How we started housesitting, Want to be a housesitter?

Not the average couple

“Seriously, don’t you get sick of living out of a suitcase?”, 

That is probably the most asked question we get when people discover that we travel full-time housesitting.

Here’s how we do it:

  • Good quality clothing
  • Easy to wash and dry [we do use Kathmandu] 
  • Got used to wearing the same somewhat over and over [cleaned of course]
  • Learn how to pack a suitcase in a way that accessing clothing is done with ease
  • Chose clothing that has multi-use, e.g. Merino wool tops can be used in an early English summer as well as winter with more layers.  Can not emphasise this enough!
  • Be tidy and organised
  • Have only one suitcase each and a carry-on [believe me you don’t want to be carrying more!]  We have never exceeded 21kgs in the years we have been travelling

 It’s hard to describe how free we feel not being tied down to a house and possessions, it’s just about us, meeting new people, looking after various pets and seeing new places.  

The other is how do you survive 24hrs together?  

Many men have looked at the squire in total disbelief and said, “I couldn’t do it, we would be divorced with a month!” And if he’s honest, he has his moments of frustration. As do I, though the squire is more patient than myself!  

Let’s face it; we got used to each other’s company for long periods of togetherness when we sold our small orchard/farm and then purchased our motorhome which we lived in just 24sqm to travel around New Zealand [that’s another story].  During that time, we met up with friends/family regularly, so it didn’t feel like we were all on our own.  Though what is different to travelling full-time housesitting overseas is that going off to the usual club or visiting people isn’t as easy as doing it in your hometown.  We naturally socialise while housesitting and travelling, it is just done as a couple more than individually.     So, how do we survive? 

Laugh and I mean the right old belly sort of laugh!

Laugh at all the annoying things that require more patience! During travelling, things do go wrong.  Such as arriving at a train station, and that cold feeling creeps over you when you both realise that we have the incorrect station and the train is due to depart in 20 minutes. I am too polite to say what was uttered by the two of us.  We both laughed our heads off, more in relief, when we were safely in the train carriage heading to Valencia, Spain! The good news is we arrived in Valencia none the worse from our experience.  Just a little more experienced in dealing with travel arrangements!

We are a team – the awesome twosome

When you’re thousands of kilometres away from your home, family and friends, you have to be able to rely on each other for support.   As mentioned before we knew it would not be a problem for us as we have had years living and travelling in a motorhome.  For many, I would suggest a trial period before embarking on this lifestyle full time.

As we all know, nothing tests your relationship more than moments of stress. One example of that is when I needed medical assistance, for a tooth infection and not being fluent speakers of French, we very quickly realised that we had to remain calm and try to relay to the doctor what was wrong.  Thankfully, the situation was sorted very smoothly, without having to pay a cent and her with the painful tooth lived to tell another story.  

A sideline to this is to have comprehensive insurance; this is a MUST.  We have not had to use it as yet, and it is still one thing we would always have on our travels.  

You also quickly work out which situations to avoid putting yourselves in, as it does nothing for marital harmony.   Like the co-driver saying go left and then me changing my mind to the right, at the same time, the driver is already turning left.  The squire replaced the co-driver with a GPS for our return visit. (relationship savers those gadgets!)

Assign “jobs” / Share the workload

It quickly became apparent when we first started travelling that there are jobs each of us is good at and enjoy doing. If one of you particularly loves getting into writing and replying to hundreds of housesit positions, let them do it.  Likewise, if one of you hates sorting out train or plane tickets, then let the other one do it. We also seemed to find a way of sharing the workload by accident. We hadn’t planned it that way, but instead, we just seemed to fall into owning specific tasks as a matter of course. And not always as we might have expected.

Find some “me time.” 

We both relish time on our own. It is important. We are very self-contained and are quite happy to spend time by ourselves nearly as much as being together as a couple or socialising with other people.  Going away for an hour walking while the other is catching up on computer work, or reading is something we do regularly.  Housesitting is brilliant in that it gives us space as we can be in separate rooms doing our own thing when we need more ‘me time’.  

Open that purse and splurge.

Travelling on a budget does mean that we’ve learned to live somewhat frugally.  Of course, our budget is immensely helped with doing housesitting.  We are exchanging caring for a home and animals for free accommodation.

Though, there’s nothing quite so cathartic as the occasional splurge on something that creates beautiful memories for both of you.

For us, this is having time out from housesitting to explore areas we have not been too, last year we travelled to Portugal, Spain, Scotland, America [NYC] and Ireland.   Portugal, America and Ireland [Dublin] are countries we had not previously visited.  This year, 2017, we are adding a few more countries to our list of explored countries.  The countries we have housesat in so far are New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, France, Germany and Switzerland.  By the end of the year, two more different countries will be included.

Selfies for the over 50’s, capture that moment

A long time ago, I realised selfies and the over 50’s are not a combination made in heaven, there is always an exception to every rule!.  So many factors to take into consideration before the button is pressed, by the time all are in tune the squire has lost all incentive to do it.  Though we occasionally do the odd selfie!  There is always the unsuspecting person walking towards you that can press the button which eliminates the hassle and the awful looking selfies that are never usually published.

Just don’t hesitate to grab someone and ask them to take a photo or two for a more personal memory of how you felt about that moment in your travels.

Don’t underestimate the value of just ‘being.’

Travelling can be tiring. Both mentally and physically.  Over the years we have travelled months at a time; this is why we have now chosen to do housesitting, it suits our desire to go slowly.  We have been doing this since the beginning of 2016, and we have already obtained housesits for 2018.  Doing housesits that are longer than a week, gives us that time just to do normal things, things that most of us take for granted and those things we do enjoy is just relaxing around the house and also exploring around the community where we are housesitting.

We have no hesitation in recommending housesitting, as a way to embrace travelling and to explore neighbourhoods, around the world in a slow and relaxing way.

To experience all this with our best friend at our side, we think makes us feel very blessed.


48 thoughts on “Not the average couple”

  1. Missed this post but so glad I read it!

    I can totally relate to this especially when I lived on a boat (28′ then extended to 34′) for 20 years then a bigger 47′ boat.

    They’re still confined spaces and I always got the same questions as you did, from family and friends. Living in a motorhome for a few months is similar but I don’t think as stressful as you can sink a motorhome! 🙂

    You’re so right, travelling is team work and that’s what it really comes down to, but if you both love it then it’s not that difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi,
    How interesting is your lifestyle! We travel a lot so I often feel like I live out of a suitcase (the entire summer). I can’t image 24/7. An entire season is enough for me. I do love pets though. When you’re between assignments, do you live at a motel?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Janice, usually we don’t have to long a stretch in between housesits. Though when we do we use Airbnb as in apartments. Or for a change a hotel. When we are housesitting we see it as being at “home”, and we relax and leave the more extensive exploring for in between. Thanks for comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gloria 🙂 We certainly need to pace ourselves and we are not rushing around on a regular basis. The great part about housesitting is that we get to take a deep breath and just spend time at “homebase” and do just normal every day things such as dog walking, which reminds me someone called Fudge needs a walk 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting, much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. DO IT. If that is what you want and are able. My advice to anyone, do it before you hit 65. In other words, don’t leave it till you retire. We also do not have children, which does make the process of being a nomad much easier.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment. Yes it is a long process to declutter. Good luck with your travels. Are you going to be doing housesitting? Since we started at the beginning of 2016 there certainly have been an influx of people doing it.


      1. Yes, we have signed up to several sites and done one housesit in Napier, and another coming up in Sydney in order to get a bit of a CV and references… Nice to be able to enjoy feline company again! Lots of new sits being advertised daily, so keeping an eye out for those starting next year – hoping to base ourselves in Spain, a favourite part of Europe and so much more to explore! Will look forward to following your adventures too!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh yes there are a few housesits available and quite a few applying. We will be heading to Spain at the end of the year. At the moment in Turkey until the end of August. There’s certainly many places to explore! Have fun 🌞


  3. There is so much good advice in this post. We love travelling together, not to say that we don’t experience some stress but we have learned how to make it work and what our individual travel pace is and how to balance that. I cannot imagine travelling with anyone else than Rowan, it just works for us despite those moments where the odd swear word may emerge 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Nevertheless it was a rather big leap methinks and I shall wager the moment it first started was filled with trepidation and a good dose of nerves; as I suspect all first steps are. But without them we never know! What a journey though 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes our first housesit was eventful and enjoyable. Though we have encountered a few not so nice people the majority have been wonderful and we keep in contact with them. It’s a happy time as people are looking forward to their holidays and we are looking forward to experiencing a new community. Yes what a journey 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post. I find your way of life really inspiring. It is really interesting to hear more about the nitty gritty of how you make this lifestyle work.

    It sounds both adventurous and relaxing at the same time.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh heavens, I got a little teary-eyed at the end. Traveling with your best friend at your side. . . love that so much. I’m such a fan of your decision to travel and see the world this way. I read parts of this post aloud to my own adventurous squire. He said, “Okay, when can we start doing this?” Thank you for the inspiration. And until we’re ready to follow in your footsteps, the chance to live vicariously through you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we do have quite a few excellent references and we have experienced so many lovely people and their equally lovely pets. We have also experienced a couple who have given us not a good reference. Which we found very disappointing. That is life and what people say to your face is not always what they write. Not much we can do about it. We know we are good at what we do. Just an ordinary couple out there getting on with living our life 🙂


  6. I hope you’re going to add Northern Ireland to that list sometime.

    I live the idea of what you do, I’m just not sure I could do it, but what an amazing life and adventures you’re making.

    I’m curious tho, so have a question, what happens if you have nowhere to housesit for a week, do you still have a base as such, of do you just B&B it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tiffany you do get used to having limited clothing. I always find that I tend to always wear my most comfy clothing. Plus every time I put in a few more tops, I never wear them 🙂 Yes breaking into the housesitting game is not easy. Try getting a few references from friends and family it does help. Good luck and hopefully you experience only lovely people the animals are never any problem 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great post and very recognizable. Full-time travel can get very exhausting after a while and long-term house sits are a great antidote, yet a very welcome and more relaxing form of exploring. For the same reason, we currently enjoy long-term sits better. Also, because we still work and we – theoretically – only have the weekends to sight-see. Less is more when it comes to carrying your own luggage. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a great overview of your lifestyle! Not everyone could do it, but it seems to suit you very well. Although we haven’t house sat (yet), we do like spending longer periods of time in interesting places. And, I absolutely agree with you about selfies… I don’t think I’ve ever taken one that I’d be comfortable showing to others.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Couldn’t agree more with every word. We love being together 24 hours a day and have had the same ‘how do you manage it’ questions. The 3 week or longer sits are much better than single weeks and I think we’ll start looking for overseas ones for 2018 very soon. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jonno. Yes longer sits are easier as it does take a week to find our feet so to speak. It does help that we are both self-contained people and we are best mates, end of story 🙂 Good luck with the overseas ones, will be interesting if you get a New Zealand one. We will have to catch up one day on the road!

      Liked by 1 person

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