House-Sitting Helps to Fund Our Global Travel

3 Mar, 2014

House-Sitting Helps to Fund Our Global Travel

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Global travel made possible by house-sitting – from Sydney Australia to London England

Chris and I met in Victoria, British Columbia on the west coast of Canada in February 2012. He was on a three-month vacation and had just returned to B.C. from a trip to California. We were both temporarily staying with friends in Victoria B.C., which is 4000+ km from my hometown near Toronto, Canada.

We met at a concert as the crowds were clearing after the show. Within a few weeks Chris decided to extend his trip by another three months and we bought a camper van and made plans for global travel, starting together through western USA for the month. We passed through nine states and visited five national parks during our trip. Some of the highlights from our tour are watching a solar eclipse in the Grand Canyon and driving through a herd of buffalo at Yellowstone National Park. One night, Chris even got on the stage to perform with the house band at a saloon in Grant’s Pass, Oregon. At the end of that road trip Chris returned to Australia; I followed him to Oz six months later. And that’s really when our global travel kicked off.

Jen and Chris embracing in Melbourne Australia, a central stop in their global travel
Jen and Chris house-sitting in Melbourne Australia

Since being in Australia together, we have been to Hobart, the Blue Mountains, Jenolan Caves, the Snowy Mountains, the Hunter Valley, to a show at the Opera House, sailed in Sydney Harbour, we drove the Great Ocean Road to visit the Twelve Apostles, and we have lived in Torquay, VIC, Geelong, VIC, and the Southern Highlands in NSW. House-sitting enabled us to travel affordably and support ourselves as we tour. We love global travel and this is how we have managed so far.

At the Apostles, Victoria, Australia.
At the Apostles, Victoria, Australia.

Challenging adventures are part of global travel

During our global travel and various adventure trips we have done a fair bit of hiking including Mt. Wellington near Hobart, and last Easter it was Chris’s birthday wish to hike Mt. Kosciusko. It was a 21km trip in rain, winds, and fog – but we made it!

Mount Kosciuzko, NSW, Australia
Mount Kosciuzko, NSW, Australia

Our first house-sit had a small but very efficient garden space with a large variety of fruit trees, herbs, and vegetables. I was in charge of controlling the snail population and could frequently be found in the backyard at night with a head torch, salad tongs, and a bucket of hot water. Our second house-sit had a large yard and garden and all the flower beds were just coming up in the Spring. I spent days pulling out weeds to uncover the new growth. We also had four chickens to take care for and enjoyed watching them peck around the yard, and their eggs were delicious!  Not all global travel is glamorous but we love the house-sitting it’s grounding and settling…

We both grew up with pets and Chris has always had boxer dogs. I have had a few types of dogs including a basset hound, a husky, and a beagle. I have also had pet cats and rabbits and birds, and even turtles for a while. Because I grew up on a farm I am also happy around cows around and horses, goats and sheep.

When I joined Chris in Australia we started house-sitting as a way to manage our global travel on a budget. It suits us very well because we both like new places and don’t have much desire at this point to be homeowners. An obvious benefit is not paying rent, but more than that, it allows us to immerse ourselves in places that we may not have visited otherwise. Staying in one area for a week or a month gives us much more appreciation for the area than we would have by just passing through for a day. We have completed two house-sits in Australia and I had previously housesat for seven months in Canada. Our first together was four months in the beachside community of Torquay, VIC and then we moved not too far to Geelong, VIC for three months. The owners of the second home were delayed returning from their European trip due to emergency surgery and our schedule was flexible so we stayed an extra week until they were able to return.

At the banks of the Columbia Riber, Washington, USA
At the banks of the Columbia River, Washington, USA.

We understand it can be a bit odd for a homeowner to invite strangers to live in their house, use their dishes, and care for their pets. And to be honest, it does take some getting used to. But we consider it a win-win and are always flattered that we have been trusted by the homeowner, and have references from all our house-sits. We consider it a wonderful opportunity and truly appreciate having a comfortable place to stay for a while as a break from our adventures and global travel. We strive to go above and beyond the homeowners’ expectations in terms of our cleanliness and care for the property.

Our professional lives work well with global travel

Chris is a musician and he writes and records just about anywhere. He also plays at venues wherever we live in Australia and is hoping to do the same in the UK. Fortunately, Chris has a UK work permit so he’ll be able to pick up some gigs and other jobs during our stay. I have a home-based business working online writing and editing. I also manage online sales for a business in my hometown – our professional lives are very manageable as we continue our global travel. It has always been my dream to work while traveling, and it is especially important to have that source of income in Australia and the UK. I have also worked at hotels and resorts for almost 10 years and have an educational background in Hospitality and Communications. We could be a great house-sitting team for you; and could even take over the duties at a small bed and breakfast while the owners take a break if that was required.

As for gardens, Chris has landscaping experience and he is close to a perfectionist when it comes to mowing the lawn. And I really love weeding! We both enjoy cooking and can improvise with whatever home produce we find growing in the backyard.

Our wish list of countries to visit is long, our global travel could extend for sometime, and the UK will be the starting point of many adventures to come. The next country on the list is Ireland. From there…who knows? We’d like to see lots of Europe, Russia, Greece, Turkey, South America, and Jen would like to introduce Chris to more of Canada.

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