Most people have been extremely positive about our lifestyle choice, at worst folks think we’re a bit mental, maybe we are. House-sitting has already become more popular if not as a way of life then at least as a form of travel even since we’ve been doing it. Thinking about joining in? These posts will tell you a bit of what you need to know.
If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll know that house-sitting isn’t all about exciting destinations and relaxing in the sun. It can be hard work at times, but also extremely rewarding, varied and fun. We’ve had our fair share of sick animals, broken boilers and inadequate internet, but overall I’d recommend it to anyone.
Ask yourself this question: What’s my motivation for wanting to house-sit? If it’s cheap hassle free travel you’re after, it probably isn’t for you. If it’s the chance to really get to know a place that you’ve probably never heard of let alone wanted to visit before then go for it. You need patience and versatility though as it can take a while to get accepted for a “sit”.
Looking after somebody’s house and pets is a big commitment and a massive responsibility. One of our first purchases was a set of coasters, anybody who knows me will be rolling about laughing right now, but my fear of leaving rings on other people’s furniture is all too real. We also carry around our own set of herbs and spices, we were lucky enough to get a travel set for Christmas, but a vitamin caddy or even tic tac boxes will do the trick. Not everybody likes to cook with the same ingredients and it’s really not worth buying a whole jar for one recipe unless you can help it. Other than that we have about a week’s worth of clothes, one “going out” outfit and the usual assortment of chargers, toiletries and other essential items.
To sum up there are many pros and cons, being in a home with animals to love is my biggest plus, but leaving them can be terribly upsetting. It is cheaper than conventional travel, but there are always hidden costs. It turns out that we use a lot more than 10gb of internet a month, unfortunately we didn’t find this out until we were €170 down. Animals you’re not used to can be challenging. We have goats at the moment and the male, Billy, has taken to butting at my shins whenever I get into range of his horns. In my efforts to escape him yesterday I ended up on my back. Luckily it’s mainly my pride that is hurt.
While it is clearly much better for the animals to remain in their own home rather than kennels they do still sometimes struggle to adjust. This often simply manifests in the odd poo on the floor, but if you don’t like animals don’t become a house-sitter. They can stretch you as children do and you have to be patient with them, it is their house after all.
I’ll leave the logistics to Nick in part 2. I hope that you are still interested enough to give it a try. I think it’s the best decision we ever made and even when we do eventually settle down we plan to carry on part-time. Maybe we could one day “do a swap”.