OK - it's been three months since we moved home to St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands (August 1) - and still there are boxes everywhere.
I could say it's because I'm too busy to unpack. As a real estate agent, I'm lead generating and showing properties all over the island. From the cool and wet Northside to the arid and sunny Frenchman's Bay or out to Nazareth - my car is moving from West to East and back again.
I could say it's because unpacking should be a family effort and most of the unpacking was left to me (whine audibly). I could say that as a family we're just not sure about where to store the boxes of winter clothes and blankets.
Truth is, the last six months or so have been a rapid-fire period of deciding, then planning and executing a move that involved three people and a dog. The boxes are evidence of the trial, the hard fought (expensive) accomplishment of shipping all of our earthly belongings across the ocean to an island - the island of St. Thomas that we call home.
What I can tell you is that for the most part it went very well. We shipped the contents of a three-story townhouse in Columbia, Md, minus the dining room table and chairs, for about $8,000 - not including the car. What you'll find is that marine transportation is a whole 'nother animal. No North American Van Lines truckers involved. Shipping to an island requires an understanding of cubic feet, pricing container loads and adhering to shipping schedules. I found myself weeding out furnishings that would either increase the weight or that I never really liked all that much anyway.
It was cathartic to begin emptying the contents of our three-year stay in a suburban cul-de-sac.
The car, a mid-sized SUV, was shipped from the port of Baltimore for (in round numbers) an additional $2,000. Baltimore, I found out, is not a main throughfare for the Caribbean. For the best car shipping prices on the east coast, you need to ship from New Jersey or Florida.
Transportation of the car was expertly handled by Direct Express Auto Transport, via flatbed to Port Everglades, Florida. Give or take 5 days and it was delivered to the sunshine state. Crowley placed my car in a container on Friday in Port Everglades, Fla and it miraculously arrived in St. Thomas on Sunday. I was on the road - registered and insured in Charlotte Amalie by Monday afternoon. God is good!
So, if you're thinking about making a move to America's Paradise, I can certainly give you some pointers on things you may want to consider. For example - don't pack a box of winter blankets. Just donate them to Goodwill or give them away to friends. That box is absolutely useless to us now.
Let me help you relocate to the U.S. Virgin Islands - whether St. Thomas, St. John or St. Croix. I've lived here for more than 15 years and can provide you with tips on how to live, love and lime like a local.