The first ever housesitting conference was held on 21-22 September 2019 in Swindon UK. The conference was founded and hosted by Vanessa Anderson (Housesitting Magazine) and Ian Usher ( A life Unlimited). HouseSitMatch were honoured to be sponsors of this inaugural event. We attended the full weekend programme. In addition, we were able to meet with housesitters and homeowners who travelled from all over the world to attend this event.
Here is a photo diary of the highlights from our own particular perspective. Thanks for reading.
The housesitting conference held on the weekend of 21-22 September 2019, was the brainchild of Vanessa Anderson and Ian Usher of the Housesitting Magazine. HouseSitMatch were proud to be sponsors of this initiative.
Day 1 – Housesitting Conference
HouseSitMatch pitched a stand in the conference hall. Therefore where we were able to meet housesitters face to face, to offer information helping newcomers learn more about housesitting and petsitting and how it works through the HouseSitMatch network.
With the help of the wonderful volunteer crew we were all set and ready in less than one hour.
HouseSitMatch Founder Lamia Walker and FD David Walker attended the two day event. There they met conference attendees from all over the world. Delegates had signed up to learn more about housesitting and petsitting .
There were talks about housesitting as a travel option for homebodies who just love affordable travel. And there were opportunities to learn about ways of funding a location independent lifestyle from full-time self-funded housesitters who have been doing this for years.
A Programme of Talks and Practical Demonstrations
There was a full programme, and Day 1 started with Ian and Vanessa opening the conference. They told their own remarkable housesitting journey, explaining how they met as a couple – which is a story in itself involving a chance meeting at a concert as friends of mutual friends, and escaping to a tropical island – yes really!
The conference they explained had come about after many discussions with friends who were also location independent international housesitters.
Ian and Vanessa then took on the mantel of bringing the event to life with the help of a remarkable volunteer crew of fellow housesitters who collaborated as a team because they could all see the potential benefit for themselves and so many other people who might be interested in housesitting as a travel option and a lifestyle. And so an international conference for housesitters was born.
Presentation highlights – Day 1 of the Housesitting Conference
Lamia had been asked to give a talk about ‘Building trust in housesitting’ and focused on why and how we do it at HouseSitMatch in order ‘To meet expectations’ on all sides, to meet the housesitters’ own expectations, to meet their own aspirations, to meet homeowner’s expectations and vice versa.
Lamia also talked about managing expectations in housesitting. In other words she explained that ensuring the trust protocols on the platform gives confidence to members within the system and observers outside. This therefore ensures that it remains a positive collaborative experience for all.
Jenny shared some of her own experiences in challenging herself, taking herself out of her comfort zone on assignments where she needed to manage animals as diverse as horses to alpacas, cats and dogs and even a papaya plantation while the owners were away!
Petsitting with a Pet
Michelle McDines talking about housesits with her dog EDDIE
Winner of our 2018 HouseSitMatch blog competition Michelle talked about her faithful housesitting companion, Eddie. Eddie her pet dog goes everywhere with her on housesitting assignments, and has done for years.
Michelle shared her pet travel strategies. Because she trained Eddie to overcome her own nervousness and to settle quickly in new environments she is able to housesit with her dog. And she talked about how she manages to secure housesits with her dog.
Essentially to maximise her chances of securing housesits, she registers with several housesitting platforms and sends many applications. In each of her housesit application letters she is as open as she can be about Eddie and how they have housesat successfully together for some time.
Travelling for Homebodies
Philiippe Lalonde talking about part-time housesitting
Philippe and his wife Sophie travel for about six months of the year as housesitters choosing long housesitting assignments so they can really live as locals for 3-6 months at a time. Therefore, to be able to afford these long excursions, they work half the year to earn the funds in order to travel. They describe themselves as homebodies with a cat who love to travel!
The Southwoods are a young couple who work as they travel around the world. They work virtually as digital nomads, filing completed work remotely and housesitting most of the time for their accommodation.
Day 2 – Housesitting Conference
Sunday’s programme took on a more practical approach with insights shared by experienced housesitters and homeowners.
A newly published book written by Geoff and Vicky Wells seasoned international housesitters was recommended for anyone wanting to try housesitting at any age.
Geoff and Vicky share their experience and top tips for how to earn money as a digital nomad while on the road.
Financial Matters for Housesitters
On matters financial there were a number of speakers who gave excellent insights on planning and managing personal and travel finances.
Tracy McDermott, one half of the @McNomads, discussed how she and her husband had evaluated their costs for living in their own home in California USA.
Based on these costs they then considered ways to cut those costs in retirement.
In addition, she shared the findings of her own analysis of their home expense review and housesitting travelling costs over the last few years. The comparison in their experience is astounding. Here are some of the figures she quoted:
- Living in their own home costs $191 USD per day
- Living on a repositioning cruise costs $63 USD per day
- Housesitting in Bordeaux region of France costs $70 USD per day
- As housesitters in Spain it costs $81 USD per day
- Housesitting in the UK costs vary enormously
- Yorkshire Dales – $60 per day
- London – $98 per day
- Touring and housesitting in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos – $108 per day
- Self-drive tour of Ireland in B&Bs – £231 per day
- Norway tour of Norwegian Fjords – $353 per day
Mapping Money while you Travel
Jenny Ives presented on ‘Mapping your money’. She is a digital nomad who works as a certified financial advisor. Therefore, working virtually with clients from wherever she is Jenny can maintain her career. In other words, she works while she and her husband travel in their motor home occasionally housesitting and petsitting.
However, emphasising the need to understand the value of assets held and sold in order to fund a travelling life Jenny gave a clear guide on how to map your money. Most importantly, she said, is the need to manage income and investment for your future.
The Epitome of Travelling Light
Jodie Burnham followed with a talk on how to generate and manage a Roaming Income. She told the story of how she and partner Nat have travelled the world for over six years living on a budget of $500 a month in one year, out of necessity. Furthermore, the budget allowed for six international flights for both of them during the year. All the time they were housesitting full time.
Jodie and Nat travel as a couple and are the epitome of travelling light, carrying one Osprey Women’s Ozone Duplex 60L double back pack (with detachable and checkable parts) each, and sharing a single wheeled trolley bag.
Now that’s inspiring!
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