How often do you examine your reasons for doing something?
Have you ever asked yourself why you became a house sitter… or perhaps more importantly, if you’re just at the beginning of your house sitting journey, why do you want to become a house sitter?
Maybe you love animals? Perhaps your passion is travel? Or is it about the people, places and cultures?
It may just be a financial decision. Or a way to enjoy a different type of holiday.
Perhaps you want to escape the rat-race, or live a lifestyle of relative freedom.
Or maybe you just enjoy change and challenge.
Vanessa and I try to make a habit of regularly examining the way we live, and checking in with each other, to confirm that we still feel we are both on the right path through life.
When we discuss our lifestyle choices, all the reasons listed above come up as part of our motivation for making house sitting a big part of our lives.
But there’s always another aspect that’s part of our decision-making process.
Because it isn’t just about the house sitting!
That’s why we named our online publication: House Sitting – The ultimate lifestyle magazine
For us, lifestyle is the keyword here, and house sitting is just one part of a much bigger picture. House sitting is the basic glue that holds it all together… one of the key ingredients that allows us to live an amazing lifestyle.
We both love new challenges and adventures, so scheduling time in-between sits is very important for us.
In fact, Vanessa often uses the hashtag #BetweenSits on social media.
Last year we took time off from house sitting to spend a week with friends in the US Virgin Islands. We spent a full month traveling around Cuba. And between sits in Mexico we rented a beautiful off-grid house high in the mountains above San Miguel de Allende, where we spent every day hiking among the deserted peaks.
This year, between sits in Western Australia, we bought an old car and took an extended road trip around the south-western part of the state, camping out by quiet beaches and in peaceful forests.
And just last month, after leaving Australia, we scheduled another month “off”, spending time in Thailand. We did a little bit of island-hopping, but the main goal of this interlude was to learn how to sail.
We have both done a little bit of sailing in the past, but are by no means experts. For quite some time we have dreamed of hiring a yacht, maybe in the Mediterranean, maybe in the Caribbean.
But we don’t just want to be passengers… we want to do the sailing.
Of course, this means we actually have to be able to sail, and be qualified at a level that will convince bareboat charter companies to entrust us with one of their yachts.
After much online research we figured out that the International Yacht Training (IYT) “International Bareboat Skipper” qualification would suit our needs. IYT is recognised internationally, and has accredited schools all over the world.
Further research narrowed down our choices, based on courses offered, prices quoted, and our own travel plans, to either South Africa or Thailand.
While one school in South Africa offered slightly cheaper courses, Thailand was directly on our route from Australia back to the UK. We already had our tickets booked out of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, so it was easy and cheap to schedule some time on the island of Phuket, where “Sail in Asia” offers several course options.
We picked the aptly named “Zero to Hero” package, which combines three separate modules to take you from zero knowledge up to “International Bareboat Skipper” level. The course also offers that option to include qualification for the International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which is required by many European charter companies.
If paid for in full a couple of months in advance there is a significant discount off the full price.
We rented a small apartment on Airbnb just up the hill from the sailing school training base, so we could simply stroll down to the beach each morning for our lessons, or to go out sailing. We received a great discount here too of 40%, as we took the room for a full three weeks.
The course was an intensive 14 day program, and blended classroom theory sessions with lots of on-the-water practical experience. Two other sailing beginners, Richard and Alex, joined us for the two weeks. The European and British instructors were calm and patient, but pushed us on at a decent pace, so we learned new skills every day.
The last day of the course set the four of us free on one of the school’s larger yachts, and we sailed to a neighbouring island where we had lunch and a swim… and a beer or two to celebrate our new-found sailing freedom!
It really was an amazing feeling of achievement to be able to get such a large boat from A to B, navigating all hazards on the way.
The whole course was a challenge, but such fun too.
If this is something that may be of interest to you, then Sail in Asia is a good place to begin your research. Find out more about Sail in Asia and their sailing courses here:
Sail in Asia
More details on IYT and international sailing qualifications here:
International Yacht Training Worldwide
We’ll be house sitting later this year in the Caribbean, in St. Vincent and The Grenadines. Again we have scheduled some time “off” from house sitting, and have confidently (!!) chartered a boat for two weeks from the end of July.
Again, we have managed to get a great discount, as it’s low season in the islands.
We have rented “Bonjour Matelot”, a Bavaria 36 built in 2006, from Horizon Yacht Charters:
We’re looking forward to putting our newly-learned skills to some good use.
I’m sure you’ll hear how it all goes in the August edition of House Sitting – The ultimate lifestyle magazine.
Because it isn’t just about house sitting. It’s about being able to live a life filled with fun, adventure, and amazing experiences.
Ian and Vanessa
(currently house sitting in the UK, and catching up with friends and family)