
St. Croix is the best of the 3 US Virgin Islands….in our opinion. As it was described to us, St. Thomas is the city – St. Croix is the country – and St. John is the wilderness. We prefer the country. It has just enough economy to not feel to removed from the world but enough space to still escape at times. When you go to St. Thomas, you should take the ferry or a flight to St. Croix to check it out. We wish you all the best in any new adventure you may choose!
I love your story. I have had the life long dream of living on a beautiful islands. All things point to St.Croix. I enjoy more of the country life myself. I’m bringing a teenager, if you have recommendations on the best options for schooling and other options I would love to have your input.
I’m in the beginning stages of planning and any other tips are welcome. I work on healthcare and will be seeking work as well.
Thank you in advance.