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I have spoken to dozens of people who say that they dream of spending time traveling and exploring more of the world and other cultures. But they have a job to go to, kids to raise, bills to pay, and chores to do. They can’t seem to find the time or the money to experience exotic places. My wife Laurie and I were in that boat.
Travel was always high on our list of how we wanted to spend our time and our money, but it seemed very difficult to find the resources to actually go somewhere. So, when our boys had grown up and were beginning to live their own lives, Laurie and I thought again of “getting away from it all.” Then circumstances conspired to move us in that direction.
As you can read on the About Us page of this blog, our large home on seven-eighths of an acre in Santa Rosa vastly declined in value at about the same time that our income dropped. Our attempt at a loan modification was unsuccessful and we decided to “walk-away” and let the mortgage company have the house.
At first, we talked about being renters, like the majority of our friends. But we knew that our current income could not provide us with the lifestyle that we wanted and began the search for an alternative way of living with reduced means. There are many places in the world where one can live quite comfortably on much less income and we began to explore them. Learning about house sitting quickly shifted our attention and reignited our dream of worldwide travel.
House sitting is simply the process of living in, and taking care of someone else’s house while they are away. Each house sitting opportunity is as different as are the folks that need that service. House sitters are responsible for acting in lieu of the homeowner in caring for the home and property, and often, their pets, their plants and gardens.
One of the huge advantages of house sitting compared to staying in motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, even hostels, is that it is essentially free. You are trading the time and effort it takes to maintain the home for staying there at no cost. You get to live in a fully furnished house or apartment with all the necessary household appliances and you usually don’t have to pay a dime.
When you are searching for house sitting opportunities, you can find one that meets your particular needs and desires in a location that you are interested in exploring. Most folks who are in a situation to go away for an extended time, are fairly well off. They usually have nice homes; sometimes spectacular ones. And there are opportunities in practically every country.
You can find these house sitting opportunities online at many web sites that link homeowners with house sitters. You fill out a profile, upload some photos and then begin contacting homeowners who need someone to look after their homes while they travel for business, go on holiday, stay in their second home, and so forth. You will be amazed at how many homes need looking after!
As Laurie and I began our search for where we would live next, we were excited by all the possibilities. Should we spend a few months in Mexico, in a house practically on the ocean with a built-in swimming pool? How about staying in a French resort in exchange for some cleaning and cooking? Or, on the coast of Scotland taking care of some cottages?
Eventually we decided to narrow our search and to start our adventure somewhere where English is spoken and where it wouldn’t be too hot in the early months of summer. We were soon attracted to the many opportunities in Canada, eventually securing a position in a fabulous home in Port Credit Ontario from the middle of May through the middle of July.
For someone who dreams of traveling, looking through the opportunities on the house sitting sites is exhilarating. You will soon picture yourself in exotic locales, living in beautifully appointed homes. House sitting provides a way to live in these places at a very low cost. And since you will usually be staying for a while, you can really get to know the place the way the locals do.
While you are house sitting in one place, you will begin your search for your next opportunity. Laurie and I have begun to think of ourselves as international nomads. So much of the world is open to us. We have already booked our next situation- six months living in a small town in Western Australia. After that, who knows? But I know it will be interesting!