In this world of first name usage life can get complicated. For a significant number of my house-sits the first time I discovered the family name and sometimes the address (!) where I was staying was when the first piece of mail arrives for the household. As home-owners and sitters we inhabit a world of extraordinary trust which is very life-affirming. Many of the home-owners never know my family name, not because I’m trying to hide it but they just never ask. In many instances the home-owner will meet me at an airport or station and drive me back to their home and after a short introduction to their home will depart. Busy chatting during the drive it’s hard to also watch where you’re going. If I haven’t remembered to ask for it, I have no idea what the actual address is. Which is fine, until you leave home one day without your phone and can’t remember the directions you took when you left home. Without a family name, or address life suddenly becomes a bit scary. It’s only happened to me once but it was a very stressful few minutes while I drove aimlessly around hoping to see somewhere that looked familiar. I have to add my four-legged companion in the car wasn’t much help. A lesson once learned never forgotten.
Hi Wendy, this all rings so true. We never know our hosts surnames until they get mail and like you have often noticed absolutely nothing about the journey. They also never know our surname either. We’ve had a couple of situations where a police officer has called in, for neighbourly issues, and we’ve struggled to explain the whole ‘trusted housesitter’ thing. Always interesting.
How strange @Wendy @Jon-JWalking you don’t ask the owners’names!
When i pet sit alone, my husband wants to know where i go, asks the house téléphone (i loose often my mobile…)
I always tell my insurance company where precisely i’ll stay like that If i break sometking belonging to the owners, it will be paid to them
Once i did not have the adress of the owners with me, i went shopping and could not find the house on my way back. Fortunately i had taken a photo of the crossroad near by on my téléphone and neighbours helped me when i gave the name of the owners. You can sometimes find their adress in the directory, before meeting them, If they have still a land phone.
Which is useful to look on Google earth the surroundings
That’s such a relief to hear that I’m not the only one. Would be a bit of a challenge to explain the house-sitting concept where I am now with my limited Spanish. Although, at least I do have the language basics. In some countries I’ve been I’ve had none of the local language at all. Then it’s always interesting in the supermarkets trying to work out which cleaning products are for which house-work challenge and reading cooking instructions on food packs - especially when we don’t share the same alphabet. The challenges just help to keep the grey matter fit and exercised.
Good idea your husband insists on your contact details. I now let my sister know where I am after she set the police on me in the UK one year when I hadn’t noticed my mobile phone had run out of battery and she couldn’t contact me. She knew which town I was in but had no idea of the address and was certain that something terrible had happened to me. I figure the police have something better to do with their time than look for an absent-minded house-sitter.
That would be too much for me, I’m too much anxious, traveling so far with not enough information, not the name and the adress of the owners, who would not ask for my name ? I couldn’t. You’re amazing !!
I don’t know if it is the same for british people, canadian or anglo saxons, but I, being french, I need to fill up a few pages file in order to be accepted by the customs once in USA , and on that paper I’m obliged to give the adress where I go, i must give also the name of americans who welcome me.
How do you do that if you don’t know names and adresses of owners ???
I guess it’s the same in all countries who ask info to deliver a visa…
Being a dual UK/Australian citizen I don’t have any problem in any EU or Schengen countries - entry is seamless and I’m not required to provide any information. In the US, I have a 12 month visa which lets me enter the country for 3 months on each visit without providing this information. These days with the new passports and rapid entry systems most of those old requirements of form filling no longer apply. Even during lockdown in Europe I didn’t have any issues flying or taking the train between countries although on entering Spain this time, for the first time, I was asked for an address and knew this would happen so was well prepared.
@Wendy, i was asked last august entering England where I would stay (the pet owner’s adress in kent)
And even If i have a biometric passport, even if i have gone to usa several times, i still need to fill up that spécial file if i want to get the permission.
otherwise the airline company might not let me on board…
I must admit I don’t usually ask for their surname but once confirmed as a sitter ask for their full address, so I can then google what’s in the area such as places for dog walking, supermarkets, cinemas etc. The first thing I’d do if sitting for a dog, if possible, is go with the owner on one of the regular dog walks. If no dog, I just go out for a walk to orientate myself.
Yes we always try and go for a walk with the owner if possible as it helps us get orientated and gives the dog confidence that we’re’ok’.
Usually dogs have their favorite regular walks and are happy to lead the way and can be useful for initial orientation. However, one very smart Jack Russell called Parker took me for a walk I won’t forget. Arriving in an unfamiliar suburb of my own home town I decided to take young Parker for a short walk as he’d been on his own for several hours after his owners had left. Parker set off with great enthusiasm for what I thought would be his regular walk. At each corner or intersection there was no hesitation and all was going well until we’d been walking for well over 45 minutes. At which point Parker sat down at an intersection and just looked at me with a hopeful expression as if asking ‘now which way’. I had no idea and obviously neither did he. Our short walk turned into a 90 minute hike around the suburb until we eventually found our way home with the help of some friendly passers by. I’ve cared for Parker on several occasions now and absolutely adore him but that’s the first and last time I ever let him choose our walks.
Maybe it’s the ease of having the two passports. I use my Australian passport when visiting the US, Canada and Mexico and my UK passport when heading to Europe.
Careful, rules will change for uk citizens with their decision to leave Europe. You’ll queue again…
I know and it’s very depressing.
It would be easy for the Home Owner to include full name & address in the welcome guide.
It is what, as owners, we are supposed to write on the very first page of our Welcome guide (which is visible for the sitter as soon as s/he has been selected).
I don’t understand why your HO have not filled it…
I thought it was but it is a few months since I have edited my Welcome Guide. Perhaps Sitters are not receiving the guide or not reading it!
You may check (i did it yesterday before writing my post)