The View is Overrated

By Friday, August 14, 2015 6 No tags Permalink 0

Have you ever lived in a tiny place with a million-dollar view? Were you sacrificing common, everyday amenities that weren’t even luxuries because you wanted that view? Well after 10 months of living in a tiny, hot, shoebox-like house with stunning sunset views from the front deck, I am here to tell you that the view is overrated.

St. John sunset

I had grown to accept that everyday island life included trips to the laundromat, mosquitoes constantly biting me while inside my house, a landlord that was slowly driving me insane, and a living area with no seating. It was my reality now that my family had uprooted our life in Charlotte and moved to St John. And for a while, that surreal sunset view almost tricked me into believing I was OK with it all.

the view is overrated

Late July 2015: I just sold the hammock and am in the process of making sure I have a buyer for all of the patio furniture that we just purchased earlier this year. I’ve packed up most of my clothes and am starting to bubble wrap the dishes.

“Are you leaving island?” people ask. “Why are you moving? Where are you moving?”

It actually does seem like just yesterday we arrived on St. John to begin our lives as residents of the Virgin Islands. October 11 will be a day we forever remember, the day we had the courage to step outside the box and take a big risk.

St. Thomas airport dogs in St. John

Nearly 10 months later, we are so happy that we made the decision to give island living a try. We have tested our marriage (and our patience) in ways we never had. We’ve learned to drive left and drink right. We have new friends and new experiences that we’ll have for life. All such amazing blessings.

friends on St. John friends on St. John USVI

But something was missing during our first ten months on island. And now that we have moved into our new apartment I know exactly what it was.

5 things that have made me realize that the view is overrated:

1) A washer and dryer INSIDE my home. I’ve written several times about my trips to the laundromat. At first I enjoyed them; then I realized I was an ill and sweaty mess when I left. I don’t miss it. At all. laundromat on St. John 2) A couch and a love seat. I am married. I am married to another full sized adult. Both of us like to stretch out. We had a couch and a love seat stateside, and now we know we need them wherever life’s journeys take us.

home on St. John

3) Friends nearby. My current living situation is a bit like Melrose Place and you won’t hear me complaining about it. I love apartment living and I love easy access to friends. Hello, Friday night cookouts and spontaneous game nights.

4) Television. Scandal, Orange is the New Black. Not to mention new fall episodes starting in September. I know now that distractions from everyday life are important to me.

5) Privacy. I don’t always like to be fully clothed anticipating a surprise visit from my landlord next door. I sometimes just want to relax and be alone. That can happen here. Enough said.

These five items, while certainly not things I considered luxuries in the past, now top my list of what I love most about my current living situation. What I realize though, is that they are all things I would most certainly be taking for granted right now.

scottie on St. John

Everything is relative, and I am relatively thrilled to be writing this while sitting on my couch, not swatting at mosquitoes, while my dryer quietly does its job.

image Ashley Cates, St. John USVI Blogger

6 Comments
  • Stephanie @cookinfanatic
    September 13, 2015

    Really enjoying perusing your blog posts. I have to ask you, what is the job market like in St. Thomas/St. John? Was it easy for you guys to find work? I’m currently a CPA and my boyfriend runs an outdoors retail store in the area that specializes in hunting and fishing. I’m just curious if modifying your careers has been tough or if you are finding that you’ve really enjoyed the decision to make the change? Or if you tried carrying over your previous jobs and found that changing was easier? Any insight would be awesome – thanks!!

  • Bianca
    August 22, 2015

    I am loving your blog! I recently got back from St. John (on the 16th) so I was there when you wrote this post actually.

    I’ve been seriously considering moving to St. John and I like how inspiring your blog is compared to the VI Moving Guide Forum.

    That being said, last Saturday we picked up a hitvhhiker on her way to work at Caneel (see, we were already acting “local”). She told us her story and mentioned her landlord was drama crazy. I figured she was exaggerating. Your story seems to suggest you have/had a crazy landlord too. Are the landlords just operating from a different perspective than those of us who come from the states, or can I expect this as a common occurance on St. John?

    Also, have you moved from St. John or just to a different place on the island? This post didn’t specify and I just hope that if you help inspire me to live my dream that you are still there after 10 months, not moving back to the states?

    I love your suggestion of being task oriented too to complete your move and stay sane. Great advice.

    Thank you again,
    Bianca

  • Ruthanna Hart
    August 19, 2015

    Your place looks nice, hoping we find something similar. Moving on the 25th! See you around!

  • Ashley
    August 15, 2015

    Thanks Angie! You’re exactly right! A hike to Peace Hill, a sunset sail, a happy hour in town…. Plenty of places to catch a fabulous view. And then it’s so nice to love coming home! Hope all is well in NC!

  • Lindsay Pennington
    August 15, 2015

    How much do apartments go for on the island? Love your blog and love that you & your Husband had the courage to make the leap. Hopefully, one day MY Husband gets the courage! Lol

    • Ashley
      August 15, 2015

      Thanks Lindsay! There is such a wide range depending on location, number of bedrooms, whether utilizes are included, etc. A fairly nice one bedroom on STJ is typically around $1100-1600/ month. Good luck convincing your husband, haha!

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