When you’re stuck in the system of life, the idea of travelling seems somehow quite Utopian. Escaping life’s rules and being free from all your worries and strife. Now there’s a dream we can all buy into.
Yet the reality of travelling is that there is no Utopia, no grass is greener on the other side. Don’t get me wrong, leaving the System and travelling full time in our camper has been the best decision we’ve ever made, (second to getting married, I hasten to add) and we’ve never been happier. It gives us an immense freedom, a joy that is indescribable and an inner peace that I’ve never had in my life. More importantly, I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
Although this is not a dream-like state where everything is rosy and where we all live happily ever after. Life still comes with strings attached, with unpredictable challenges and outright trauma sometimes. It is though all about how we handle those situations and which ultimately define us and our life experiences. Living on the road is no different.
As I reflect on our nomadic path, sat on the cusp of a change to our lifestyle, I feel like after 19 months travelling full time that I can, with a degree of credibility, assess life through more realistic glasses. And it is both beautiful and stretching all at the same time.
We have seen fellow nomads get caught up in hurricanes, we’ve seen couples not getting on and heading home, we’ve seen others being offered jobs that they couldn’t turn down or family having babies that draw them home. Sometimes illness throws you off course, the needs of a close relation calls for your support, or children need to return back to finish their schooling.
However we travel, for however long we travel, it is still life and the ups and downs still need navigating. That is something you can’t escape. And if travel feels like an escape, then don’t be fooled by this illusion as you will be disappointed. After all, our taxes still need paying and financial institutions still need interacting with.
A heap of questions danced in my mind about what would happen next
For us, we have recently had an opportunity to put our travel commitment to the test after a financial sideswipe threw us temporarily off course. Our journey so far has been blessed by only a few financial constraints. Whilst we are mindful of our expenses and we have a budget to honour, it hasn’t been, until now, hugely restrictive on a day to day basis. Yet a significant shift in our rental income hit us two weeks ago and sent us, well in truth me, spiralling into a vortex of uncertainty and panic.
A heap of questions danced in my mind about what would happen next as the reality of our situation expanded from just a short term issue to a medium term challenge. Now we’ve had some problems to deal with along our way, so I don’t think for one minute we have been complaisant on our nomadic journey although this change in finances, which came overnight, was a bit of a shock to the system.
I’m a great believer, when I’m not in a state of panic, that every situation offers learning and opportunity, even if it’s not clear at the time. So when the shock wore off, we were able to assess our new situation with fresh eyes. We looked at all avenues; the thought of returning back to UK was the one that filled me with most horror. Aside of that we had two basic considerations – how to generate more money and how to lower our expenditure.
…and from that moment on, drama turned into opportunity.
Given that returning to UK was not a desired route for either of us, we put our rational heads into gear and from that moment on, drama turned into opportunity. Within the space of a day we had come up with a strategy that was full of synergy and positivity where we could both reduce our spends and raise our income levels. It was a strategy we had already built into our vision before we left England and now it was time to initiate our house sitting plan.
What a perfect opportunity for us; a chance to stand still after 19 months of busy travels and working as travel bloggers. A great way to reign in our campsite fees, diesel, gas and general wear and tear on the vehicle. A way of meeting my ‘helping’ gene, allowing others to fulfill their travel needs and an lovely opportunity to experience a new part of Europe from the very heart of its community. Plus on top of all of this, we will have the time to push forward with our Motoroaming venture and expand our offerings, which is important to us both and hopefully generate some passive income.
And a year on we are still housesitting. We have two very special housesits in the South of France, who, when we’re in the area love to have us back. What a perfect symbiotic relationship it is.
We have turned what felt like a storm of travelling doom, into a silver-lined cloud
When we told a few friends about this, they have been gutted for us, as many of our plans for next year have had to be shelved. Morocco postponed, the Baltics rescheduled and generally our European travels restructured for 2018. And yet we are not only excited, we are so incredibly positive about this junction. With four house sits under our belt, secured in just one week, we know that this is what is destined for us – it is our vision coming to fruition and we couldn’t be happier.
We are still nomads, if that label is important, we are still travelling and we are still committed to full time adventures. There is no ending, no grieving, just travelling in a different way. We have turned what felt like a storm of travelling doom into a silver-lined cloud. As a result the Motoroamers will have some alternative travel perspectives and a new take on our destinations that we hope will inspire you and that we are excited to share very soon.
So what’s the moral of this story?
- Travel is just life lived differently to the norm, free from just some of life’s traditional rules.
- Travel comes with consequences and choices just like any other lifestyle.
- Challenges and dramas hit us when we least expect them, it’s how we choose to deal with them that defines us.
- Travel is multi faceted and three dimensional; it’s how we create meaning for our life and how we let labels of ‘nomad’ or ‘full time’ get in our way.
- There’s always a way through when we remove ourselves from fear and the vortex of panic.
So our final thoughts remain; travel when you can, however you can, for as long as you can, just travel.
How we set up our Housesitting
There a number of on line agencies that a show-case sits around the world. These were the three that we initially joined. Each one has an annual membership fee to join.
www.trustedhousesitters.com – become a member £89.00 per year and £30 for a one-off payment for an advanced level Police Check.* For us this is by far the most professional and prolific of the agencies. We get daily announcements of sits around the world enabling us to plan and look ahead. They also have a referral link that enables you to invite friends and acquaintances to join for a 20% discount and in return you get 2 months free membership.
www.mindmyhouse.com – become a member for $15 per year.* We have not continued our subscription with these guys this year despite having one successful housesit from them.
www.housecarers.com – register for free and become a member for £30 per year.* We have also decided not to renew as we have not had one interaction or communication from them in the last 12 months.
* These are the currencies that we paid to register as UK residents.
If you wish to join one of the largest global Housesitting Agencies, Trusted Housesitters, then we can offer you a referral link that will save you 20% on the fees listed above. In return we get two months free membership. Click this link here if you want to join either as a home owner or as a house sitter.
When we joined these three agencies initially, we set up our profiles, giving a strong account of our skills, our lifestyle and information about our characters. When you are presenting yourselves to the outside world where TRUST is the centrepiece, then these profits are really important. To that end, we also decided to submit a Profile Document that gives a lot more detail about us as individuals and a couple and included additional references to those that the agency collect from your testimonial list. On top of that we produced a video that offers a very visual perspective of us and helps prospective house sitters see and feel us, in the flesh so to speak. The video has been one of the most positive aspects of our profile and has secured us eight sits in the last year. So we highly recommend this. Check out our video HERE.
When you find a sit that suits your requirements, then you apply for it and if the homeowner is interested in your profile, then they get in touch and generally suggest a Skype interview and ‘Getting to know you’ Session. This is important for both parties as you need to feel comfortable with the sit requirements as much as the homeowners need to feel trusting of you.
After that we then stay in contact prior to the sit to ensure that they always know we are still committed to their dates and we generally suggest arriving the day before their departure so that we can do a handover and get to know the animals that will be under our care.
Remember that housesitting is a symbiotic relationship – it is not a paid contract.
We hope this information is useful. Very happy for you to get in touch if you have any more questions about our experiences.