Farewell to house sitting – the kindness of strangers

Today is the last day, of our last scheduled house sit!

We are finishing it here on a beautiful snow covered farm in Alberta, with not a single sausage lined up for the future. Not a bad way to end…

house-sit-alberta

This is a new feeling for us. For most of the last 16 months, we have had a least one house sit in the bank, whether it was way in the future or just around the corner.

There was always a commitment we had to fulfil.

By choice we have chosen to step away from house sitting (at least for a while) and try something different.

It’s weird when you leave your job and head on an indefinite journey; you feel a huge sense of freedom. But now I realise there are layers freedom.

House sitting was a way to see many different parts of the world cheaply, and even though we’ve enjoyed it massively, it was still a commitment to fulfil.

In our next escapade, we only have a flight to make, and the rest we make up as we go along.

So yes, we are indeed excited about this. But I’m not going to go into our future plans just now (more to come soon).

This is more about the amazing experience house sitting as given us. And to be more specific, the amazing people we have met.

This is the bit that has surprised us, the people. Initially when we set off on our travels, we thought about the cute animals and far flung destinations we would be heading to.

You also think about the responsibility you have to the homeowner to maintain their house and look after their beloved pets.

I never imagined we would meet such friendly and generous people.

People who warmly invite you into their home, put their trust in you and make you feel instantly welcome.

You can usually tell from the tone of the communication pre house sit, how things are going to pan out. Do not ignore any negative vibes you get! We have done so once in the past, and when we did, we regretted it. But that was one single occasion, which we learnt from quickly.

Back to the good people.

These people all have their own particular way of showing you their appreciation. They happily give you a little insight into their lives and personalities.

They make their favourite meal for you when you arrive. Excited to show off their culinary skills.

Or when they discover you are intolerant to most edible things (i.e. Kellie), they panic slightly at first, and then go out of their way to find those ingredients they had never even heard of.

When you are ill in Mexico and new to town (i.e. Kellie again), they go out of their way to find you a good doctor.

We’ve had people buy us tickets to their favourite Christmas show, “We have to go every year! We’d love you to go!”

They take us to their favourite hangouts and restaurants, so keen to share what makes them happy in their hometown.

I don’t want to get into writing what people offered as some sort of competition, more just to show the unexpected kindness from people who were strangers not so long ago.

Some gestures are simple and thoughtful. Others are expensive and cause disbelief when offered.

All are unexpected and remembered by us, to this day.

People have stocked their fridges and cupboards with mountains of food, bought us wine, loaned us their car to go and explore their country when they return from their holiday.

Rescued us from an Ecovillage (thanks Chris and Lynn).

Friends have been made on a subconscious level, and also in ceremony. We have been given white scarves to symbolise our new friendship. A touching gesture, made by someone profoundly affected by a recent trip to Nepal. Genuinely an amazing moment to share with someone, who just a few weeks earlier, we had never met.

I have tried to avoid naming names in this list as much as possible, but Judy and Lee have to be named as they allowed us stay in their holiday let for free for a few days, before they had even met us. Crazy kindness.

I should have posted this long ago to give them a plug for their beautiful self catered rental in San Pancho, with beautiful ocean/sunset views and a pool! Plus it’s a tiny walk to the beach. You should all go and have a look at here. 

swimming pool house

kel swimming pool

 Enjoying the swimming pool and sunset at Judy and Lee’s

For me it’s important to write this, because I know how lucky we are. I’m not trying to show off about all the free stuff we were given. More highlight the good people of the world and the different forms in which it is demonstrated.

The news is full of all the crap that happens on a daily basis, I don’t want to ignore these things. Just be thankful for the delightful people we’ve had the chance to meet.

So thank you, thank you. THANK YOU to all our kind new friends both four and two legged!!

PS when we do head back to house sitting one day, please potential homeowners don’t feel you have to do all this stuff. We don’t have a diva list and just get on with things. A friendly smile, cute pets and a comfy bed are all we require.

We use Housecarers.com and Trustedhousesitters.com to find our house sits.

How much does it cost to travel Mexico for 10 months?

“How much does it cost to travel Mexico for nearly a year?” is a question I have never been asked…. Ever!

But I am not going to let that stop me sharing this hopefully useful information to fellow travels, who may not have known that they need to know this. Makes sense? Good. We shall begin.

cost-hire-car On the road – Hiring a car in Mexico

So, how much does it cost to travel Mexico for 10 months?

The total cost: £9,347.54 or $13.783 US.

Our average cost per day per person – £16 or 24 USD

This is the cost for a couple. It includes one way flights to Mexico and 12 months travel insurance.

2 one way Flights London Gatwick – Cancun: £600 (Here’s how we found cheap flights)
12 months True Traveller Insurance – for Rob: £482.23 (I like doing more dangerous stuff)
12 months Flexicover Insurance – for Kellie: £240.00

Leaving in country spends of: £8,024.31 or $11,832 US

It sounds even better when I say per person we only spent £4000!

Here’s the figures (Included in the costs are a Visa run to Belize, as EU citizens are only allowed to stay in Mexico for 6 months. Full details and costs here)

cost-of-living-mexico-budget-color-1

cost-one-year-mexico-chart

We think in country spends of £8024.31 is pretty low figure, for nearly a years worth of travel, considering we didn’t really try and budget.

Why are the costs so low?

If you cannot be bothered reading the rest of this cost breakdown, we basically saved money by doing lots of house sitting.

However, if you are interested, here are a few more reasons why our costs are so low and few examples of costs:

Accommodation – £1045 total

I don’t feel accommodation is particular cheap in Mexico as compared to places like Thailand. We usually paid a minimum of £20 a night for hotels or Airbnb places when on the road. These were on the whole, nothing fancy.

We didn’t stay in hostels, this is because I get tired of enforced social situations rather quickly. I guess if you are less picky than me, you can search for cheap hostels, but I’m not going to lie I never even bothered looking.

The biggest saving – We cut our costs mainly by becoming house sitter extraordinaires. We spent 7.5 months house sitting.

House sitting fits us perfectly as we prefer to travel slowly, then mix it up with fast travel in-between assignments.

We use Housecarers.com and Trustedhousesitters.com to find our house sits.

Transport – £782.70

Obviously we travelled slowly so weren’t tearing around the country, but I think Mexico is a pretty cheap place to travel by bus.

Local transport costs are extremely cheap – 10 pesos for collectivos (minibuses) which take you to local destinations and usually about 35 pesos for in town taxis.

Long distance – Whenever we travelled to new places, it was by coach. The coaches are extremely comfortable, and there are so many different companies in different areas it would be hard to name them all. This means that Mexico is an extremely easy country to navigate without a car.

ADO is a great budget option to get you started.

Food costs

Groceries £1984

We love to cook, so saved lots of money by eating in, and visiting the markets to pick cheap, local ingredients. Also Kellie has been ill with parasites for so long, it became a bit of a nightmare eating out, there was rarely anything on the menu she could stomach. The cost also includes toiletries and other household supplies.

Food out – £1474

In Mexico if you want to eat cheap you can easily.

£1.30 to £2.60 (30-60 pesos) – Tacos, empanadas etc. But I eat a lot, so would have to buy shed loads to keep me full.

£8 to £12 (200-300 pesos) – around this for an evening meal or dinner for two people. We don’t drink much alcohol, so this would usually include a can of fizzy pop or bottled water.

£18+ (400+ pesos) for a fancy meal, for two people. The most we payed was £50 for a fancy meal at the Leaky Palapa whilst we lived in the middle of nowhere, it was amazing! If you ever happen to be in Xcalak you have to go!

It’s also worth mentioning that we lived off the grid for 3 months, so there were very few eating out options except for over priced rubbish.

Entertainment Costs – £876.50

Our entertainment costs could be much higher, but we are not tour or museum fans. If we went to see ruins in Mexico, I would position myself near tour groups to listen to few facts before the inevitable boredom hit and I wondered off to explore, or more likely ended up in a cafe. Cheeky, but cost effective.

There are lots of museums, ruins and such like, if you want to waste your money on them (joke).

This figure does include amongst other things :

  • car hire – roughly £25 a day
  • horse riding tour with food – £57 (1300 pesos)
  • yoga classes – £5 (110 peso per person, per class)
  • cinema –  £2.50 (50 pesos)
  • cooking course in Oaxaca, for two people – £80 (1800 pesos)
  • Entry to ruins
  • and the odd night out.

Medical – £517.50

I have never seen a budget breakdown with medical costs before but thought it was worth having it’s own category, Kel has been pretty unlucky with parasite infestations.

Without it our in country costs would have been brought down to around £7,500, for 10 months! We did claim most of it back on Kellie’s insurance thankfully… I definitely advise getting insurance despite the pain of the fact I never used mine. The companies we use allow you to renew whilst on the road. Not all do.True Traveller Insurance and Flexicover Insurance.

Here’s a few idea of costs:

  • Blood test – £11 (250 pesos)
  • Xray – £14 (320 pesos)
  • Medication (antibiotics) – £6 to £8(140 to 200 pesos)
  • Doctors/consultations – £22 (500 pesos)

Misc – £1,344.61

This is basically the everything else category. from laundry to toilet entry, which are just a few pesos.

£500 of it was for 4 weeks of Spanish lesson, for two people in San Miguel De Allende (of which I can remember nothing). I was going to put it in the entertainment costs, then realised this would be a lie. Kellie was much better at it than me and found it extremely valuable. I just drew willys in my notebook and looked up swear words.

It also included our house sitting memberships (Housecarers.com and Trustedhousesitters.com), phone credit, FMM border fee… I shall bore you no longer.

In summary, Mexico is cheap as chips if you travel like we do.

I track all my spends with a pen and paper.

Do you want to chat about budgets and discuss the cost of things with us in our comments below? No. Thought not. Thanks for stopping by anyway. 

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