We have included house-sitting as part of our round-the-world family adventure. We have used a couple of online sites — MindMyHouse.com and HouseCarers.com — that match homeowners who will be away with people willing to care for their home and pets.Initially we were motivated to house-sit because it saves on the cost of housing. Generally, in exchange for caring for the owner’s home and pets, you are provided a nice play to stay (thus saving the cost you would have paid for a hostel, hotel, or short-term rental.) We quickly learned other, far more important benefits of house-sitting. Rather than staying in a hotel separated from local people and habits, living in someone’s home provides you a close experience of regular, day-to-day life in the community. We have been invited to use fully stocked homes. We have learned about local markets and shops. We have received information from trusted local sources about places to visit and experiences to include in our travels. We have met caring neighbors who invited us to their home for dinner. And, we have come to love dear animals.
On one house-sitting assignment, we stayed for a month just north of Cape Town, South Africa, and our duties included twice-daily walks on the beach with loving Labrador Retrievers. The homeowner shared wonderful hospitality with us. We still are in touch with the homeowner several months after our assignment to check on our furry friends.
Currently, we are house-sitting in New Zealand where we are caring for a loving and energetic two-year-old Australian Terrier. The home is set in a wonderful location away from town and in the midst of fields filled with cows and sheep. The homeowners have provided special dinners before leaving on their holiday. They are bee keepers, and we have tasted delicious honey from their hives.
Our experience is incalculably richer because of our house-sitting experiences. Sure, we have saved some money, but house sitting is beneficial for reasons far beyond finances. We have made new friends around the world — both human and animal. We have encountered life in different locations in ways we never could have on our own. We have tried new foods and shared stories with dear people around the world.
I encourage you to consider house-sitting, and if you have any questions, please be in touch with me.