Hello! A little about us :-)

We’re Shannon and Sergio and four years ago we set off on a journey of continual long-term travel as full-time house sitters and digital nomads pursuing financial independence, retire early (FI/RE). We’ve traveled across four continents, 26 countries, 80+ cities and are currently on our 66th house sit! :open_mouth:

For a bit about us, we’re husband and wife and we both work remotely (IT consultant and project manager consultant). Pets have always been important to both of us, as Sergio grew up with a small urban farm (dogs, cats, bunnies, fish, hamsters, parrots…) and Shannon’s family bred basset hounds and her companion growing up was her rottweiler Zoe. We love house sitting because it lets us continue to have the companionship of wonderful pets while we travel the world and meet great people!

We share our adventures, our goals, and our mistakes on ScrewTheAverage.com

We travel light (less than 15 lbs in a 36 L backpack) and we never check bags. We’ve been known to do our own laundry for weeks on end and rarely eat out. Between house sits and hotel awards you’ll rarely find us paying for lodging.

If we can’t walk to it we’ll take a bus or a train and we only rent a car for epic road trips. There are too many places in the world begging to be explored, so we walk every path and see all there is to see before moving on to a new destination.

We’re sure many here can relate! We can’t wait to meet other house sitters and homeowners :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Hi Sergio and Shannon,
Great story and equally great to meet you. Similar story for us except we don’t work at all, just travel and housesit. Never had a free stay in a hotel though, not sure how you get those.

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Free hotels (and flights) are all about travel hacking! In other words, maximizing miles and points. For example, we did a ‘mattress run’ in Queretaro, Mexico where we stayed 41 nights at Hilton properties and while we paid 205,000 points up front, we came out ahead because we earned a total 217,500 points and extended our Diamond HHonors status for an additional year. If you’re interested in all of the details behind the story and a bit of how-to, check out this article on it. :relaxed:

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Hi guys, so great to connect with some fellow public transport loving sitters! We are also full timers (since early 2016) and looove track hacking! All about those free flights. How do you manage traveling so light going to different climates, or do you focus only on warmer places? Biggest thing for us that ads up quick is warm weather clothing/gear. But we still travel quite light comparatively, with 1 carry on backback each and 1 shared checked bag for the bigger items.

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Hi Sergio and Shannon, great to meet you. We’re Julie and Jonathan. Your story is inspirational, 26 countries wow! and I wish we could travel that light (ok Jonathan could easily but I’m getting there😄) we’re like you watch every expense to keep to our budget.
Treats as many people think of them - eating out etc) are infrequent, but travel experiences, meeting new people all the time, scenery, road trips, you can’t put a price on those can you.
We gave up work, school secretary and swimming teacher to travel, we knew we would miss having pets so when we found THS the idea of travelling and caring for pets along the way was a dream. Our budget was low even then when we began, almost 3 years ago, 47 sits, but now with covid having ruined our little online rental (Spain) business, its all pretty dire. At least we are 2 years ahead according to Jonathan’s budget spreadsheets, he’s known as Mr Spreadsheet :grin:).
Luckily Jonathan is great at always thinking logically and life must be an adventure and Covid isn’t going to dictate to us, but it’s hard to plan at the moment and we both like to plan ahead (yet another spreadsheet :smile:).
Hopefully we’ll all get back on our journeys soon.
Checked out your website :ok_hand:
Take care.

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Great to meet you! :hugs:

When we first started this adventure we arrived in Ireland and almost immediately realized we had WAY too much stuff. And even then it still all fit in our 36 litter backpacks. However, we downsized by taking out the “what if” items (if XYZ happens then I’ll need…) and the consumables/toiletries that we could purchase when we arrived in a new place.

When it comes to different climates we’ve been in it all. From wind and snow storms in Virginia, US to 120 F in Egypt. We manage gear for it by packing foundational items (a couple of shirts, a long sleeve, a pair of pants and a pair of shorts/skirt), then when we need something warmer, we simply go to a thrift store/charity shop and purchase a jacket, gloves, hat, etc. When we no longer need it, we donate it back.

You can find more details on our packing lists and tips here and we have a 3-part series specifically for female ‘onebag’ tips here.

Since you both love public transportation as well, we’re curious on your take on it now with COIVD? Have you found alternatives? What per-cautions do you take?

It’s interesting because on top of being very cautious of our own health, we feel the additional need to be cautious for the homeowners we house sit for. So, we’re still figuring out best practices in this ‘new’ world. :thinking:

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Hi Julie and Jonathan! Always great to meet like-minded people! :hugs:

Honestly, Sergio does travel a bit lighter between the two of us, but as you mentioned, it’s the experiences that you remember, not the ‘stuff’. So Shannon’s able to pack pretty minimal as well. It’s amazing what happens when you push yourself a bit and go without something you thought you needed… more often than not, you end up not missing it that much.

Sorry to hear about your rental but thank goodness it seems from what you said that you have a bit saved up to weather this storm. We consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have been on this journey pursuing financial independence, retire early and for living well below our means, because it has given us the ability to focus on our safety and health during COVID and not worry about finances as much.

Ah, planning… yes! Being a project manager and IT couple, we’re both logical/analytical and love to have a well thought out plan (and a plan for all contingencies) :laughing: Traveling however has given us the ability to be more comfortable with uncertainty and not being so planned out. Maybe you had a similar experience?

The good thing is, humans are incredibly adaptive. We’ll manage COVID, and life, while it may look a bit different, will continue on and so will the adventure! :slight_smile:

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We love your reply :hugs:
wonder if our paths will ever cross, would like that!

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Absolutely! We love getting to meet fellow travelers! Apologies if we missed it, where are you guys currently? We’re likely going to be on the US West Coast for a while.

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Yeah those what if items! Haha. But yeah, we are super minimal on clothing, pretty much exactly what you mentioned, it’s more so the other things and gear that add up. And other miscellaneous things that are important for us to have like podcasting gear, resistance bands for working out, and an immersion blender (gotta have our daily smoothies and not everyone owns a blender, shockingly). I know most people would probably think it’s ridiculous to travel with stuff like that but they’re things that we use every day and are important to our overall health and wellbeing, so it’s worth it for us! I’m happy with the packing set up we have now, but of course always tweaking things to streamline even more. I just got a very nice “one bag” nomad backpack, so I’m excited to use that! I do wish I could embrace the buy things at a secondhand shop and then donate them back when we’re done, but once I find an item I really like and is super functional, I wanna keep it and use it for next time. I do love secondhand shopping tho, and most of our clothes are secondhand!

As for public transportation right now, we aren’t full time sitting at the moment, and where we’ve hunkered down for the time being is in a city (Buffalo, NY) where everything we need is within walking or biking distance. We have been using the city bike share, which we usually do everywhere we go, even before covid times. We would rather bike around than take public transportation, such a fun way to explore a place. We’ll be doing a few repeat sits in NYC over the next couple months, and they’re about an 7.5 hour drive/ 9 hour train trip from where we are, and honestly we’ll probably rent a car one way and drop it off when we get there. It will still be cheaper and faster (we’re in the US where the train system is abysmal), and we won’t have to wear a mask for 9 hours on a train. I also want to visit my 88 year old grandma when we are house sitting in NYC (where my partner and I are from), so I don’t want to take any chances.

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We think everyone has their one or two things they pack that might leave other people scratching their head. For us, It’s a video game controller in Sergio’s bag, and Shannon carriers a full makeup kit (well, relative to most onebag women) and 2 laptops/2 phones (1 set for work). Ultimately, it’s up to the person carrying the bag(s) to determine if the burden of the extra weight and space is worth the return of the item being carried. If that equation balances out, then :+1:

We’re taking a guarded approach to public transportation as well. We’ve continued to house sit full time with the exception of a couple weeks visiting parents. So we’ve been extremely cautious with our exposure and if it’s at all possible we walk instead of public transportation (so far that’s worked our every time), or we use an owners car. But even driving is limited, since we’re not doing out much because of COVID.

We wish you both a great time in NYC (we house sat there several months last year and loved it). We’re sure it will be nice to be home and around family! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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I’ve watched your web site. Liked it, gave me ideas. How did you manage to put a link on the forum to one of its pages ??

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Hi @alternativetravelers that’s our dilemma too when travelling to different climates, and warmer clothes so bulky. We have a back back each and 1 shared checked bag. Its never enough for me haha!

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Wow! would love to house sit in NYC. Must stay positive and tell myself we will make it happen at some time. Just showing Jonathan your type on taking an immersion blender, you should have seen his face when I said could I take mine! (yep, I am the healthy one and dont go anywhere without my bands).

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We’re in the uk, currently exploring the Highlands, Scotland, its beautiful, rugged, dramatic, mountains, lochs, forests. We had 4 house sits booked in this area and intended to explore in between them and then 3 cancelled, we bought a second hand tent (never used) to save on accommodation and decided we weren’t going to give up on our road trip, we’ve been lucky with the weather and its been so much fun.
We definitely want to return to usa on our house sitting journey as soon as we possibly can. We had 3 months exploring California with house sits as we went and it was fantastic.
Enjoy the West Coast!

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Thank you, we’re glad you enjoyed our website :blush:

To link a word or phrase, highlight the text you want to hyperlink, then select the icon in the editor menu that looks like a chain link. A popup will appear where you can add the url in the top open field, then click OK.
2020-10-03 10_01_02-Hello! A little about us _-) - Introductions - TrustedHousesitters Community For

Or, for those that prefer keyboard shortcuts, once you have your text selected, click ctr+k to get the hyperlink pop up. For those that are more advanced, markdown language also works.

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Wow, spending time in the Highlands of Scotland is a bucket list item for us! Enjoy!!

House sitting in NYC can seem like a hard place to get sits at first, but it’s doable. Just a bit of patience, persistence, and luck with being quick to apply. We did around a dozen sits in Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and New Jersey last year and it was amazing.

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Thanks, now I understand the “short cut” reason of the table given by THS, I don’t use these much.

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Thankfully there are many ways to do the same thing, so user preference :wink: Do what works best for you. :slight_smile:

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We had 10 nights 4 years ago, we loved Brooklyn especially, definitely want to return and house sitting would be amazing.

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