June and Mark Spindloe a semi-retired couple tell us about ‘Housesitting in our sixties’. They describe housesitting as a natural step after years of parenting, working and traveling to visit with family across the world. Becoming location independent and exchanging skills in pet and home care was an easy step to take in order to travel on a budget. Here is the story of how they came to adopt this new lifestyle in their sixties.
When we emigrated to Nova Scotia in 1996 we were in our 40s – we never imagined we would be Housesitting in our sixties! We were looking for a new lifestyle without the stress of the long hours we were working. After a research trip to Halifax we knew we had found the place where we could move and be happy. It was only a short flight from UK and was near the ocean which we loved.
How we came to Housesitting in our sixties
Empty nesters considering next steps
In 2002 we decided to work for ourselves using extra space at home to open a Bed and Breakfast. The summers were glorious in the Maritimes and tourists took advantage of cheap flights from Europe and other parts of Canada in the summer to come and visit our neck of the woods.
It was a turning point for us, we met guests from all over the world, from diverse backgrounds and cultures. Our lives were filled with new people and purpose, this went some way to replacing our sense of missing family.
New business caring for new arrivals to Canada
Our home soon became a hub for many newcomers as I had recognised a need for settlement service for new immigrants. I launched Relocation Nova Scotia and also trained as a life coach.
Mark became a Realtor and during the winter we offered long term accommodation to new arrivals until we found them a more permanent solution. Many of them were families with children and some the same age as our now grown up children, so we could relate.
Working with our skills and experience
Winter takes its toll
Traveling is more difficult on a pension
It was a real dilemma. I struggled to figure out a way to leave Nova Scotia and be location independent. In 2014 we decided to sell the house and make a move. I “self-coached“ my way through a long winter, making a vision board, setting a goal and building an action plan.
I knew we would find a solution. Though family and friends were shocked that we were somehow reversing our move to Canada. They just assumed we would always live there.
Preparing to start Housesitting in our sixties
Where would we move to ?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if you had asked me that a year ago I would have ripped your head off!
What to do with our pets?
Researching, reflecting and taking the next steps
We continued to visit UK whenever we could, each time we did more research online and explored some of the different ideas for our future. Mark even looked at buying a narrow boat (his dream lifestyle). As an alternative we checked out mobile home sites but the price of these were now out of our price range given the Canadian dollar exchange rate and marina and site fees.
We thought about living in a flat near our son and daughter. However, within the year we started looking they both moved homes. Had we moved it wouldn’t have brought us any closer to family!
Soaring cost of living
The Vancouver housing and rental prices had reached an all time high and none of our now adult children had space to accommodate us when we finally sold the house. So we had hit a wall.
We made a strict budget and decided to stick to it. We bought nothing except the essentials for two years, selling everything we didn’t need or use. Then we signed up as Airbnb hosts. We also took part time jobs to pay for future airfares and moving costs.
Tripping across the idea of housesitting in our sixties online
Still brainstorming ideas I thought maybe we could become housekeepers or caretakers. One dreary cold day in January 2017 during another snow storm I sat down to research the internet and a housesitting article came up. The seeds for housesitting in our sixties had been sown.
Housesitting in our sixties was liberating!
We had no desire to travel to exotic destinations or dreams of being tourists for the rest of our lives. Housesitting in our sixties was the way we had finally found to travel. We would use all our years of home and pet ownership and our flexible mindset to help us adapt to the constant change of being on the move.
The UK housesitting scene is more active than Canada, however, so we were concerned it might take us a while to get started.
Building a housesitting profile
As bed and breakfast hosts we earned over 200 reviews on Airbnb and were proclaimed ‘super hosts’. This was the one advantage of the extended time it took to sell our home. Moreover, it was an added bonus for our profile, and we were able to share this with potential homeowners when we started applying for housesits. The experience of working with a large variety of people helped us prepare for housesitting in our sixties.
We had also worked those extra jobs as cleaners and in property management so got some great reviews and character references to include on our profile. Everything was finally falling into place to help us launch into our new lives Housesitting in our sixties.
The one action of selling our house ahd had a snowball effect. Our daughter in the UK surprised Mark with a trip across Canada by train for his birthday. She had booked tickets for March not knowing that we would be homeless by then.
Petsitting for family helped us get started
Our other daughter who lived in Squamish, a small mountain town located between Vancouver and Whistler, contacted us to ask for our help.
She had booked a trip to Europe to meet our son and family and she needed dogsitters.
Her elderly dog Penny was too ill to go into kennels and needed regular medication. Well, we could actually housesit for her and so came the unexpected turn that helped us start housesitting in our sixties. We didn’t hesitate as we hadn’t seen her in over a year.
So Mumsie got on a plane to Vancouver and Mark boarded a train with Clare our daughter. A week later we were all reunited in Squamish, British Columbia.
New homesitting lifestyle delivers new horizons
Housesitting enables frugal living
First anniversary housesitting
We recently celebrated our first year as nomads housesitting in our sixties, by flying back to Nova Scotia to close our storage unit. It took almost two weeks to drive back across the country and was the trip of a life time. A voyage of discovery crossing five time zones. Now we have been in every Province in Canada!
I’d like to leave you with this quote from one of my favourite books of all time – The practical dreamers handbook:
“ Creating a life suited to your own unique set of desires and needs is an experiment.
You get to discover what works, if you keep exploring the possibilities you can find the most amazing success”.
Thinking of housesitting in your sixties?
Here are our Top 5 Tips:
- Set a budget – think £10-25 per day depending on what you want to do. This is very possible with house sitting (travel inc.)
- Prioritise where you want to visit in your own country or abroad. Therefore, make a list of your top 50 things to do while travelling
- Do some research on how you can travel and your preferred modes of transport
- Consider Repositioning cruises – when an cruise company wants to explore new routes, they offer deep discounts
- Between housesits consider affordable options like University Accommodation, usually well located with amenities on-site
- Sign up for a house sitting platform like HouseSitMatch.com – they are not expensive and give you options for free accommodation in a comfortable home in exchange for house-sitting and pet-sitting.
So why not go house sitting over 60. Take time out and give it a go!
To start your house sitting adventure or to find your house and pet sitting solution register with HouseSitMatch: