“Supplement”- an unashamed collection of old tosh cobbled together to fill a bit of space.
When I started house and pet sitting back in June 2017, to get to the first sit I had to fly from Singapore to Bangkok.
Only a short flight, just over an hour, but it was the start of what has become an amazing journey.
I know some of you keep a record of almost everything - I remember a post in the Forum (or maybe it was Facebook?) where a couple of people mentioned a spreadsheet with numbers/data on every house, type of pet, distance travelled etc. and kept this information to write your blog, or just because you did!
In the early days it was easy, I could say I had completed 5, 6, 7 sits with 8 dogs and 4 cats, but more recently it has all become a bit of a blur.
I think I am stuck at “around 50” sits, with over 50 “different dogs” 10 cats, 2 rabbits and a sparrow.
So that got me thinking – how many is it?
Sits, animals, flights, countries, different modes of transport.
I am currently in Bali, Indonesia on a long-term visa, but I need to get a stamp on my passport every month at Immigration.
Fortunately, my visa agent takes my passport to the office, so I just give them my passport once a month, and I got it back today. So that helps with this exercise – I can check all the visa stamps for the various countries – and some of those stamps/visas take up a full page of my passport.
(After checking my passport, I now realise I only have a few blank pages left, and I know some countries will only allow entry if you have X number of blank pages – need to be careful where I travel to next!)
So, how many countries have I travelled to, pet sitting?
Singapore. Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Hongkong, and Scotland:8
Multiple times to sits in all of those counties, except Japan.
That was a special sit, one of my top 5, so maybe the subject of another post one day. My original plan was to concentrate on SE Asia, based in Singapore, where much of the region can be reached by a 1- or 2-hour flight at the most. However, when I saw the Japan sit advertised, I just knew I had to apply, even though it ended up being a 6-hour flight and cost a small fortune (compared to most flights I do). I could have flown home to Scotland for the same cost. I loved it and hope to go back someday.
Singapore. Pre covid I was based there and if I had a break between longer sits, I would apply for “local” ones. A weekend or a week. Although my second sit in Singapore was for 3 weeks, it is also probably in my top 5.
Singapore – 12 sits.
Thailand – 5 sits
Vietnam – 4 sits
Malaysia – 3 sits
Indonesia (Bali) - 11 sits.
This is where it gets a bit messy.
5 sits pre covid in Bali and 6 post covid, so officially 11. But a couple recently were extended, a couple of times “officially” listed as individual sits on THS, but really just extended. So, I’ll stick to 11 (including the current sit).
Japan – 1
Hongkong – 2
Scotland – 8
46 – Well, that’s a surprise. I must have missed something.
I think it’s 28 different houses – lots of repeat/return sits.
(A few owners have now changed country, so although my reviews on THS say Vilnius, New Zealand, Spain and Cambodia I have not done sits there)
Pets: Dogs (counting each once, no cheating for repeat sits) – 51, cats – 9, rabbits –2, sparrow – 1, and some chickens (6 I think)
Flights: From Scotland to Asia and back long-haul over the last 5 years, 12. (no direct flights to Glasgow from Singapore so mostly Singapore-London–Glasgow, except my flight out here last October. Glasgow-Amsterdam-Singapore-Jakarta-Bali)
Around SE Asia: 32 flights (travelling in and out of Singapore 12 times for sits)
I did get pulled by immigration late one night and asked to go to the office and questioned. Why was I travelling through Changi so often, was I working in Singapore, what did I do? So, when I explained that I was retired and just visiting friends across the region (I didn’t mention housesitting), they were happy and told me they would put a note on my file (passport number on the computer) and have a good evening. I have noticed since then that anytime I arrive at Changi and don’t use the automated fingerprint immigration system (only in one of the 4 terminals I think) the immigration officer always takes a few seconds to read something on the screen before waving me through.
A few other flights but just for “holidays”, visiting friends: 5 trips to Jakarta from Singapore, and 3 to Vietnam, so another 16 flights (another 8 trips in and out through Changi)
60 flights in 5 years.
The bus from Narita airport in Tokyo, Japan to Yokohama. It is described as a limousine. It was nice, but still just a bus.
The Bus to Malaysia and return. Johor Bahru, Malaysia is just across the causeway from Singapore, the bus takes about 20 minutes if it is quiet, and I travelled on the 12th March 2020 with about 6 other people, returning on the 16th of march – the only person on the bus, the day they closed the border due to Covid. A day later I would have been stuck in Malaysia – I WAS stuck in Singapore for almost 3 months.
There are 2 causeways to JB, Malaysia from Singapore. I went across the other one a couple of years earlier when I had a few days between sits, and my usual place to stay in Singapore was not available, so it was much cheaper to go to Malaysia and get a hotel there – the 5 days in Malaysia cost the same as one night in Singapore. On the way back I got the train. It runs about every half hour, and you are asked to be there about 30 minutes before it leaves, to go through Immigration – exit Malaysia. Once on the train, I sat for about 10 minutes. Then they announced that the train was ready to depart and everyone stood up and started to get their luggage from the overhead shelf and head to the doors. The train sets off and after about 3 minutes arrives in Singapore, and that’s it! And costs about $1 us.
I use the train (MRT) and buses in Singapore all the time so hundreds of journeys, and the trains in HK (MTR) again loads of times. A few trips on the overhead train system in Bangkok (BTS), and a couple of trips on the train in Japan.
MRT-MTR-BTS – sounds like a Korean boy band.
Scooters in Bali on more recent sits have been a must – the dogs are all scooter trained so it is the best way to get them to the beach.
I have only been left cars to use 5 times – in Scotland (2), Phuket (Thailand), and Malaysia (2)
Most of SE Asia (except Myanmar) drives on the left – the correct side (!)- so, it was easy.
Myanmar (Burma) is a strange one, and I have told this story before: short version – in the early 1970’s the General in charge had a dream one night that they should drive on the right. So, they do.
Electric bikes in Japan.
Boats – I regularly used the Ferry service from HK to Lamma Island, which takes about 20 to 25 minutes, and costs HK$ 19, about $2 us.
There is also a Water bus in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which I did use once, and is a great way to see the city from the river, but I was mostly staying in the Thao Dien area of District 2, and the local Jetty was under repair, so closed, and the next closest was a taxi ride away, across an 8-lane highway.
I use the TripIt app to record my flights, and it is meant to record distance travelled, but there are a few anomalies/unrecorded flights, I did try to manually update it but I am sure it is still not right:
148,856 miles travelled (flown) since 2017, but that is way short, I think – but still 6 times around the world according to TripIt.
Anyway, that is enough old tosh from me for today.
Sitters, what are your stats? Any unusual form of transport to get to a sit, unusual animals? I think my Sparrow is pretty unique! (Kangaroo Francine?)
Owners, how many trips have you done with the help of THS/pet sitters? Any unusual transport to exciting destinations?