When Mark and I decided to sell our boat and floating home Irie, we had no idea what we would do next. Nor did we want to jinx the prospect of selling her by making plans ahead of time. From experience, we knew this would only lead to disappointment. So, when people asked us what we were going to do after leaving French Polynesia, we just answered with our life’s mantra: “We’ll see what happens…” When we both left Irie permanently, a month before a prospective buyer was involved, the obvious solution was to move in with our parents for a little while. Last summer was divided between Belgium and Massachusetts, USA, until we came up with a plan…
The main reason for us to move back to a land-based life is to focus on our independent and unrelated careers, something that became increasingly difficult living in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. After many years of traveling and always being on the move, we also need a little break from that hectic and challenging lifestyle. We are fulfilled and exhausted at the same time, ready for a bit of comfort, familiarity and routine. The emphasis on “a bit of it”. Restless by nature and always excited to explore new areas and try new things, buying or renting a house and settling down for a few years is not high on our agenda. On top of that, we have no income to speak of, so we couldn’t even afford living in a western country if we wanted to. We also feel that it is time to have a pet in our lives. But, we do not want to commit to that responsibility (yet). What to do?
While Mark and I were staying in New Zealand for two months earlier this year, a friend recommended house sitting to us. This didn’t work out for our restricted time down under, but the idea stuck. When we decided to semi-settle in the US for the time being, I looked into the concept some more, signed up for a few house sitting sites, kept an eye on postings and applied to a few. The idea truly sounded exciting and adventurous enough for my liking. Soon, we were booked for a few sits and our new lifestyle was born.
House sitting is a mutually beneficial arrangement; a positive and interesting exchange for both parties involved. The house owners needing or wanting to leave their property for work or pleasure abroad enjoy the security and comfort of knowing someone is taking care of their place – keeping it occupied and clean, bringing the mail inside, watering the plants, maintaining the garden… If the owners have pets they cannot or will not take with them, the animals can stay in their familiar environment, lovingly and expertly taken care of. The house sitters on the other hand, have a nice and comfortable place to stay, free of charge. Everybody happy!
For us, this house and pet sitting lifestyle is ideal! We desire some comfort and first world living, with the amenities of a real home: running hot water, unlimited electricity, decent internet, and climate control… without having to rent or buy our own property. Or, spending money fixing it. We love to take care of animals, dogs in particular, without committing to having our own. And, we love to swap around our locales for a change of scenery and experiences. I am excited to share some of our house and pet sitting stories very soon!