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.

18 Replies to “Farewell to house sitting – the kindness of strangers”

  1. I’ve been so inspired by your house sitting adventures. Andrew and I only house sat briefly in London last summer but we too were surprised by the kindness our hosts showed us; we can’t wait to do more house sitting when we head back to Europe later this year and next. I love plans and I can’t wait to hear more about yours! Publish soon please 🙂

    1. Cheers Amy, it’s funny that me and Kel frequently talk about the cool stuff you two get up two. Good luck with the house sits.

      We will announce our plans – they are typically sketchy, but we can’t wait!

    2. Hey you guys.
      This sounds so good. I am hoping I can start next fall. I will now be trying to gather tips and info. I think it is pretty hard to start when no one knows you but I will try to take a look at it all and see how goes 🙂
      Thank you for sharing 🙂
      Bragi

      1. Hey Bragi,

        Good luck with it. We started local-ish to get our first house sit as we realised how competitive it can be, especially to start with. This means you can meet with the owners face to face and you’re less of a risk to them. After you have landed your first one it becomes much easier.

        All the best
        Rob

  2. I’very been amazed, AMAZED, at the generosity of the people we have housesat for, Judy and Lee being amongst that list. We certainly hope to return the favors someday. Best of luck on your next, new adventure!

    1. Cheers Deidre, and the same to you too.

      Judy and Lee are the bomb (I think that means good, I heard somebody say it once 🙂 )

  3. Lovely! Sounds like you’ve had a great time with this housesitting lark. I’ve immensely enjoyed following your escapades looking after other people’s homes and pets, mostly to fulfil a vicarious sense of wanting to be able to do it more myself, so I’ll be sad not to read about them much any more, for now at least. We’re just really getting in to housesitting more, and I’m excited by it though I’ll keep your advice about not ignoring negative vibes in mind.

    1. It has been cracking my friend, thanks for following along. I hope we can keep you entertained with our new capers and jaunts.

      Indeed it is exciting, but it isn’t rocket science. Just follow your gut. Also if the hosts are a bit turd (which is extremely rare), it hardly matters cos you for the most part they will be away on their hols 🙂

  4. You are wise not to ignore those internal cues that suggest maybe it’s not the best house sit. I am so happy for you both that the house sitting thing worked out so well. It sounds like you have met some incredibly nice people.

  5. Good luck in your new adventures! I found your blog when I first heard about house/pet sitting. You helped me to discover there are many sites for finding sits. I am 60 years old and retired and I never thought I would enjoy my old age as much as I am! One thing I have quickly discovered, I won’t do another sit without television!Makes for a long two weeks, considering I put as my hobbies, watching tv and the internet! I am hoping to get to Europe one day and sit for a couple of months in various places.

    As for negative vibes, when I read a sit and they say the cats must be fed at precisely the same times, three times a day, that is my first clue they might be too rigid and expect more than I am willing to do. I saw one that said vacuum every day. Hmmm, never in my life have I done that. LOL I tell my people to not come home early because I need to make sure the house is clean before they get back. So far, so good.

    Enjoy life and I hope Kellie can get the good medical attention she needs and regain her good health.

    1. Thanks Lesa. Glad we could help point you in the right direction and so pleased to hear that you are enjoying it so much. What an amazing way to spend your retirement. I am still shocked at the amazing places we wouldn’t usually be able to afford to stay at. Internet is also a must for us, we went without/intermittent for 3 months and discovered how much we used it (went crackers without it).

      Ha, people do have different living/cleaning standards, but once a day seems a bit bonkers. We’ve had some people contact us with a list of rules before we have even started chatting. Not for us thanks 🙂

      All the best to you Lesa, it sounds like you are having a wonderful retired life. Long may it continue 🙂

    1. I often say to Kellie, how much I miss playing with your sack in the back garden. I’m glad I have a photo of us playing with it together, such lovely times.

  6. I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and love it! I am currently in Vietnam and travelling south east Asia with my two teenage boys and husband for one year. We are 7 months in
    Imagine my delight to read you are in my home province, alberta!! I’m from Calgary. Too bad we aren’t around or is invite you over for dinner and a sleepover on a comfy bed – no dog sitting required.
    I look forward to the next leg of your journey. How’s the training going, Kellie?

    1. Hey Liz, thanks for following along. Sounds like an epic adventure, I would loved to have experienced that as a teenager. Are you hoping your two sons will get the bug for travelling?

      Shame you weren’t there, we may head back in a summer one year, we shall let you know so you can pop the kettle on 😉

      Kel is sat next to me and tells me to say the training is going great, if you can’t not doing any as good. I think we will have a steep learning curve heading our way!

  7. Your house sitting adventures have been so interesting, it must be fascinating getting a longer term glimpse into someone else’s life. You’ve definitely inspired us to jump on the bandwagon, we’d love to do a local-ish house sit this year if we can and see where it leads.

    Bon voyage for the next leg of your journey – looking forward to hearing all about it!

    1. Cheers Maddie. A local house sit is such a great way to start, that’s how me and Kellie got started before we even got blogging and then it just kind of steam rolled from there. Good luck with it 🙂

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