Not surprisingly, many visitors come to St. Croix and fall in love with our warm island culture, endless trade winds and average 80-degree temperature and decide that Island Living is for them! Island Life Real Estate helps many of them find their perfect Caribbean home and assists them in getting settled in to their new island digs. Some folks are bolder still and purchase a home here site unseen. Now that takes GUTS! Here’s a story of one such bold person. If she can do it, YOU can!
Name: Nancy Zimmerman
Relocated From: San Francisco, California
Occupation: Technology Management (soon to be Realtor!)
Official Move Date to St. Croix: January 2017
Island Life Real Estate: What made you decide to move to St. Croix?
Nancy: My love of the Virgin Islands began 25 years ago when I moved to St. Thomas and then St. John. I adored the water, the people, and the relaxed pace of living. I eventually returned to the states to continue a career in music, but I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d be back for good. I would still visit the islands throughout the Caribbean every chance I got and after working in technology in various cities across the country, I’d finally had enough – enough of the frenzied pace, long commutes, and well… PowerPoint. If I had to put together one more PowerPoint presentation, I was certain I would lose my mind! It was then I knew it was time to head back to the islands for good, but had no idea which island I would end up calling home. Deciding that was a minor detail that would eventually work itself out, I started preparing for my move. Fortunately for me, a chance meeting with a friend at a local art festival led me to purchasing one of her horseshoe creations. When I got home, I saw that the back of the horseshoe read “St. Croix Forge” and, whether divinely orchestrated or not, it did get me wondering why I’d never considered St. Croix. A few short weeks later, I was under contract to buy a house I’d never seen on an island I’d never visited. I know this may sound crazy to some, but it just felt right. Naturally, I came to St. Croix for a pre-move visit to seal the deal, but I couldn’t be any happier with the way it all unfolded!
Island Life: What do you do for work on island?
Nancy: I’ve been in technology for the last 25 years and there seems to be plenty of opportunity on St. Croix for folks with tech skills. While I had some job prospects in my field soon after arriving, I quickly realized that the changes in store for me were more than a simple relocation. My decision to break free from the status quo to pursue my dreams ended up serving as a catalyst for friends and colleagues who were also ready for change. Though I was simply following my own path, the fact that it inspired others to do the same was really rewarding. So much so, that I’m making a big career change. I’m in the process of getting my real estate license here in St. Croix so that I might assist others in finding their place in paradise and making the transition to island life.
Island Life: On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult was your move here from San Francisco?
Nancy: Some days I’d give it a 1 and others it was closer to an 11. There were a number of arrangements to be made, but honestly the most difficult part was dealing with my own resistance. In taking the leap, I had to let go of so many things that provided a sense of security – my house in SF that I had worked so hard to fix up; my skillfully curated collection of “stuff” gathered over the years; my position at work that I’d spent so much time and effort working towards; etc. Thankfully, the letting go came in waves, making it more of a process than an event. Occasionally, the fear would creep up and I’d think, “What am I doing? I have a great job, a great house, great friends. I must be crazy!” Then the fear would pass and I’d feel more certain than ever that I was making the right move. My goal was to radically change my life and that’s exactly what I got.
Island Life: What was your biggest challenge with your move? Did anything about it sway you or made you think, “maybe this wasn’t a good idea?”
Nancy: By far, the biggest challenge was getting my cats here. I have 4 wonderful kitties and I couldn’t figure out how to get them from San Francisco to St. Croix. I just couldn’t bring myself to put them under the plane, so after wrestling with the logistics ad nauseam I ended up enlisting the services of some really good friends where we all traveled together, each with a kitty in tow. It wasn’t cheap and it was nerve wracking because the airlines have vague rules that make it difficult to navigate, but we pulled it off without a hitch and had a great time in the process! Well, there was one minor hitch if you would call it that. I had planned to bring litter and a collapsible cardboard box with me. This way, the kitties could relieve themselves during our layover in Miami, but I forgot it. I asked two friends who were joining the Miami to St. Croix leg of the trip to bring the litter and box. Boy, did they have a hard time getting through airport security! They explained why they were bringing the litter, but I’m not sure TSA truly bought it. In the end, it all worked out and we got an amusing story to share out of it.
Island Life: What’s your biggest concern about living on St. Croix? What do you love the most and the least about island life?
Nancy: My biggest concern? Well, it keeps changing! It’s really just fear of the unknown. Before I got here it was about getting medical insurance and finding quality healthcare for me and the kitties. After navigating that, it was centipedes. Now I’d say that now my biggest concern is finding asparagus to cook for Easter dinner! But that will pass too, so I’m just rolling with things as they come. What do I love the most? Gadzooks! There are so many things to love about island life, but if I had to pick just one I’d say it’s the people – hands down. A small, but sweet example – car horns are used to say hi or thank you here instead of in anger or frustration as is typically the case stateside. The people here really make all the difference! The biggest drawback for me is the lack of recycling. After 12 years in San Francisco where practically everything is reused or recycled, I’m finding it hard to accept that there is little in the way of recycling here. Perhaps someday soon that will change? In the meantime, it’s a good exercise in being mindful of what I’m consuming.
Island Life: Any advice for someone on the fence about moving to St. Croix?
Nancy: I would say to be sure and talk with those who have made the move before. Talk to those who love it as well as the folks who decided it wasn’t for them. Visit the island and get to know the people who are living here. If you are fortunate enough to take a leave from work and stay a month or longer, that’s even better! Having friends here before you make the move works wonders and made all the difference for me. When you decide to make the move, seek advice on logistics through different sources online like the VI Moving Center; talk with friends; etc. Benefit from their success and learn from others’ mistakes. And of course remember that in the end it’s not the things that we do that we regret as much as those we didn’t do. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you!