“Seriously, don’t you get sick of living out of a suitcase?”,
That is probably the most asked question we get when people discover that we travel full-time housesitting.
Here’s how we do it:
- Good quality clothing
- Easy to wash and dry [we do use Kathmandu]
- Got used to wearing the same clothing over and over [cleaned of course]
- Learn how to pack a suitcase in a way that accessing clothing is done with ease
- Clothing that has multi-use, e.g. merino wool tops can be used in an English early summer as well as winter with more layers. Can not emphasise this enough!
- Be tidy and organised
- Have only one suitcase each and a carry-on [believe me you don’t want to be carrying more!] We have never exceeded 21kgs in the years we have been travelling
It’s hard to describe how free we feel not being tied down to a house and possessions, it’s just about us, meeting new people, looking after various pets and seeing new places.
The other is how do you survive 24hrs together?
Many men have looked at the squire in total disbelief and said, “I couldn’t do it, we would be divorced with a month!” And if he’s honest, he has his moments of frustration. As do I, though the squire is more patient than myself!
Let’s face it; we got used to each other’s company for long periods of togetherness when we sold our small orchard/farm and then purchased our motorhome which we lived in just 24sqm to travel around New Zealand [that’s another story]. During that time we met up with friends/family on a regular basis, so it didn’t feel like we were all on our own. Though what is different travelling full-time housesitting overseas is that going off to the usual club or visiting people isn’t as easy as doing it in your hometown. We naturally socialise while housesitting and travelling, it is just done as a couple more than individually. So, how do we survive?
Laugh and I mean the good old belly sort of laugh!
Laugh at all the annoying things that require more patience! During travelling, things do go wrong. Such as arriving at a train station, and that cold feeling creeps over you when you both realise that we have the incorrect station and the train is due to depart in 20 minutes. I am too polite to say what was muttered by the two of us. We both laughed our heads off, more in relief, when we were safely in the train carriage heading to Valencia, Spain! The good news is we arrived in Valencia none the worse from our experience. Just a little more experienced in dealing with travel arrangements!
We are a team – the awesome twosome
When you’re thousands of kilometres away from your home, family and friends, you have to be able to rely on each other for support. As mentioned before we knew it would not be a problem for us as we have had years living and travelling in a motorhome. For many, I would suggest a trial period before embarking on this lifestyle full time.
As we all know, nothing tests your relationship more than moments of stress. One example of that is when I needed medical assistance, for a tooth infection and not being fluent speakers of French, we very quickly realised that we had to remain calm and try to relay to the doctor what was wrong. Thankfully, the situation was sorted very smoothly, without having to pay a cent and her with the painful tooth lived to tell another story.
A sideline to this is to have comprehensive insurance; this is a MUST. We have not had to use it as yet, and it is still one thing we would always have on our travels.
You also quickly work out which situations to avoid putting yourselves in, as it does nothing for marital harmony. Like the co-driver saying go left and then changing her mind to the right, at the same time the driver is already turning left. The squire replaced the co-driver with a GPS for our return visit. (relationship savers those gadgets!)
Assign “jobs” / Share the workload
It quickly became apparent when we first started travelling that there are jobs each of us is good at and enjoy doing. If one of you particularly loves getting into writing and replying to hundreds of housesit positions, let them do it. Likewise, if one of you hates sorting out train or plane tickets, then let the other one do it. We also seemed to find a way of sharing the workload by accident. We hadn’t planned it that way, but rather we just seemed to fall into owning certain tasks as a matter of course. And not always as we might have expected.
Find some “me time.”
We both relish time on our own. It is important. We are very self-contained and are quite happy to spend time by ourselves nearly as much as being together as a couple or socialising with other people. Going away for an hour walking while the other is catching up on computer work, or reading is something we do on a regular basis. Housesitting is brilliant in that it gives us space as we can be in separate rooms doing our own thing when we need more ‘me time’.
Open that purse and splurge
Travelling on a budget does mean that we’ve learned to live fairly frugally. Of course, our budget is immensely helped with doing housesitting. We are exchanging caring for a home and animals for free accommodation.
Though, there’s nothing quite so cathartic as the occasional splurge on something that creates beautiful memories for the both of you.
For us, this is having time out from housesitting to explore areas we have not been too, last year we travelled to Portugal, Spain, Scotland, America [NYC] and Ireland. Portugal, America and Ireland [Dublin] are countries we had not previously visited. This year, 2017, we are adding a few more countries to our list of explored countries. The countries we have housesat in so far are New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, France, Germany and Switzerland. By the end of the year, two more different countries will be included.
Selfies for the over 50’s, capture that moment
A long time ago I realised selfies and the over 50’s are not a combination made in heaven, there is always an exception to every rule!. So many factors to take into consideration before the button is pressed, by the time all are in tune the squire has lost all incentive to do it. Though we occasionally do the odd selfie! There is always the unsuspecting person walking towards you that can press the button which eliminates the hassle and the awful looking selfies that are never usually published.
Just don’t hesitate to grab someone and ask them to take a photo or two for a more personal memory of how you felt about that moment of time in your travels.
Don’t underestimate the value of just ‘being.’
Travelling can be tiring. Both mentally and physically. Over the years we have travelled months at a time; this is why we have now chosen to do housesitting, it suits our desire to go slowly. We have been doing this since the beginning of 2016 and we have already obtained housesits for 2018. Doing housesits that are longer than a week, gives us that time just to do normal things, things that most of us take for granted and those things we do enjoy is just relaxing around the house and also exploring around the community where we are housesitting.
We have no hesitation in recommending housesitting, as a way to embrace travelling and to explore neighbourhoods, around the world in a slow and relaxing way.
To experience all this with our best friend at our side, we think makes us feel very blessed.