The end of another year is fast approaching, which often brings on a period of review and reflection.
- How has your year been?
- Did you achieve everything you hoped?
- What are your plans for next year?
Once again, as Vanessa and I look back over the year we have enjoyed, and the lifestyle that house sitting has enabled us to create, we feel very fortunate.
A year filled with travel, adventure and fun
In January we bought a car in Australia and took a summer road trip through the southern part of Western Australia.
In March we enjoyed a bit of island-hopping in Thailand, and spent two weeks learning how to sail, gaining our Offshore Skipper qualifications. Then in August we chartered a yacht in the Caribbean, sailing together around the beautiful islands of St Vincent & The Grenadines…
… and these are just the travel adventures we have fitted in around some wonderful house sits in beautiful locations:
- an olive grove in the beautiful Australian bush
- a country farmhouse on the outskirts of a small English village
- a hilltop house in St Vincent with a stunning view of the Caribbean
- a cottage at the foot of the mountain ranges of North Wales
- another olive grove in the south of Spain
By the end of December we will have completed 27 house sits in 2018!
What a year it has been!
And of course, it’s all thanks to house sitting.
Home owner liberation!
However, every house sitting story has more than one side, and we’ve spent a lot of time this year looking at how our home owners’ lives are improved by the house sitting exchange.
We were in Perth in Western Australia at the beginning of the year, where we we fulfilling a promise we had made to friends two years earlier. Looking after their house and pets allowed them to take a long-dreamed-of campervan vacation for 4 weeks in New Zealand.
Back in England in April, we looked after a country property for home owners new to the concept of house sitting. They enjoyed their holiday in Madeira, guilt-free, thrilled that their dogs could stay at home instead of being cooped up at a boarding kennel.
Our two sets of home owners in the Caribbean enjoyed trips back home to see friends and family in the UK, Germany and the States, delighted that their properties we occupied and secure, and the pets cared for.
After our sailing adventure in the Caribbean we returned to the UK in August, ready to take on a new challenge. We had set ourselves the goal of achieving 52 house sits over a period of 52 weeks. We had several reasons in mind for tackling such a big project.
Vanessa and I enjoy a challenge. And this idea sounded like it would be fun. We both like to embrace change. Moving on from one place to the next makes life feel like an ever on-going adventure. We have both enjoyed this aspect of our current challenge very much.
But we also knew that by taking on a lot of short house sits we would be able to help a lot of other people enjoy their own adventures and holidays.
And this is where we have found our 52sits journey to be so much more fulfilling than we had ever imagined it would be.
As I write this we are just beginning our 18th sit of (hopefully!) 52. Several of these sits have been for people who have never used house sitters before. Each of them have said that their lives have been changed by the experience.
All have spoken of a new-found freedom.
They can now post an assignment on a house sitting platform, choose a suitable sitter from the applicants, and go away on holiday, confident that all is being properly cared for back at home.
No longer trapped
One couple told us that they felt “trapped”, having built their lives around their pets – 4 dogs, several chickens, lots of fish, and a horse! Before they found out about house sitting, a break of a couple of days was they best they could ever manage… and this involved imposing on friends and family to look after the menagerie of animals.
We were their first sitters, and they were a little nervous about the whole idea. But when they returned to a clean house and happy pets they were over the moon. Plans have already been made for future holidays, and we have been booked for a repeat sit. It is so rewarding to be part of creating that sense of liberation for them.
One of our sits was for a couple heading off abroad for a beach wedding in The Canary Islands. The two dogs they owned would have meant this dream would have been impossible to achieve if they hadn’t discovered house sitting.
All our home owners, whether new to the concept, or old hands at the game, have been so positive about their experience with the house sit assignments they have listed, and about the sitters they have met. Some of our home owners have been using sitters for several years, and can’t imagine how they would manage without the freedom that using house sitters gives them.
Of course, there is also a third side to the house sitting exchange, as the pets benefit immeasurably by getting to stay in their homes and maintaining familiar routines.
We’ve found, without exception, that pets very quickly accept us as new temporary carers, and that by maintaining the regular daily patterns they are comfortable with, the stress of the home owner being away is kept to a bare minimum.
As we often say, house sitting is a win-win-win – house sitters, home owners and pets all benefit immensely for this exchange.
And over the course of a year, we’ll get to see this happy exchange of value 52 times.
Our challenge began this year on 1st September, so we’ll finish on 31st August 2019, one year later.
We hope you have a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year, and we wish you the best for whatever goals you set for yourselves in the months ahead.
Ian and Vanessa
(currently house sitting in Surrey, England)