Exploratory Trip!

It’s time for another exploratory trip. Since we’re staying in the Keys another year we’ll be keeping our jobs another year which means money for travel. We figured we should take advantage of that and check out a few more potential places. In less than a month we’ll be exploring another potential future home, St. Croix.

Why St. Croix?

St. Croix has been on and off the list for a long time. Years. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been close to booking the trip and backed out at the last minute for another location. So why do we keep coming back to it? Well, there’s a lot attractive to us about the island. One of my friends here spent 9 months living there and loved it! The only reason he left was because he didn’t like the shop he was working for and had a job opportunity at a known shop here in Key Largo. When asked if he’d live there again? In a second. He loved it, no complaints.

What intrigues us:

St. Croix aligns well with our interests, it’s damn near perfect from the outside.

  • Diving – St. Croix has world-class diving. There are walls, reefs, wrecks and the Frederiksted pier – a top macro site. There’s no doubt in my mind we’ll be spending as much time diving as we can for as long as we can. Living somewhere with great diving is a must for the coming years.
  • Mountainous Terrain & Hiking – I miss hiking, woods & scenic vistas after a climb. St. Croix has all of these. Limited of course (it’s an island!) but it exists.
  • Gorgeous beaches! I miss being near the beach but I don’t miss the murky mid-Atlantic water. Living somewhere with white sand beaches & clear turquoise water would be amazing.
  • No work or residency requirements  – as a US citizen I can go to St. Croix without a passport and work without a work permit just like I can here. So easy. We both want to work in diving for some years after we leave our corporate jobs so this is a huge plus.
  • The climate – duh.
  • Strong Dive Industry – with the world-class dive sites comes a strong diving industry & opportunities to work in diving. Another pro.

What worries us:

There’s a reason we haven’t been there yet. As great as it sounds, St. Croix has been like reading a perfect dating profile with a few red flags glaring back.

Here they are:

  • Crime – after the oil refinery closed in 2012 crime took off. It employed a large chunk of the island and the closure caused predictable economic suffering. Has that resolved now that it’s been 5 years? My friend here says yes. He said crime there is like lots of other places, contained to a few “bad” areas and generally targeted versus random. I can live with that.
  • Cost of Living – always a concern. We can’t afford to live in the USVI without both working full-time which we don’t mind doing if we’re doing something we love. Being able to work without a permit will also help replace jobs more easily. We’ll be scoping out the job scene and visiting as many shops as we can. We’ve had our fill of sitting in front of a computer and then some.
  • Health Insurance – the USVI is in a weird spot when it comes to health insurance. It’s a US territory so expat policies like the ones we’d have access to outside the country don’t apply leaving us with few options for coverage. Not having coverage at 40 isn’t an option for us, it’s just not a risk we’re willing to take. We’d either have to find jobs there that provide insurance with coverage in the USVI or pay as we go there and get an ‘oh shit’ policy from the exchange here. That’s the risky part right now – with our idiot president and the mess that is our healthcare system, I’m not sure I want my healthcare eggs in that basket.

 

It’s time to finally solve the mystery of St. Croix!  I’ll let you know how it goes!

Have you been to or lived on St. Croix? Tell me all about it.

 

Until next time … 

 

Stay warm friends!

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