Hi, I’m curious as to how many of you are full-time, or nearly full-time house-sitters.
We are Scottish & English but lived in Australia for 30 years. On retiring in 2019 we sold our house and set off to travel the world, starting with 3 months in Africa. I had assumed we’d eat into our savings rapidly for a year or two then buy somewhere (such as France). But on coming to the UK we discovered house-sitting and can travel on our pensions pretty much indefinitely. We managed one sit in Costa Rica early last year then the pandemic hit. It’s not been easy being homeless during lock-downs but we managed pretty well. We’ve had a great time discovering parts of rural England.
We’ve no idea where we want to live and hope to be living this life-style for at least the next few years. All our belongings are in a smallish car and we’ve changed our consuming habits to suit. I like the fact that our ecological footprint is a lot smaller than most Westerners (at least while it’s not safe to fly).
I love our life-style generally and the few disadvantages are lack of a regular social group (but we didn’t have much of one in Australia), not being able to do classes (my wife did dance classes) and for me, not being able to go to a gym regularly.
How long have people managed to live the house-sit life-style? Do you have a home base? What are the issues for you?
Have those who have experience of sits in North America, Europe, UK and elsewhere able to see differences in different regions?
Hi, I’m curious as to how many of you are full-time, or nearly full-time house-sitters.
Hi @EdGallagher. I was sitting almost full time between 2017 and early 2020, but have not done any sits for a year now.
I chose SE Asia to sit, I have a few friends and contacts there, and also there is less competition for sits, although also a lot fewer sits.
I have done over 40, about 35 in SE Asia, and 5 when I have come back to Scotland each year. I still have a property in Scotland, so somewhere to return to.
I am not retired age yet, but I was made redundant, and with an inheritance, I decided I could travel if I was very careful with my budget so house and pet sitting have been perfect.
In the longer term, I am looking at a possible retirement visa in SE Asia - possibly Bali or Thailand, but the pandemic has put all that on the back burner for now. So just waiting until the world opens up again so I can start travelling.
There are actually quite a few sits in Scotland at the moment, so I could continue house sitting “locally”, but I started to look after a wee dog, doggy daycare, back in December last year, initially for a couple of weeks, but 8 months later she keeps coming back! Tops up my budget a wee bit.
Hi @EdGallagher! There are many full time sitters on the forum, some who have been doing it for many years.
We have been house sitting and fully nomadic for just shy of 5 years. We both work remotely, have done over 70 house sits, traveled 26 countries and about 100 cities. We’ve been fortunate to continue house sitting full time during Covid.
We travel with a 36L backpack each (aka ‘onebag’), have kept our all-inclusive for two budget to under $16k USD, but have been at $7k the last 2 years. This is largely do-able and not a sacrifice because of house sitting, travel hacking, and our minimalist footprint. While most people pursue FI/RE (financial independence, retire early) while living a standard western lifestyle, we decided to take a different approach and travel full time while pursuing it.
One challenge (albeit not too much) is finding internet service when we travel. We both rely on it for our livelihood and what is ‘highspeed’ is somewhat subjective. So we usually ask homeowners to run a speed test for us, just to confirm.
And, as you might imagine, between an IT consultant and a program manager, we are very much planners. We started our adventure 5 years ago knowing very well that we’d have many moments of being uncomfortable and not knowing what would come next. We typically have 2-3 months planned, however we’ve had times where we didn’t know where we’d be staying 36 hours out. What’s amazing though, is that we’ve never been stranded. The kindness of people, even strangers, is one of the most wonderful things while traveling.
For your last question, there is 100% differences in culture. From slight differences between the US and UK or Mexico, to moderate ones between the UK and Italy, to very different shifts in culture in Eastern Europe, Northern Africa, etc. It absolutely wonderful!
Fabulous Post @EdGallagher! I have been hoping to see more homeless people here!
I retired early in 2018 when I had all I could take from “my dream career” that was sucking the life out of me. I sort of fell into this at the suggestion of my daughter without a clue as to where I would land. It was as they say, the great leap of faith!
I was full-time all over the US, UK, Europe and was in Bali on my way to Australia when the lockdowns began so I returned to the US. At that point I had a little over 2 years of full time sits.
Once back in the US, I rented a home from a family member and prepared to be “normal” again. I established myself, even joined the home owners association. Long story short, after a year of that I started looking for local sits here in the US. I have had wonderful experiences once again and am fully booked into December. A few days in between sits, I have stayed in AirBnBs and hotels.
I do not have a vehicle. I use miles or look for great deals on flights. I am very selective about where I go. It has to be a good fit for me. Right place, right people, right pets, right time. I look carefully at the details shared and I like to speak on the phone or face time. It helps me get a good sense of the sit overall, the people and the expectations.
I use my son’s home for the purpose of having a physical address and/or emergency. Right now I have no issues other than I wish to have more freedom to travel abroad I have groceries delivered. I exercise at home. Many HOs have equipment and lately it seems that many are into health and wellness so I have lots of opportunity to have intelligent discussions, share recipes and ideas of what has been working for each of us.
There are many online programs. You do most anything at home. I have been able to study immensely. Find your unique and personal interests and dive in.
There are many differences culturally in different regions even of the same country.
Enjoy and happy travels!
My partner and I actually started full-time house sitting DURING the pandemic (July 2020) Of course there has been a lot of uncertainty and where we originally wanted to go to Asia, USA, … we decided to keep things simple and stay in Western Europe till things calm down a bit.
We managed to find most of the time back-to-back sits in France & Spain, our advantage was that we were already in these countries, so for owners it was less risky than taking on sitters who had to travel.
Our main issue is high-speed wifi, as many full-time sitters we work online. We explain what we need in our application & so far it’s been fine.
Love it @ScrewTheAverage! When I started I had a carry on and a mid size case. I now have a wonderful 30L backpack and a small case that I am using only in the US.
I travel solo and keep tabs of all my financials. As a retired person I have been able to do more with my money than I did when I had a 6 figure income. Part of that is because of the all the free time I have to now study and understand how to utilize my assets effectively.
Kindness is one of the greatest things I discovered in this journey. I learned that people are wonderful and will go out of their way to help you. I have numerous stories about that. Doing this restored my faith in humanity.
and animals? well that is unconditional love.
Kudos @Els! Takes a great deal of courage to do that.
@EdGallagher I left Australia nearly six years ago after working from Alice Springs for some time nature tour guiding. I do have family in London which is a base from time to time but mostly I try to lock in sits back to back. I also do Workaway and you might know it; and through that have done volunteer work in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Sweden and Ireland and across the UK. My priority is to keep a roof over my head so I will go anywhere and especially if its an interesting destination. I have picked olives in Italy, planted orange trees in Spain, worked at a backpackers in Sweden and spent four months on a farm on the Isles of Scilly amongst many other places and volunteer work. I always aim to be around animals but when I can’t doing volunteer work helps keep me active and at 68, I have no plans to slow down just yet! I do miss Australia but to be honest travelling in the UK with all the villages and green fields is alot easier on the eye than extreme heat of the outback; though with climate change that extreme weather is starting to take hold in this part of the world also. Enjoy your travels and I agree having a smaller ecological footprint is something to aim for and very satisfying.
My husband and I sit full time. We started traveling pretty much ‘full time’ in 2011 and started housesitting in 2014. Until last year we had a ‘home base’ in NJ where we are originally from–it was my mom’s house and she was happy to let us stay with her as long as we wanted, but we lost that when she passed away last year.
Because we can work anywhere and travel any time, sitting hasn’t been difficult at all in terms of landing jobs because we can basically go wherever we want to go whenever we want, and housesitting often determines our next location. That is what is exciting about it, though since Covid it has been a bit different. One day we wouldn’t know where we are going next and the next day we saw a sit for an interesting place and all of a sudden we have a plan–we have ended up going so many places we probably wouldn’t have if we were planning a regular trip, like Oman or Qatar.
We didn’t housesit for awhile last year because my mom was ill but once she passed away last summer, we started again domestically (the US) through the beginning of February '21. We then spent almost 6 months housesitting in Panama and returned to the US a few weeks ago to visit with family and friends and have many sits lined up in the area through at least mid-December.
My husband and I both have online businesses so we can work from anywhere and so long as we feel like doing this, we will and have no plans to settle anywhere anytime soon.
I retired in 2018 and was getting itchy feet, my husband is still working and could only negotiate to work from home 50% of the time so our travelling was limited - Then Covid hit and he, like many, was moved to working from home 100%. We thought this seemed like a good time to test our travel plans. So, Like @Els , we started our adventure during the pandemic.
August 10TH 2020 we bought a suitcase and anything we owned that we could not fit inside it we either sold or gave away.
September 1st 2020 We let our apartment
September 4TH 2020 We took a one-way flight from Manchester to Greece, from there we went to Italy, then to Spain and then at the end of March this year( because of the new 90/180-day rule ) we returned to the UK.
We headed north and spent six weeks in Edinburgh, it was whilst we were there that we discovered THS.
We did our first sit in May, loved it so we booked more, all back to back ,and we are currently on our sixth sit having only had 6 available days since we did our first sit.
This nomadic lifestyle really suits us so I can see us carrying on for the foreseeable future. The only problem we face is if my husband gets called back into the office , if that happens we will have to consider all our options but for now, so far - so good.
I just want to say how thrilled I am to meet you all. This lifestyle at times can feel like a very isolated one. Few people I know understand why I do this. It’s not because I have no other options. I do it because I love it.
If it hadn’t been for the dread virus we had a vague plan of doing house-sits in France and Spain last year (booked but then cancelled due to virus) and doing house-sits in North America then travelling, or doing sits, through Central America. We loved the one sit we did in Costa Rica.
How is it different in North America compared to the UK?
There are lots of sits here in the USA though not as many as in the UK. Because the country is so large in size there is a variety of climate and terrain and traveling between sits can be an adventure in itself. It’s best to concentrate on a specific area at a time if you prefer to minimize travel or gaps. There are over 3,000 miles coast to coast but the drive is phenomenal with many different routes available to capture the different sites.
Culturally, people are very different in different parts of the country but people love their pets!
Lots of dogs and cats!
So have a good look on the site and map out a plan. There are a few longer sits in the northern Midwest now for the winter. These are in very cold snowy regions but great places. I’m just about to start one there for the Fall season.
We are also homeless nomads, traveling and house sitting for 5 years now. We just aren’t ready to stop despite COVID restrictions so we are doing our best to have in-country, in-province or in-city adventures until our world opens up again.
For the first couple of years I worked part time online but we are now both fully retired so very flexible. When we are in our own country we have our car and bikes, and in the last couple of years have had part ownership in a camper van (that’s another story though since we weren’t able to use it through most of the restrictions) so we have options for getting around.
We’ve had many sits cancelled, of course, but have also been able to complete several in the last year and a half that were 1-4 months long and have commitments to January. We have never 100% relied on sitting, preferring to use sits as anchor points in our travels (all over the world) and then other methods of accommodation that suit what we want to see and do between.
Happy to answer questions and share with others any time!
@Amparo yes it can be lonely at times but a great conversation with a stranger waiting at a bus stop…another dog walker who you stop and chat to…an old man with interesting stories in a quirky little pub…watching the sun set over a beach with a happy dog running free along the shore chasing the incoming tide…they all remind us that the world is not full of strangers …its full of friends to be met! Nice to meet you!
Yes! And healing! I will write more about that separately.
Very nice to meet you!
It’s lovely to meet you @lifephasenext!
I consider myself seasoned but now I feel like a newbie! This is so exciting.
I’d love to hear more of your experiences and adventures.
Hi @Amparo! I’m not sure if it’s OK to share here, but we have journaled our adventures on a (non-commercial) blog. I’ve posted very little in the last year and a half. I have to remind myself that my local adventures are still someone else’s international ones, so are possibly just as interesting. It’s been hard for me to be inspired to write about what seems quite familiar. But everything from pre-COVID is there! www.lifephasenext.com
We are now hoping to spend time in Europe next year (staying in the UK this year) so the Americas will have to wait till 2023.
We’ve found that almost everyone we know or speak to is at lesat a little envious of our life-style (though most wouldn’t choose to be homeless).