Welcome to British Expats Abroad
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    1. #1
      ironsmurf

      Scotsman relocating to Saint Petersburg looking for advice..

      hi all,

      rather than asking about visas etc id just like opinions on the area or other options. My girlfriend is a us citizen (a dancer at busch gardens) so we need to be near tampa..
      Im a personal trainer/soccer (fitbaw) coach. Is there much work going on that front. Im also an ironman triathlete.. can you cycle on the roads there.. ref swimming im absolutely cacking it., theres stuff in the sea that wants to eat you and im not happy bout it..
      anyway any views on st pete, life in florida for an ex pat etc would be greatly appreciated..
      oh and before anyone starts on about the weather being too muggy etc picture this.. outside right now in Livingston, not far from edinburgh its miserable.. its windy, raining and cold, we had no summer and this shocking weather will continue till march when the only difference will be it gets darker later..
      Ill deal with floridian heat..
      cheers.

      al.

    2. Moneycorp - Commercial foreign exchange since 1979
    3. #2
      Septicbrit
      Plenty of jobs in gyms. You'll be expected to hustle for clients, though. Best bet is a probably going self-employed with skills like these.

    4. #3
      Hope
      Hi Al,
      Not an ex-pat, but I've been to St Pete's a few times.. lovely place! Have you visited before? Cycling on the roads can be a bit dodgy as it's such a car culture there.. and of course, there aren't many Minis for you to avoid ;o) I've swam many times in the Gulf of Mexico ... just don't think too much about it! lol!
      When I was over just last month, it was totally roastin! (+100 degrees every day), but as you say, you'll cope with the heat!

      Wishing you the best of luck!

      ~ Hope

    5. #4
      purple
      Hi Al,

      As far as St Pete's goes, it's a decent place. As long as you stay out of the rough parts and druggy crime areas you'll be fine. It's touristy, but then you obviously know that already. It all depends on what you want in the place you live I guess.
      There's a decent night life scene there if you're into that and of course the Tampa Rays are close if you're into baseball.
      No MLS in the Tampa area though, so if you're into "soccer" and following the SPL or whatever, you're going to miss the football talk with your mates during the season.
      Life here isn't the same as the UK. That I can tell you. Is it better? No, not in my opinion.

      Cycling on the roads? I never ride on the main roads, basically I enjoy living and I don't want to die or injured by the moron drivers out there.
      I mostly ride on the trails or back roads around where I live. Just so as you're aware, Florida has one of the highest fatality rate for cyclists in the whole of the US. So is it "bike friendly"? Definately not. It's not designed for much but cars around Tampa. It's also mostly flat terrain pretty well everywhere down in the Tampa area. (not much change anywhere else in the state either except towards the Georgia border).

      I guess if you particularly want to live near near Tampa and near the sea and in the city as well, then St Pete is probably as good a place as anywhere else around the Tampa Bay area. The commute from St Pete to Busch gardens isn't be my idea of fun - especially if 275 is backed up. I know what you're going to say, she doesn't start til 10 am or something, right?

      Are you buying a place, or renting? Whatever, just look into the cost of home insurance.

      BTW The winter darkness here is less noticeable, in fact very little changes seasonally. It's either "winter" for a couple of months when it seems to average 20C most days, and then is summer again, when it's whatever it feels like being. This week it's supposed to be around 28-30C, so a vast difference from Livingston.

      Official figures showed that more people moved out of Florida in 2007-2008 than moved into it, that has to tell you something. I'm hoping to move out of it in the not too distant future too.
      I've said it before, yes it's got it's good points but Florida is definately not paradise on earth, no matter what everyone in the UK seems to think.
      Last edited by purple; 27-10-2009 at 04:17 PM.

    6. #5
      ironsmurf

      hmmmm.

      Thanks for all the replies.. really helpful..
      Purple, its great to look at both sides of the coin but you seem really hacked off with the states.. where are you from originally?
      you mentioned the bike thing yet there are several road cycling clubs in st pete n tamp who bike and race almost every night.. also st pete is home to mad dogs tri club.. with over 3000 members that would suggest to me there is tons of scope for biking.. Im more concerned with being munched on in the sea!!;o)
      I totally hear you on the area thing and respect your opinion on florida v uk.. how long is it since you lived here? Do you think you'd want to stay if you came back..
      I bring in around 30k a year.. thats around $50k for any american peeps reading this.. I have NO standard of life on that and my overheads are nowt compared to most.. mortgage on my tiny property plus council tax, insurance, bills etc mean my overheads are around 1500 each month.. add food, travel etc its an absolute nightmare.. my wage was great 5 years ago but now? I don't expect st pete do be paradise, tho even natives of the area describe it that way, I just want a better standard of life. don't you think ill get that?
      All I know is im not happy here.. if you are a heavy drinker and are happy to spend all winter indoors thats fine but its not a life..
      me n my partner will give st pete a go n see how it is.. if its pants we'll go somewhere else.. but still in the states.. she's travelled a heck of a lot in america and st pete is her fave so it better be good..
      thanks again to everyone and keep opinions coming good and bad..

      cheers.

    7. #6
      purple
      Hi Al,

      No, I'm not generally hacked off with the US at all, and I didn't mean to sound that way. I was just pointing out the things that people won't know unless they've actually lived in the area, because I thought that's what you wanted?
      It's fine for people to paint a rosy picture of a place based on a couple of weeks vacation time there once or twice a year, but it's not realistic and it's not really helping you in the questions you asked. If you only want to hear the good things about the area and not reality, then you better go ask someone else to tell the story. :)

      Yes, there sure are cycling clubs around the St Pete and Tampa area, it's a decent place to do it because of the climate but you seemed to ask about cycling on the roads in general, and I was telling you how it is for biking on the main roads. Personally I don't do it because I prefer trail riding.

      Different things and places, suit different people. That's the way it is, you won't know until you've tried.

      Re the overheads: You want to buy a place in St Pete's? Cool, remember to be prepared to pay a higher cost on your home insurance in Florida, and especially out in there Pinellas county where it's costal.
      You need medical care of any kind for any illness or injury? That's not free here, there's no NHS, so expect to pay $200 a month or more for your health insurance (unless you get a job with an employer that will give it to you as a benefit) If you don't have insurance you'll pay for anything and everything, and it's scary what it mounts up to, just look at the statistics of people that have gone bankrupt because of medical bills, with or without insurance in this link
      Daily Dose - New Study: Bankruptcy Tied To Medical Bills.
      Electricity bill? That is always a big damper on me each month. AC isn't cheap to run.

      You're scared of swimming in the sea? Don't be. It's not a big deal, the shark attacks aren't that common and considering the hundreds of thousands of people that swim in the sea each month and the number that actually get bitten here (very few), I wouldn't worry about it too much. Have to say that a jellyfish sting isn't fun (it's kind of like having a massive burning electric shock and is pretty horrible experience that leaves a burnlike scar, I don't recommend that at all).
      I've seen a "fin" swimming around just offshore, only to realise as I was swimming like hell to get back to the shore ((along with everyone else in the water because there had been a shark attack not far away the week before) that it was just a dolphin. In fact there were 2 and they stayed around out there for a while.
      I've had young manatees swim right by me in the sea, and mature ones nearby (very cool), and a couple of my friends have been stung by sting rays (not so cool). Basically it's not any worse than swimming in the sea in the UK, except its warmer.
      Other swiming advice? Don't try swimming in inland waterways or lakes unless you like a real life challenge... because the aligators don't take prisoners (there's one in every decent sized lake in FL). The water snakes are agressive and venemous if you get too near them, which is easy because you don't see them.
      If I was you I'd probably be more concerned about being killed or injured on the road (driving isn't as bad there or around Tampa as in some cities) or being shot or murdered, than being eaten by anything in the sea though.
      St. Petersburg Crime Statistics (FL) - CityRating.com
      and
      In St. Petersburg, street feud's sad toll is an 8-year-old girl - St. Petersburg Times

      Some food for thought. Enjoy.