Flexibility is key...

One of the major expenses when traveling, no matter if it’s for three weeks or three months, is your accommodations. When I was trying to decide whether this crazy remote work/ freelance dream was going to be feasible, it was a huge factor – what kind of space could I afford? What were some of my essentials for freelancing (i.e. Internet)? Would I stay put or be mobile?

That’s when a friend told me about Trusted Housesitters. I investigated the site briefly but hadn’t had a lot of time to investigate it. So, when Dai and Christie Manuel also suggested it, completely unaware that I already knew about the site, I thought the universe was telling me to get off my butt already.

So I took the plunge. Signing up isn’t difficult, but there is a yearly fee (which is about the cost of one night in a moderate European hotel or a nice-ish one here at home). And I’m so happy I did. Once Maslow’s physiological need for shelter was satisfied, my mind turned towards other questions like “am I seriously thinking about leaving my friends and home to do this?” and “how would I buy groceries?” but that is the topic of another post…

I’m currently in Northern California, enjoying my first housesit “assignment”. My hostess, Jennifer, has been absolutely wonderful and she’s only a text away to answer the stupid questions one has when they’re new to a place – like the location of the broom and how to turn on the washing machine. Our personalities clicked immediately and it feels like we’ve known each other for years.

And my location? 5 acres of beautiful – fruit trees, vegetable garden, flowers – complete with outdoor shower! I’m not saying it’s all sunshine (well, it IS California) and roses, but for my first go, I couldn’t have been luckier. There are different “duties as assigned” for each sit, so flexibility is key. I’ve applied for a sit with a donkey and another one with 250 chickens. It’s the storyteller within me that REALLY wanted those gigs.

Here, I’m feeding two outdoor cats and trying not to kill all of Jennifer’s plants. My next gig is 5 dogs and 3 cats in the UK (and I can’t wait, Sasha!), the one after that is in Spain. It’s so exciting that I’m meeting fabulous people and getting animal love all over the world. I suspect the two cats here are actually tolerating me because I’m feeding them, but you know what I mean.

Fresh strawberries from the garden

Ultimately, each of us has to decide what we’re comfortable with. Staying in a relative stranger’s home or being responsible for another person’s animals can be too much stress for some. However, I trade something that gives me immense joy (animal sitting) for the chance to travel and experience different cultures.  A backyard, temporary animal cuddles and the experience of belonging to a place for however short a period of time works for me.

Bee in flowers
I’ve never seen a bee with pollen on his feet before.

But I’ll keep you posted! 😉

Interesting side fact: About 35 years before I went to Montpellier, France, on a year-long sabbatical, Jennifer also lived there to go to school. Her good friend (still) who she met while living there? A woman who lives about an hour away from where I grew up in a tiny village in Cape Breton. Hello universe!


Home sweet away from home

cabin in the woods

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