Quite often we talk about house sitting as an excellent accommodation option while travelling, and every now and then, in our blog and on our Facebook Page we explain how to live as a house sitter, moving from one sit to the other, could provide anyone interested in getting into the community, a whole new lifestyle.
As it isn’t our intention to build this blog only about what we do and where we travel, we started thinking it would be interesting to bring you stories from other travelers – active people in the worldwide community of house sitters – to show how from different backgrounds, ages, profiles and social conditions it is always possible to take house sitting as a way of fulfilling your dreams.
To live as House Sitter: Interview with Nat’n Jodie, from House Sitting Academy
As a first example, we invited Nat and Jodie, from House Sitting Academy, for a chat, so that we could share their story of how, since the beginning of 2013, they are living as house sitters permanently, so it could work as more fuel in the tank of the ones considering driving the same road. They are currently one of the most relevant people in the worldwide community of house sitters and they saved some spare time to share their story with us all.
The House Sitting Academy is a website where they share a complete step-by-step online course allowing you to become an in-demand house sitter.
We had a Skype talk with Nat – at that day Jodie was not feeling well and could not join us – while they were in the last moments of their house sit in Colorado, USA (they have already moved to another one, in Yucatán, Mexico) and we transcript below the main content of this chat.
We know you are both Australians, but you were in Dubai when you started house sitting, isn’t it? So, how have you decided to become house sitters?
I have been offered a job, but probably a month into it I realized I didn’t really like working in an office anymore. So we started a company with another business partner, but we lost our business basically there and we had virtually no money at all left.
So it wasn’t really a decision to go house sitting to have this great lifestyle, we just started so we could save some money. We just couldn’t have enough money for rent at the time and we didn’t have enough money to go home.
From Dubai we went to London and started house sitting. We took two house sits there and then we had a big one in France, for four months. Probably it was in France, we started to recognize we were actually living a great life, because we always wanted to travel and haven’t realized we are actually living a dream lifestyle and we just had no idea. Initially what we thought we were going to Dubai, earn lots of money, power full our credit cards, save some money and then go travelling, which is what most people do, but that was not our story and we were pretty much the opposite.
Compared to your previous experiences overseas, how has house sitting changed the way you travel?
I don’t think either of us call ourselves travelers in the traditional sense, because travelers go to hotels or hostels or whatever, and we go to other people’s homes to live there for a while. So, it is a very different way of travel and a very slow way of experiencing the world. During a house sitting you become a local, you have neighbors, you really get to know people and the community really well.
And you’ve got pets to look after in most cases, you’re doing the gardening, looking after pools, whatever sort of thing is your responsibilities for that house. It is a very different travel experience but it is the one that we like a lot more.
House sitting is not for everybody, but if you like slow travelling and you like to really experience the culture of a place, it is a really great way of going.
Since you don’t get money to house sit, how do you make an income to support your travels?
As most people, we don’t get paid for house sitting, because we say it is a fair exchange going to a house and getting free accommodation in return of doing some chores around the house and looking after the pets.
We now earn our income online. We are “location independent” and we can be anywhere as long as we have got wifi, and that’s how a lot of house sitter are financing their travels.
In the first year we didn’t earned much, but just enough to get us around the world. We are still building a business and I think for a lot of people in that position of getting in the road for the first time, looking to be location independent, trying to build a business, house sitting is really a great option, because it does low your cost so much.
Do you think you’re ever going to give up house sitting and settle down somewhere?
No. Short answer.
It is interesting people ask when you’re gonna settle down because they think we’re always out of our comfort zone, but to us travel is our comfort zone.
We move countries every month or two and we just love it!
For me, or for both of us, really, and I’m speaking about Jodie as well, if we had to settle down somewhere back in Australia, we would find that very discomforting, we don’t want to do that.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering the idea of becoming a house sitter?
I think you have to ask yourself is house sitting for you. Don’t forget you’ll be living in somebody else’s house, and it may not be as comfortable as your home, but you can make it very homely for yourself as well. You won’t be able to travel from city to city to have a look around or to go out clubbing and partying because you have responsibilities, you have pets to look after.
You’re got to downsize too. It takes a lot of mental letting go of possessions in just having a certain number of clothes and a certain number of technology that you can carry. But I think as daunting or scary as that can be, it is also very freeing to just have that amount of stuff and not so much stuff around you all the time that you have to own and worry about.
So the main consideration you have to do is if this is really for you. But not a lot of people actually house sit full time like we do. There’s probably only a hand full of us that do it, but a lot of people will mix house sitting with other forms of travel so it is a nice way to break up holidays or longer trip.
Just go and do it.