How do you explain to family/friends that we sit for free

@aliza You might find this post interesting. Many sitters have shared their expenses and budgets, or their overall approach to managing the cost of their chosen lifestyle.

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You are here. Read on some great tips are being shared all the time.

You are most certainly not alone.

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I’ve tried explaining THS to my step mum a few times but not sure she gets it. I broke it down to saying well my 2 recent stays in Venice and Oxford would have cost me at least £500 staying in hostels, instead I got to stay in a wonderful apartment and a lovely house with the added benefits of getting fur baby cuddles!!
I get to use the budget (or some of it) I would have used for accomodation on eating out and exploring the local areas.

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Good post Debbie. I’d say I’m comfortable but my homebase is a small studio flat. I’ve chosen to spend my time travelling and working remotely for a number of years. Finding THS has been a godsend in that I can travel more and get fur baby cuddles!
A good friend of mine made a lot of money selling his company (like multiple 8 figures) and bought a multi million pound London mansion and a number of super cars. Unfortunately he lost everything via a bad business deal. Had to live out of his mums spare room for a couple of years. Then became a multi million again and decided to collect experiences this time rather than objects. That’s what I’m doing (just without his wealth!!).

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It’s interesting how many different explanations there are in this thread, but my response would be to say “it’s okay if you don’t understand”. After all we don’t owe anyone an explanation or justification for the choices we make and the things we enjoy. When people say “we don’t understand” - but then refuse to accept your explanation - what they may really be saying is “we wouldn’t do this, so therefore we don’t think you should be doing this”. Horses for courses. The only thing that’s important is that you are happy with your choice. You don’t actually need the approval of friends and family, so if you’ve explained once, it’s perfectly OK to accept that they don’t understand and, if they persist with disapproval, challenges or dismissal, ask them to respect your choice and accept that you have compelling reasons that they simply don’t get.

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Here is just one of those what are the chances of this happening situations that we have had since becoming members of THS. We were looking after a kitten in the Scottish Highlands not far from Balmoral Castle. Queen Elizabeth was actually there and made an appearance at the Highland Games. Anyway the owner had a farm at the end of a rough dead end road. She explained to us before she departed that her daughter had gotten married the week before on the property. She borrowed hay bails from a local farmer for those attending the ceremony to sit on. She advised us that the farmer would at some point come retrieve them. A couple of days later the farmer called and said that he would be there in an hour to pick them up. I was told that there was no need to stick around for him. We waited for a couple of hours since I enjoy meeting locals and you never know what will come of those meetings like great advice from meeting someone. Anyway since he was late we decided to leave. On our way to the main road a truck pulling a horse trailer flagged us down. He asked if I was Dennis. I said yes. The first question out of his mouth was. Explain to me. You came all the way from America just to look after a cat. I tried to explain to him all of the benefits, but he just couldn’t relate to the concept. This is a true story. I jokingly said that “if he knew anyone with Highland Cattle that we would gratefully pet sit for him. He said wait for me to get the bales and then follow me. The photo explains it all. And his favorite bull’s name was exactly the same name as my favorite destination Anywhere. A tiny village in the Swiss Alps.

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hi @Tyger. Welcome to the community forum. I’m glad you found us. You’re so right!

The only thing that’s important is that you are happy with your choice.

Thanks for jumping into the conversations here!

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oh wow wow wow, love it @Dennis!

Had a similar experience with a lovely lady I met hiking along on a public path. She had the most adorable dog who kept running back to play with me so we started conversation.
When I told her how much I loved visiting England home and pet sitting for years. She turned her head and gave me this crooked eye and asked me if I was daft and whatever did I find good about the country.
I just said, I am living my childhood dreams.

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Love Great Britain. Years ago we put a couple during a International Glass Conference here in Seattle near us. He was German and she was from a small village in the Tyrol. He thought Austrian traditions were too much. Give. Our history is so short here in America I love experiencing it in other countries. It’s Who does parades any better than the British as exemplified yesterday. Not everyone appreciates tradition and history as much as others do. Many of us seek a simpler time despite its hardships.

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I say it’s my hobby and I also have a full time job. If people still don’t understand, I say it’s a bit like AirBnB but I don’t pay to stay and they don’t pay me to care for their pets.

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Does it really matter if others understand why you make the choices you do? If you enjoy doing this then why put the effort into trying to make other people “get it”. It’s your life. Do whatever brings you joy. If people get it, then ok. If the don’t, then does it really matter?

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Everyone is in their own reality bubble that is really difficult to pop lol. People ask me “so you don’t know the person sitting for you?”. I say we talk online and sometimes meet in person and we all have a membership to Trusted House sitters which does background checks.

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Funny thing happened on the weekend when I visited a pub near my sit. There was a cat sat near the bar so I obviously said hello and made a fuss of said cat when the landlord remarked his cat terry usually took time to warm to people. I explained that I had looked after over a dozen cats so far this year via THS and that I sat with animals in the absence of their owners. Next thing I know he brought down from presumably his owners flat upstairs 2 more cats to meet me! I’m like the cat whisperer now apparently! :grin:

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I have come across this people who think I am stupid working free for those home and pet owners. Most of them get my poit of view when I explain to them that I love animals and love to travel to other countrys and different places and by doing a house sit I get bouth in one package! I benefit from it more than the home ovner. I stay rent free for about two weeks on each sit and I couldn’t get a Hotel with the same amount of luxury I get for less than 1000 pounds a week. Now for instance I am staying in a house with a wonderful garden that have about 10 different types of birds I feed every day, squirrels and a hedgehog and ofcause the most wondeful cat you ever meet.

For me it’s a win win situation.

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I am using a pet sitter found here for the first time in November. I am comfortable with it as I also do home exchange, so not strange to have “strangers” in my home. I worry more for my pets than I do my house!

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How do I add my comments to this thread. I get paid very well ti pet sit locally so no one understands why I would do it for free.

As soon as we signed up with THS, I sent our profile link to family and friends and told them we’d gone ‘pro’, which they all seemed to understand. You could also pitch it as being a ‘career house sitter’ and explain how much it’s worth in-kind, so that they understand the value of what you’re doing. Of course there are many more benefits to it than the financial ones but that is what most people seem to understand best.

It’s never really sitting for “free” when you are given a home to stay in at no cost while watching a pet…yes, you are staying for the pet parents benefit, but it also benefits sitters as they get the chance to visit a new location (hopefully somewhere on their bucket list), with no hotel fees, snuggle up with a furbaby or two, and possibly forge some new friendships along the way. If you are working remotely or retired and have passive income flowing in, it’s totally a win-win! How can anyone argue this?

I’m telling people that as well as longing to spend time with furry friends I’m looking for the right place to build the next family home. I’ve also said that I will incorporate book tours into my sits so that way it sounds like I’m travelling for business but just between you and me I actually plan to sit around cuddling animals and spend time writing my books which I have trouble doing at home. The truth is I may never build another home again if pet-sitting becomes a full-time lifestyle; why would I want the stress of building and then having to stay at home 24/7 365xdays a year just to go to work and pay a mortgage? The nomadic life is much more appealing :slight_smile:

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