Making the dramatic move between the U.S. mainland and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands is not for the faint of heart (or budget). I should know, having made that move three times in the last seven years. So why the big transitions to ultimately live here? It’s a question I’m often asked . . .
We initially moved to St. Croix in 2009 after having our destination wedding on-island. My husband and I thought we’d temporarily live our Caribbean dream floating on savings and waiting tables for a couple of years, then move back to the “real world.” Little did we know how much we would love St. Croix. Early in 2010, we bought our first house here and both landed career-centric jobs we never imagined finding on-island (he’s a computer engineer and I work in marketing).
We had our first child on St. Croix in 2013. As he grew and we soon found out we were pregnant with our second son, we felt an obligatory tug to live nearby family in the states. We felt we were doing our children and parents a disservice keeping them apart. A couple of temporary environmental factors on-island following the closure of the HESS oil refinery pushed the point. So we made a snap decision to make the move to Kansas City prior to the birth of our second child.
We dropped into Kansas City, Mo. in November 2015, just in time for the holidays. I consider myself a resilient person based on my life experience and thought I could be happy anywhere. I could not have been more wrong . . . I cried myself to sleep nearly every night during our 18 months in Kansas City. While mild post-partum depression may have played a part, we had a sombering realization … you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. St. Croix versus Kansas City, is like the difference between watching TV on a high-definition, flat screen versus black and white pictures on an analog box. The culture was depressing, rushed, anonymous and complacent. We knew a higher existence existed …
We were living almost exactly as we were raised, in Midwest suburbia in a cookie-cutter neighborhood. While we enjoyed some of the modern conveniences of the states, they didn’t begin to compare to the perks of island life. While our main reason for leaving St. Croix was to see family more often, we found for most people, we continued to see them only for major holidays / milestone occasions. Why were we here again?
April 7 earlier this year was my husband’s birthday and our turning point. The day he sent an e-mail to his former boss on St. Croix which he’d held in “drafts” since Christmas. As we sat at dinner together (in a depressing chain restaurant) in Kansas City, he asked one last time to ensure I was okay with him sending it, to while I replied without-a-doubt, yes. By the time our movie that followed was over, we had decided that St. Croix would be our home, for good.
We swallowed our pride and sold the home we’d bought in the states, just one year after buying it. Not to mention two cars and a houseful of furniture. My husband kept assuring me this amount of money would be negligible in the grand scheme of life. We booked our flights and moved home to St. Croix in May of this year.
We’ve settled back into the island home we still owned (and rented in our absence) and our old jobs quickly. With our older son who was born on-island, it was like re-introducing an elderly person to all their forgotten favorite places and old friends. Our youngest took to the water and island life quickly and hasn’t turned back. The island family we left welcomed us back with open arms.
We now look at St. Croix with a forever mindset. If we see a problem that bothers us, we actively look to fix it instead of just ignore it. We love this island and are so thankful to call it home.
Ready to call St. Croix your home? Contact Chris and Kerri Hanley, the experts on Virgin Islands real estate, to help find your ideal home or condo in the USVI. Start by downloading their free St. Croix Event Guide to find the perfect time for an extended visit: