Mark and I had been living in the “foothills of the Berkshires” for almost two months, barely noticing those geography defining Berkshire Mountains. Sure, each time we drive from our house sit to the town of Kent to run errands, our ears pop and we don’t need any fuel to reach the bottom of the road, but the cold weather, sometimes gray, sometimes snowy had not allowed us to walk up to any viewpoints during our weekend outings with the dogs. When the sun set, I could often spot what I thought to be a purple hued hill top in the distance, through the barren trees around the house. I wanted to stand on top of one of those hills… Continue reading
I have been known to write long blog posts. The Six Word Saturday initiative conflicts that habit: in six words, you describe your life. The perfect posts for blog visitors who don’t like long stories, but do appreciate a quick update. This is my first try – hence the quick explanation – and I might make it a habit, if readers like it. As a bonus, I’ll throw in a few photos to brighten the words up a bit! 🙂
I am lying in bed with the curtains open. In the seven weeks that we have been here, house and pet sitting in Kent, CT, we have never closed them. We like to wake up with the sun and see the moon and stars on a clear night. A habit from when we lived on our boat Iriefor eight years. It is pitch black in the woods. The trees are creaking ever louder, while the wind is increasing. I hear rumble in the distance. Soon, it becomes full on thunder. I am glad the dogs are sleeping deeply. Mark seems to be in dreamland as well. The wind whistles through the barren branches. The wind chimes on the porch sound like church bells. The sky lightens up. It happens in a split second. Then, it is dark again. Why do storms always approach at night? Continue reading
Now that I have made it official that I am writing a book, I am encouraged to keep working on it. Yes, I have even made it a priority in my life at the moment. Once in a while, a friend asks “How is your book coming along?” They know this process will take a while, but they are curious about my progress and encourage me to keep going. All I can answer, however, is “Slow! And I have no idea what I am doing…”
Maybe it is because of my naïve or wishful thinking attitude, but I always expect things to happen quickly, as in … immediately, and smoothly, as in … naturally. Writing a book takes time. A lot of time. And effort. A lot of effort. Nobody says it is an easy task. But just how difficult does this have to be? I somehow thought the words would flow smoothly, an attractive frame would present itself, a book proposal would be drafted in a matter of weeks and the whole book would be done in six months or so, ideally commissioned. Obviously, I have not thought this through. Mark would call this “being in Liesbet’s world…” In Liesbet’s world, nothing is ever a big deal! Continue reading
Over the last couple of months, Mark and I have seen some attractive house sits in the south and the west of the United States, but also in Mexico. We were personally contacted and invited to house and pet sit in Belize and in Nevada. The offers sounded very attractive, but Mark and I decided that we would spend another summer in New England. The advantages? Continue reading
Mark and I have lived frugally since we met, the reason being that we barely make any money and that we are not keen on materialistic goods and gathering possessions. We like to travel and we like to have a low impact on Mother Nature. While I only used to spend around $350 a month while backpacking by myself in my twenties, and around the same amount while camping, staying with friends and family or exploring North and Central America by camper in my early thirties, this amount went up when we both lived on Irie for eight years. Our annual expenses were then around $20,000 for two people, most of that money being put into the boat. It took a chunk out of our savings.
This year, being semi-settled on land, we will try to be even more careful with our dollars. We bought a second-hand car last year and have come accustomed to house and pet sitting, which is pretty much free. So, in regards to transportation and accommodation, we are mostly set. Still, costs add up, of course. To give you an idea of what we spend each month, I am starting a monthly expense report. Continue reading
It is Sunday, February 14th, 2016. Mark usually gets up earlier than me and therefore takes the dogs out. Today, I jump out of bed as well, to join him. Not because it is Valentine’s Day, we don’t really care about commercialized holidays, but because I am curious about something I have never experienced before. The media have been hyping it up and we have been keeping an eye on it as well: today is by far the coldest day in decades, and certainly in my whole life… The lowest temperature was scheduled at 6am. Mark and I joked about it last night, but refused to leave our warm bed this early for the sake of possibly freezing. It is 8am now and, based on our weather information, it is still pretty darn cold outside: -12°F with a wind chill of -34°F (-24°C with a wind chill of -37°C)!!!
Today’s temperature in Fahrenheit
Today’s temperature in Celsius
“Are you ready?” Mark asks, while the dogs are wagging their tales and I finish putting my winter coat, wool hat and walking shoes on. Mark wears our one set of winter gloves. My warm pockets do the trick of protecting my hands.
“Sure,” I say. I’m always ready for a new and exciting experience. Continue reading
It started snowing about a week ago. The forecast predicted about an inch in Kent, CT, but when we woke up on Friday, everything was covered in a thick layer of snow, about five inches of it. Our fridge was empty and we had planned to go grocery shopping for the weekend, since we expected visitors on Saturday. Our low-to-the-ground Prius, however, was comfortably parked in the garage and not up to the task of driving over a relatively steep, long and submerged driveway. Luckily, the snow plow arrived early afternoon, so we could still set out to the stores of New Milford, about a half hour away. By the evening our fridge was sufficiently stocked again. We are a little more vigilant now, when snowfall is predicted.
Ice fishing in South Kent
Surrounded by snow
The snow plow came, then it snowed a bit more overnight. Mark loves the shoveling exercise and wants to make sure we can leave any time.
Looks like perfect icing on a cake!
We keep the footpath to the front door shoveled. It is a very easy chore.
When Mark and I talk about our current lifestyle of house and pet sitting, people always ask how we find all these places. Unbeknownst to many, there is a whole community out there of people who house sit, are looking for house sitters or make money with the house and pet sitting concept. There are Facebook pages, forums and blogs about house sitting and the model has been introduced all over the world. Continue reading
Is about an alternative lifestyle - stories, photos, thoughts and insights about travel, writing, house and pet sitting, living frugally, hiking, nature... - to inspire a life less ordinary.
Be free and create life on your own terms. Follow your dreams, expand your horizons and live the life you desire, without breaking the bank! It's all about choices and it is easier than you think. Take it from a frugal couple that has been on "the road" for over a decade: "Don't just dream, do!" :-)