For months now I have had the song, “Whoa! I’m going to Barbados” playing in my head.
It’s an oldie. This video is from UK show Top of the Pops, broadcast in 1975, one day before my 12th birthday.
Now we are actually here, but you have to sing the words “house sitting” very quickly to cram them into the tune: “Whoa! We’re housesitting in Barbados. Whoa! Under sunny Caribbean skies.”
How did we manage to land such a beautiful house sit on such a gorgeous island?
Well, as is the case with some of the best house sits we’ve had, this one came via word-of-mouth.
We connected with friends Nat and Jodie a couple of years ago, as we had both produced online video courses for new-start house sitters, and were interested in collaborating.
The business connection blossomed into friendship, and we eventually managed to meet up when we were all house sitting at the same time in Granada, Nicaragua.
Nat and Jodie had previously looked after this house in Barbados, along with shy cat Heidi. They had been asked to return to sit again while the owners made another long return trip to the UK. Unfortunately they were already booked for that time, but suggested they could refer other competent sitters to the owners. The “Inner Circle” is an exclusive referral system that is part of the Academy, and we spotted Nat and Jodie’s post in the group.
We were thrilled to be put forward, and even more thrilled to be given a three-month assignment here.
We have a beautiful swimming pool, a car to use, and this stunning secluded beach just a short 5 minute drive away, or if we’re feeling fit, an easy 35 minute walk!
The owners are often away on visits back to the UK. Just before us Jane and Duncan of ToTravelToo.com looked after Heidi for three months. We first met up with Jane and Duncan in Ajijic, Mexico, and then conspired to make our paths cross again in Cuba.
They have been kind enough to leave us a complete guidebook for the house here, including pool-keeping notes and observations, suggested hikes, and a list of great eating and drinking locations.
So as part of this month’s introduction to the magazine I just wanted to mention the value of creating meaningful friendships with your fellow house sitters.
Not just because you may get referred for a great sit, or some valuable house sit info, but because you get to spend time sharing stories and more, with people who “get it”, who live the same adventure, understand your lifestyle, and share many of your enthusiasms.
Facebook is a great tool for building these friendships online, and of course, our own group, House Sitting Magazine Group, is a good start point.
But online connection is never a substitute for spending real quality time in the company of your fellow travelers, sharing a meal or a few beers.
But how do you keep track of where everyone is, and where they plan to be in the future?
This problem was what prompted us to develop a tool to do just this.
Allow me to shamelessly plug our house sitters meetup website, mapahub:
Mapahub allows you to make new friendships, discover who is nearby, and get-together with your house sitting peers. It also allows you to see future plans for other house sitters too, so you can see where paths cross next month, or any time in the future.
You never know where such great personal connections might take you in the future.
In just the past couple of weeks we have managed to arrange meetups with:
- Tim and Louise (Canadian house sitters)
- Kathy and Vic (house sitters from Australia)
- Jacqueline and Glenn (TheAussieLambs.com)
- Doug and Johanne (JoyfulTravellers.com)
(3 pub meetings in the UK, and one at a carnival in Barbados)
And of course, it was one such personal connection that brought us to beautiful Barbados for three months!
After three months in Africa a bit of tropical Caribbean bliss is what we both need. It is also what our bank account needs.
With a super-fast internet connection here, we are both back to teaching English online. It is nice to see our Chinese students after a three month break.
Just three lessons each to teach this morning, then into the swimming pool, I think!
We hope you enjoy this month’s issue of House Sitting Magazine.
Ian and Vanessa
(currently house sitting in the Oistins area of Barbados)