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Hey, Google, how do I see the world on a budget?
It is the summer of 2016, and I am poring over my laptop trying to finally find a real answer to the question I’ve been asking myself for years. For ages, I had been trying to figure out exactly how I could travel longer without it costing an arm and a leg. There were a few things I knew for sure.
- I’m going to travel. Yes.
- I’m going to absorb other cultures like the anthropological sponge I thought I was in undergrad. Okay.
- I’m to be disciplined and write stunning blog posts about my adventures. Sure.
- I’m going to be competitively thrifty about it. Right.
I could teach English in a foreign country; my relatives taught in South Korea and loved it. I envision my classroom full of eager students by day and walking alongside my fellow English teachers through the colorful streets of Seoul while we sample the street food by night.
I could volunteer abroad; I could see myself back in the small Costa Rican town I fell in love with when I visited last month. Who wouldn’t love volunteering on an organic chocolate farm or an organic coffee farm or another wonderful farm of organic wonderfulness?
I could really go for the shoe-string budget and live out of hostels, seeing a new city every few days and meeting fellow world travelers while living off of PB&Js. Now there’s an idea…
I read a lot of travel blogs in preparation for going abroad and one mentioned house sitting, which is a pretty cool concept. Homeowners need someone to watch their house and pets while they are away.
House sitters take care of the pets and home in exchange for free accommodation – my favorite kind of accommodation! For longer trips away, it is helpful to have someone to keep an eye on things at the house. Sounds like a win-win to me!
I made a profile on TrustedHousesitters, which is one of the bigger house sitting sites. At first, I looked primarily for sits in Costa Rica, but I quickly noticed that most of the house sits were in Europe.
Since there wasn’t anywhere I needed to be, I cast a wide net and hoped for the best.
Within a few hours of applying to several enticing sits, I got a response! I accepted my first house sit in a small rural town I’d never heard of before. I met the house sit host over skype and we worked out the details. He showed me his dogs and I felt so excited that I would get to travel and meet some new pet friends! Once I had my first sit secured, tickets were booked and backpacks were packed.
With the number of house sitting opportunities out there, it wasn’t hard to line up other sits after that first one. But getting that first sit locked in helped me feel like I was gaining momentum.
After that initial sit, I housesat in small suburban towns, charming coastal villages, and farms in the countryside.
Next month, I am heading to a completely new city, one that’s known for chocolate, which I’m extremely excited about. I’ve cared for six dogs, two rabbits, and two guinea pigs so far, and those stats will diversify over time.
I’ve even seen listings that want someone to look after alpacas!! Three amazing host families have welcomed me into their homes and towns.
House sitting isn’t the path I thought I would go down, but I’m so glad I’m here. Now let’s see where this thing goes…