House Sitting: A Healthy Mix of Comfort and Discovery

Thank you, Donna, for inviting me back to the stage of Retirement Reflections. I enjoyed my performance last time, and today is no different.

Far from retired

My husband, Mark, and I are not settled and not retired. And, we never will be. At least not in the conventional way of owning a house debt-free, concluding a 40+ year career, having a home full of stuff, and receiving a reliable social security check. Why? Well, for starters, we are ‘only’ in our forties. Also, we don’t have a house, haven’t held a ‘normal’ job for 15 years (me) and 13 years (Mark), have no rooms, closets, attics or basements to store anything, and, even though we file taxes in the US (Mark and I) and Belgium (me), we barely make more than minimum wage. We do put some money aside for the future, but expect we will have to keep generating an income, creatively, for many years to come.

house sitting
Sailing adventure with Darwin and Kali in Annapolis, MD

Part of the retirement environment

All that being said, we have found ourselves surrounded by 60-plussers everywhere we roamed, no matter the lifestyle we adopted this past decade. Retirees are becoming more adventurous. They enjoy being mobile and switching up their surroundings. Some full-time, once the house is sold or rented out, others in stints. We met many matured RVers when we lived in a truck camper and traveled throughout North and Central America, made plenty of retired friends during our eight years of cruising aboard Irie, our 35’catamaran, in the Caribbean and South Pacific, and are in touch with retirees who house and pet sit just like us. The only difference between them and us is that we differentiate between workdays and weekends.

house sitting
Liesbet and Mark San Blas Islands, Panama

Ever considered house sitting?

While my first two examples might be a tad too adventurous and risky of a lifestyle for many, the idea of house and pet sitting does have a lot of sensible merits. Mark and I started doing this full-time, because being on the go constantly, while having to work full-time, became unbearable. After eight years of struggling with internet and electricity, and trying to keep on top of our challenging life, we were utterly exhausted. We wanted some comfort and conveniences, without settling down. Most house sitters, however, do this part-time, as a means to explore an area in-depth, feel like a local, and save on hotel costs.

House Sitting
Liesbet and Herk at Lake Tahoe, CA

What is house and pet sitting?

The concept has been around for a long time, and you might have even done it… watch your friend or family member’s home and pets while they were away for a weekend. A few years ago, websites popped up to accommodate a similar exchange between ‘strangers’: home owners and house sitters. Both parties sign up to become a member for, say House Sitters America or Mind My House (free for home owners; house sitters pay a small yearly fee) and either post their profile (sitters) or listing (owners) with photos on the site. Via searches and email notifications both sides get connected when there is mutual interest, and… voilà! In our arrangements, no money is exchanged: we don’t pay rent or utilities, and we don’t charge for our care taking services. Home owners ‘hire’ house sitters for days, weeks, or months, depending on their situation; some travel abroad for a long-term work assignment, others leave on a two-week vacation or a weekend at the beach. Pets include dogs, cats, reptiles, goats, horses, birds…

House Sit
Mark and Liesbet with Jaxx in Costa Mesa, CA

Advantages of house and pet sitting

The list of pros about this concept is extensive in my opinion. For homeowners (if they don’t mind ‘strangers’ living in their house, a feeling that is eased after email communications and a video call), the fact that their house is inhabited and taken care of during their absence, and their pets are loved, walked, cuddled, fed and watered, all in a familiar environment and manner, is priceless. They leave without any worries.

As a house sitter, you live rent-free and you have the opportunity to move locations as much and for as long as you want. You explore different areas, nationally or internationally, you are part of a community, discover cultures and foods, and enjoy what your new environment has to offer (fancy kitchen appliances or hot tub anyone?). If you are an animal-lover, this arrangement can’t be beat, especially if you are not in a position to have your own. Walking dogs will keep you fit, snuggling with them makes you happy, and you learn the nuances of different breeds and demeanors. Going to the local grocery store is always an adventure, and GPS is your best friend when navigating new territory. Yes, you have to be responsible and committed to making all this work, but, once your term is up, you can move on, be free, and leave the house and pets with their rightful owners. You are untethered… like handing the grandkids back after a day of babysitting. What are you waiting for?

house sitting
Mark, Liesbet and Lola in Yosemite NP, CA

Have you ever considered house and pet sitting? If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments.

From Retirement Reflections: Thank you, Liesbet, for sharing this up-close and personal view of house sitting. I like that there is an alternative to home exchange, where you don’t have to trade your own home.I’d love to hear thoughts on this from others. Up next week we welcome back Joe from Easin’ Along. Joe will share with us some of his adventures as a snowbird. There seems to never be a dull moment in the lives of our Guest Hosts!

93 Replies to “House Sitting: A Healthy Mix of Comfort and Discovery”

    1. Hi Kate! I take it that you have pets yourself? Do you take them with you when you travel or do you have another solution? My husband and I used to take our dogs everywhere, but that was only possible because we traveled with our home (RV or sailboat). Or, one of us would stay behind when the other flew back to his/her home country for a visit. Back then, the concept of long-term pet sitting was unknown to us, so the dogs spent a few days at a kennel once, before we traveled full-time. Never again! 🙂

      Like

    2. Hi, Kate – Although I currently do not have any pets at home (for the first time in 18 years), I agree that pets have a magical way of turning a house into a home. For now, my husband and I get our ‘pet fix’ by walking dogs at our local animal shelter….and by pointing out any animal (and their antics) that we see on the street!

      Like

  1. Thank you, Liesbet, for sharing your insights. I’d definitely consider house sitting. I’d probably take some pet care training before I take on pet sitting, just because I care too much for the animals and want them to be in well-trained hands. My husband is more logical and less adventurous (aka nuts!) than me so he’s not likely to go into house sitting with me as a vacation or discovery. I think it’s common to have couples doing house and pet sitting. I don’t know if owners would take on solo house sitters. I may have to set a new trend 🙂 Thank you, Donna, for bringing Liesbet back, and continuing an interesting series.

    Like

    1. Hi Natalie! As much as you love traveling and immersing yourself into new cultures, I think you would really like house and pet sitting. It can be seen as slow pace travel and living like a local for a while. Many people house sit by themselves and sometimes, home owners even specify they prefer a single person (or they explicitly ask for a woman/man, depending on whether their dogs have issues with one of the sexes) or a couple. Sometimes, families are welcome or other pets. It is a mixed bag out there.

      As for your comment about doing some pet care training before pet sitting, what do you mean by that? Since we have owned pets, cared for other people’s pets for over two years full-time, are very responsible and caring towards animals, and have common sense, the internet and the owners’ instructions about their sweethearts, I’m not sure what else there is to do/prepare.

      Like

      1. Hi Liesbet – Glad to hear it’s a mixed bag out there, and I don’t need to set any new trend! Re: Pet training – It ‘s for me to feel more prepared and more confident as a pet sitter.

        Like

  2. I don’t know if I’d do housesitting, Liesbet – I love the familiarity of my own home and possessions – but I can definitely see the appeal for those who are less homebody than me.
    I certainly wouldn’t ever have a problem, and in fact would enjoy , having someone come and stay in my house and take care of my dogs. That’s thanks to your posts. Your professionalism and your positivity come through in every post you write about house and pet sitting. You and Mark are ideal poster children for this concept.

    Like

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Karen. We do love the lifestyle and feel like we have found the perfect balance right now. And, we truly love (and connect to) dogs. 🙂

      It looks like you live in a very nice area and in a home you have personalized and created into something you truly love. And, you have two dogs of yourself. I can see why you enjoy being home and don’t need to exchange that for a different place/experience. House sitting would be more a way to travel for people like you, I assume. Although, it is nice to stay in “neutral” accommodations without tasks and responsibilities when on vacation. 🙂

      Like

    2. Hi, Karen – I agree that reading (and hearing in person) about Liesbet and Mark’s incredible care and dedication to their house sits, I would now be much more confident using a house-sitting website to have someone take care of our home and pets. Both Liesbet and Mark have a permanent offer to stay at our home anytime!!

      Like

    1. The uncertainty of finding homes to live in for a while, and in an area we like, can be a bit tricky, Janet. You have to be pretty flexible to maintain this lifestyle full-time. And, not crave your own home and pets. 🙂

      Like

    2. Hi, Janet – I agree that the lifestyle that Liesbet describes does hold definite appeal. As my husband and I have done numerous (very positive) home-exchanges before that would give me comfort to give house-sitting a try (although I would want to keep my home-base). 🙂

      Like

  3. It’s so great to see you here, Liesbet! I’ll admit, I have to live vicariously through you and Mark. As boring as it sounds, I love my routine and like Karen, I enjoy the familiarity of my home. With my health issue, I could never give up my job that provides excellent health coverage. But you guys keep doing what you’re doing because I love reading about it and seeing the beautiful photos!

    Like

    1. Sorry to hear about your health issue and learning that is (mainly) why you have to keep your job, Jill. The only other “solution” I know of in a case like that is to move to a state with free or affordable health care and/or make minimum wage. In some states, like Massachusetts, your health care fee depends on the income bracket you fall under.

      Many people love their routines, homes and familiar surroundings. I have moments of cravings for that as well. I think that is one of the reasons why we prefer long-term house sits, so we can get settled and follow a routine for weeks/months at a time, before switching it up again.

      Just for you, we will keep at it for a while longer. 🙂

      Like

    2. Hi, Jill – Living a large range of diverse adventures vicariously is one of the things that I adore about reading the blogs that I follow. Blogs have definitely taken me to unknown places that I would never had the chance to experience on my own.

      Like

    1. Thanks, Anabel. Not too many people would be able to “leave it all behind” and switch gears, but an increasing amount of retirees I know are willing to give it a try for a couple of weeks. It would all depend on what kind of a vacation you are looking for. If I (ever) go on a holiday, I would not want to house sit, because of the restrictions in location and the responsibilities.

      Like

    2. Hi, Anabel – Since I have done numerous home-exchanges, I could probably dip my toe in the water of house-sitting, but never take the full plunge that Liesbet and Mark have done. I agree that this makes their adventures even more enjoyable to read!

      Like

  4. My DH and I signed up on Trusted Housesitters, but we never did any house sitting and let the account lapse. We had to pay a fee for that one. I did put our name in for a couple house sits, but never heard anything and don’t really know if I was doing it correctly or if there were just a lot of other people “applying” for that particular job. Is there one service you particularly like?

    Like

    1. Hi Shella! My husband and I were members of THS for two years. It is the most expensive house sitting service out there (also for home owners). They have a lot of listings worldwide, but the competition is fierce. We discontinued our membership, because we didn’t like certain things about the site and the company.

      Our favorite platforms are Mind My House ($20 a year) and House Sitters America ($30 a year) for house sits in the USA, where we are currently located. There is a Facebook page called House Sitting World, which is free to join and very useful. This link on my blog will give you some pointers in regards to house sitting: http://www.roamingabout.com/how-to-find-the-right-house-sit/

      As far as applying for sits, it is important that you have an attractive profile, with background info, experiences and photos, which home owners could check out, and a nice and personable introduction letter upon first contact. It also helps to have positive reviews from other house sits, or, when starting out, from friends or family members. This is an example of a profile page (ours :-)): http://www.roamingabout.com/house-sitter-profile/

      We have this information on all the sites we are members of, the aforementioned two and House Carers ($50 a year).

      Like

    2. Hi, Sheila – Thanks for dropping by and commenting. I hope that the information that Liesbet has provided (both here and on her site) is helpful to you and that you get a chance to give house-sitting a try. You may also try home-exchanging (works with all kinds of accommodations that you either rent or own). You can check that out at: http://www.homeexchange.com.

      Like

  5. Hi Liesbet (and Donna), I really enjoyed this post and learning more about this wonderful way of living. I take my hat off to you for being so adventurous and living your life this way. I could see myself and the Mathematician doing this but I’m not a huge fan of pets so the house sitting part appeals more. We often have people house sit for us when we go on longer trips so we know how well it can work out. I’m very keen to give this a try! Thanks for sharing your story, it’s been great to read!

    Like

    1. Hi Debbie! I hope you and your mathematician get to try house sitting one day. My engineer seems to like it as much as me. 🙂 And, here is the good part: not all house sitting assignments come with pets. As a matter of fact, Mark and I did a one month sit in Sante Fe without animals last summer, and… we are going there for a repeat sit (two months) the end of this month. While we enjoy having dogs around, this sit is attractive as well, since we have more freedom and less responsibilities. If you would like to find out more, let me know!

      Like

  6. I’ve been fascinated with this concept since I first heard you describe it–from both sides, having the freedom to travel from your home base with someone watching over things for you and having the ability to travel the world without paying rent, albeit having responsibility for keeping things in running order for someone else. I’m not sure I’m adventurous enough to jump in, but the fantasy of it is exciting. I definitely want to travel more once I’m retired, and this is something to consider.

    Like

    1. One of the nicest things about house sitting is how diverse it can be, Christie. I have heard of people who start doing it close by at first, for a long weekend or a week or so, to test the waters and collect a few good reviews, before venturing further and longer afield. It is an intriguing concept and, even now, after two+ years, I still enjoy reading different listings and imagining living in the home advertised, with the pets pictured. It is exciting to first learn about an attractive sit, and then show up and actually move in for a bit. Many house sitting sites let you browse listings for free, if you’d like to get an idea about what’s available.

      I think the “adventurous” part is more prominent when having this lifestyle full-time, instead of a few weeks here and there. Then, it is more like an AirBnB, but usually with a cat or dog. Before committing to sits, you have a really good idea of what to expect, after email communications and/or a Skype interview.

      As for taking house sitters in while being away, I do think that this is a fantastic solution for the pets and the security of one’s home. Especially if you can’t find neighbors, friends or family to help out.

      Like

    1. Hi, Liesbet – Thank you for Guest Hosting again and for this very inspiring post. It has already initiated a lively discussion among readers. Thank you also for previewing this post on your site, I greatly appreciate that.
      One more day until we fly home!

      Like

  7. Hello Liesbet
    I enjoyed reading about your lifestyle very much. I also feel very attracted to the whole idea of housesitting but I would need to be careful about the pet side of it. I am good with cats, birds, and fish! Thanks for giving some tips on how to go about doing this.

    Like

    1. Hi Fran! House sit ads list the pets that need to be cared for. My husband is allergic to cats, so we never apply for sits with (indoor) cats and this is also mentioned in our profile. Not that everyone reads this in detail, as we sometimes get invitations to sit for homes with cats. 🙂

      It is interesting that you are experienced with birds, which will give you a leg up for house sits with feathered animals! Mark and I pet sat for two dogs and two African grey parrots once… Let me say, it was an experience… Funny for the first month, but the subsequent two months were a bit tougher. 🙂

      Go for it!!!

      Like

  8. Like many others, I find the concept appealing in theory – I wonder if I could actually pull the trigger to do it, though? I learned a lot about my need for a home base in several years of short moves; I never thought I’d feel that way, so it was a good test to see if I could be fully untethered.

    Like

  9. Hi Lexie! I think the big difference between us and most others is that Mark and I rely on the homes we sit at as places to live. Without that, when having your own house (and pets), our reasons to house sit would change. It would still be attractive to learn about a place in depth and feel like a local, while saving on accommodation costs. Now, however, being able to live rent-free in new and different (sometimes exciting) locations with sweet pups to care for, is a full-time joy.

    It’s definitely something one could do while maintaining a home base, though.

    Like

  10. Hi Liesbet! As you well know, you and Mark have completely inspired Thom and me to join a house/pet sitting company online AND starting next week we will be welcoming our first sitters here in our home for 12 days. We would never have even tried it if we hadn’t met you and had a personal connection with how great you were and how any person would be fortunate to have you both stay and watch your pet and/or house. Unfortunately, you were not available for our trip so instead, a retired couple from Oregon will be coming to stay. I hope to have nothing but good news to report on our return and YES I will write a blog post encouraging others to take advantage of this wonderful service. And who knows? Maybe someday your dates will work for a sit at our house? Until then, happy travels! ~Kathy

    Like

    1. Hi, Kathy – I am excited to hear that you will be trying a sitter for your home and Chloe based on Liesbet’s recommendation. I look forward to reading about your experience with this.
      Don’t you just love how we encourage, motivate and inspire each other in this little corner of the blogosphere?

      Like

    2. Thank you for the compliments, Kathy. I’m excited about you guys trying it out soon and am curious about how it went. Kloe will be happy to remain in her comfortable home and go on her familiar walks! We both hope it will work out for us to take care of your home and dear pup in the future. But, as you know… we have a very hard time planning ahead. 🙂

      Like

  11. What an interesting life! I’m nowhere near as adventurous, but I have a friend who sold her home and house/pet sits as her new way of life. She works full-time and gets to come ‘home’ to some amazing houses with stunning views and luxuries she wouldn’t be able to afford on her own. She loves animals so those pets get absolutely spoilt rotten!

    Like

    1. Hi Leanne! Sounds like your friend lives a life relatively similar to ours. Including animals spoiled rotten with love. Except, we work from home, so don’t get to “come home”. 🙂 How does she manage to find house sits consecutively and while working away from home? Does she remain in the same area then?

      Like

  12. Great post by Liesbet featuring house sitting. We are extensive home exchangers and have stayed in about 55 houses all over the world over the years. Sometimes our stays have included cats and once there were dogs as well. We have thought about adding house sitting as it certainly is a great way to live in different places and have some interesting experiences. I thought house sitters got paid for their “sitting” so it was interesting to read that it is more of a trade, but that was definitely surprising.

    I think we may have even tried it once, but I think it was very hard to get any “bites” at first, as people are more interested in finding those on the sites with extensive experience. But it certainly may be worth looking into again, and what is definitely a benefit is that it extends for a longer period of time, allowing you to stay in one place and really enjoy it and the animals that come along with it.

    Insightful post Liesbet.

    Peta

    Like

    1. Hi, Peta – Thank you so much for stopping by. I agree that Liesbet’s post is very insightful and inspiring. Like you, I’ve done many home exchanges (although not quite 55…more like 17 🙂 ). As Liesbet described it, House Sitting does appear to offer many advantages….especially for long term stays. If you do try it, I would love to hear the differences that you find between House Sitting and Home Exchanging.

      Like

    2. Wow, Peta, I had no idea about how many home exchanges you guys have been doing. That’s impressive! Based on your experience with animals and your preference for in-depth visits to places and immersion in cultures, I think you and Ben would be perfect candidates to become house sitters. I imagine your profile will be extremely appealing to home owners. As far as “experience” goes, you can always start out with (character) reviews from colleagues, employers, friends or family.

      Mark and I don’t charge for our services, because we find this house sitting gig a fair exchange for all parties involved. And, we don’t pay for utilities for the same reason. Not having money involved keeps everything friendly and trust-based, not like an employer-employee relationship. Some house sitters do charge, though, especially if they have a home of themselves that they have to pay rent/mortgage/utilities for while away. The people who charge usually pet sit in their own town or area. Most international and long-term house sitters we know don’t charge anything. This is all clearly stated on the house sitting websites and profiles.

      Like

  13. Leisbet, thanks for sharing the sites. I have bookmarked them! One of my bucket list items is a long cross-country road trip but it’s been an issue with what to do with our dog ( and house). I’ve thought about taking our pet, but that limits our on-the-road adventures a bit. Last time I looked at a house sitter (years ago), they expected to be paid for each day and that added to the trip costs too much. And you can only rely on friends so long for pet sitting. This new exchange feels like a real option! Thanks for sharing and showing how professional you are in the relationship.

    Like

    1. Hi Pat! House sitting (services and websites) have opened up a whole new world and option in regards to leaving your sweet pets and valuable home behind. Such a win-win for the animals, the sitters and the owners. As I mentioned above to Peta, some house sitters still charge, but most of us, long-termers, don’t.

      More and more (retired) travelers opt for house sits instead of hotels, because they love animals, comfort, new living opportunities, and they have time. It should be easy to figure out who does and who doesn’t charge based on profiles and/or websites online.

      I truly hope you get to do your cross-country road trip, knowing that your dog and house are safe. That is such a relief, based on what many home owners have told us.

      Like

  14. What a fascinating lifestyle, Liesbet. I know I couldn’t give up my home base, but I think I could house sit for a few weeks to experience a new place while avoiding campers or hotels. What do you do for transportation? Does your house include a car? And pet sitting would be fun since we don’t have any right now. The analogy of grandchildren is perfect. Have some quality time, and then give them back to their parents.

    Like

    1. Hi Molly! I think house sitting is a great way to break up the traveling, or create a home base for a little while, exploring new territories. One of the nicest things about house sitting for us, right now, is the presence of pets, since we can’t have our own dogs yet (again).

      As far as transportation goes… Mark and I had our own car (a Prius) from the beginning, which held all our belongings. Because we wanted a back-up roof above our heads in between house sits and because we are planning a big adventure abroad in the near future, we “swapped” our car for a small camper van about six months ago. So, yes, we have our own transportation, because we have opted to house sit in North America for now.

      That being said, some home owners let us use their cars (they want them started every week or so anyway and said “you might as well take them to the grocery store”), like our current house sit of six weeks, where they have two cars. This means we barely use our own vehicle while here. On our next two-month sit in Santa Fe, NM, we are allowed to take the car for short trips as well.

      We have friends who house sit internationally and they usually negotiate the use of a car while house sitting. Some people decide to rent a car. The use of a car might be stated in the house sit listing, or it is a valid question to ask the owners ahead of time.

      Like

    2. Hi, Molly – Thanks for commenting. I’m with you — I wouldn’t want to permanently give up my home-base full time….but living more like a local, and less like a tourist, while experiencing new places is ideal to me!

      Like

  15. Not having pets, I do like the idea of being able to temporarily borrow some. House sitting with pets seems like a great solution. I love that you guys started living a nomadic and adventurous life relatively young. We waited for far too long.

    Like

    1. Hey Ellen… that’s funny! I don’t think you guys are much older than us. Right now, anyway. 🙂 Traveling full-time is exhausting, so house and pet sitting for a while is perfect!

      Whenever you need a little break from boat life, you could go ashore and cat sit for a while near Indiantown! I have even seen attractive sits in the Bahamas. We are just too frugal to spend money on plane tickets for comfortable sits, while we can still find attractive homes and places in the US.

      Like

    2. Hi, Ellen – Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. My husband and I are also currently pet-less. We presently get our pet-fix by walking dogs at our local animal shelter, and by hanging out with friends who have dogs and cats. Having a pet to take care of during a trip away could also be a good solution for us!

      Like

  16. Your house sitting stints have taken you to some very spectacular places, Liesbet. As a fellow nomad I too have known the fun of “settling” in a place for a while to explore the idea of “home” from different perspectives.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for dropping by and adding to the comments. I agree that Liesbet and Mark have traveled to some very amazing places — I am always very inspired (and a wee bit jealous) of her amazing photos. I am off to check out your site now!

      Like

  17. And you, of all people, know about spectacular places! 🙂 How did you manage to stay in the same place for a little while if it wasn’t through house sitting? I’m curious now! Did you rent? Move a lot? What were your highlights? California is hard to beat, right? 🙂

    Like

  18. There are so many choices beyond hotels and motels these days – and isn’t it great? In fact I’m late commenting because my husband and I just got back from the desert where we stayed in an Airbnb home… not quite housesitting, but it also became more accessible because of the internet. We will be house/pet sitting in June (care to come back to California?) and hope to do more of that and, maybe, home exchanges. It’s the perfect way to arrange low-cost lodging while enjoying slow travel. I don’t think we would ever do it full time, but you and Mark are an inspiration.

    Like

    1. While I always have a hard time with decisions, I do love having choices, Janis. It’s great and an unbelievable luxury compared to the “old days”. I hope you had a nice time in the desert!! Meeting up with family and friends?

      I’m excited to read that you and Paul are giving house sitting a try. You have me curious now as to where and for how long. I’ll send you an email in regards to your invitation. I think you’ll enjoy the house sitting and home exchange experiences. No need to go full-time! You have a wonderful home in the nicest city of the country. 🙂

      Like

  19. Hi, Janis – I am so glad to hear that you recently were off on a ‘desert adventure’. I am also glad to hear that you will be giving house-pet sitting a try this June. I look forward to reading both of those posts! 🙂

    Like

    1. While there are always good things and bad things about any lifestyle – everything is a compromise – this one has more pros than anything else we have ever done. For now… 🙂

      Like

  20. Liesbet I think it is a fabulous arrangment for both parties. We are now the retired couple with a house and often havea house sitter when we are away for long periods. No pets to be cared for so typically a pretty easy stay. To this point we have only had friends or aquaintances but perhaps in future we will check out one of the websites you suggest. I’m inspired by you and Mark and how you embrace the adventure

    Like

    1. Hi Sue! I had no idea that you have house sitters when you are away. It makes sense, though, to have people you know stay at your place, as long as that is possible. You live in such an inspiring area and you have family around! I’m glad to read that you would consider “unknown” house sitters as a second option in the future.

      Like

    1. Hi Rhonda! Nice to meet you and you are welcome. 🙂 The longer we house sit, the more convinced we are that this arrangement is such a win-win for everyone involved: the home owners, the house sitters and, especially, the pets. It might be a bit “scary” at first to have strangers in your home, but once you get to know some reliable, caring and responsible sitters via email communications, reading their profiles, and having a video call, you will feel more at ease. If you have any questions, please ask!

      Like

  21. Retirement has so many meanings and nuances in the 21st century! You know my story: I retired from 30+ years of public service then went into teaching at a state university part-time. It’s the perfect mix of work and leisure, but I don’t even define teaching as work, since I share my experiences as a practitioner with the park and rec majors. With Hans still working F/T and me part-time, our down time for travel revolves around our “free” months. The last three years we found our down time to be the month of January, which means a tropical or warm/sunny vacation spot. I think housesitting is a great idea for a future challenge. Now we just need someone to sit for our house and two dogs. You really described this so well and over time, I think more people will be interested in this lifestyle!

    Like

    1. Hi Terri! Your story is an inspiring one. It is amazing that you found a good balance between work and leisure, especially since you love the work enough to not call it work. 🙂 I think anyone would like to make money doing the things they enjoy, so good for you! And, you even managed to coincide your time off with that of Hans, giving you a big chunk of time every year to “goof off”, go on vacation, take it easy, do house projects, enjoy down time.

      Based on your stories and experiences in regards to Brody, securing a house and pet sitter for next January might be the perfect solution. I’m sure you will find a suitable person/couple to live in your home for a few weeks or a month or so, since the city of Sacramento, the river and recreation parks are so close by.

      Like

  22. Hi, Terri – Great to hear from you. I absolutely love that you find teaching not to be ‘work’. That is a wonderful attitude. I also agree with you that Liesbet described ‘house and pet sitting’ very well. Knowing Liesbet and Mark’s story has made it much more comfortable for me to have a house/pet-sitter in our home. Thanks for keeping in touch!

    Like

  23. Fascinating lifestyle that clearly works for you. I couldn’t be a house sitter– I like being home in my own home too much to enjoy what you’re doing. But I adore the idea that you’re making retirement work for you, in your own way. How cool is that?

    Like

    1. Hi, Ally – I agree that house-sitting and home-exchange are not for everyone. I do like that this option is out there for those who are interested. I also love that Mark and Liesbet live the life that they want to now….without waiting to be retired to live the lifestyle that they choose. Very inspirational!

      Like

    2. You know, Ally, I think that if I would have a home, my attitude might be different as well. There is no feeling like the one when coming back home, right? For good or for bad, I don’t know that feeling anymore, which still makes it exciting to house sit.

      Our main reason (other than to have a roof above our heads :-)) to do this full-time now, is because we still work and we enjoy being in a comfortable and convenient environment during the work week. As in having desks, electricity and unlimited internet. Whenever we are retired (if that ever happens), I think we would enjoy the combination house sitting and traveling internationally.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Like

    1. Hi Grammy Dee! Sorry to hear about your health issues! There is nothing wrong about being a home body. I vaguely remember how it was always nice to come back to my own studio, with my souvenirs and own bed, many years ago. I can’t say I miss that feeling too much, but it is very satisfying and relaxing!

      And, just a little insight about medical issues… Of course, I have no idea what you are talking about, but just know that my husband – despite our age – has many issues as well and we have to return back to his home state (Massachusetts) for check-ups every six months, and he is “committed” to fly back if something urgent arises. We have had to do that in the past, from as far away as Tahiti, do it now on a regular basis within the US, and – unfortunately – will have to continue doing so from wherever we venture in the future.

      Like

  24. Add me to the list of people who would struggle with this lifestyle. I too need the familiarity of a home base.
    … but omg, finding someone to housesit with my cat when I go away is always a challenge! People like you who do this for a living are priceless!

    Like

    1. Hi Joanne! Thank you for the comment and compliment. You might want to check out some of these sites I mentioned in a reply above, to find the perfect sitter for your cat. They are free to sign up as a home owner. Since cats require less attention (as in walks, taking them outside, not being able to be alone for more than a few hours at a time…) than dogs, I have a feeling the supply out there is huge!

      I think it does make a big difference if you have someone stay at your house, someone you familiarized yourself with over email and a video call and who you met in person before you leave. So many home owners stress the fact that going on vacation is completely worry-less (in regards to the house and pets) with loving, responsible caretakers at home. I hope you try it one day!

      Like

  25. Liesbet, until I began reading your blog, I didn’t realize that house/petting sitting could be a way of life, or that there were organizations with websites that provide a platform for the whole process. Thanks for de-mystifying it.

    Jude

    Like

    1. You’re very welcome, Jude. We found out about it from a friend in 2015 and had no idea about it before that either. Yet, now I read that some people have been house and pet sitting for over a decade! There is so much we don’t know anything about! It is often via other people, whether they are bloggers, authors, friends, or family that we discover what this world, and life, has to offer.

      Like

  26. I meet a lot of ‘nearing retirement’ age when land traveling. I tell them about my life on a sailboat and most find that option a bit too extreme. So then I tell them about Mark and Liesbet and they find that lifestyle a bit more to their liking. I recommend their blog A LOT

    Like

  27. Hi, Lisa – Thank you for stopping by! I agree that some may find life on a sailboat too challenging to actually commit to themselves….but many of us (including me) are most happy to enjoy this vicariously. I too recommend Liesbet’s blog to others…as well as yours!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s