How I Started An International Housesitting Business on my Own
by Teresa Roberts
(Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA)
Competa, Spain has become my second home.
I love to travel! I have traveled with my husband, with my entire family, and with my sisters, but I also have had the wonderful experience of traveling solo. I come from the generation of women who married husbands that adhered to the philosophy that women were gentle creatures that needed to be protected. Yet, I actually was born to that class of women who were part of the transition phase of America. We not only took care of our homes, raised our children, and cooked meals, but we also entered the work force and provided money for the family. Unlike our mothers before us, we wore two hats and had a foot in both worlds. Our husbands, however, were not the young enlightened men of today whose wives expected them to also participate in domestic affairs. They followed in the footsteps of their fathers, instead, taking care of cars, mowing lawns, babysitting in a pinch, and doing much of the heavy work.
I used to marvel at those young backpacking girls who traveled all over Europe and much of Central and South America without a man to stand between them and danger. Such free spirits! However, I was blessed with a golden opportunity to discover my own free spirit. I also found out along the way that I was no shrinking violet after all nor had I ever been. I was, in my heart, a fearless, backpacking modern-day girl.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to choose to retire quite early in life. Soon after my youngest graduated from college, I made the choice to retire from my profession as an educator. I wanted the opportunity to explore other aspects of my personality and talents. Thus, I started an international house-sitting business. You heard me right the first time! I started an international house sitting business. I had a theory, after returning from a nine-month stint of living abroad with my husband, that given the opportunity, we could travel much longer if we were inventive. I was hungry for more adventures. I convinced him that I needed to go back out on the road and explore the possibilities of developing this business model as a means for long-term travel. So, he went back to work, and I started looking for house-sitting gigs.
For the next eight months I traveled and lived abroad on my own taking care of various homes in various countries. I am sure it was not easy for my husband to be the one who stayed behind. After all, he already had had a taste of traveling and living abroad for almost a year prior to this and, no doubt, longed for more adventure himself.
However, he saw the wisdom of my exploring this possible alternative lifestyle that might end up supporting future travels for both of us. The rest is history! I was turned loose on my own to bring to fruition what has turned out to be an absolutely wonderful way to travel. I took care of homes in England, Spain, and Mexico during that period on my own. I even took care of a 57-foot boat in a marina in Baja California. Solo! Was it fun? You bet! Did I learn a lot? Absolutely!
I learned that I was perfectly capable of traveling alone. What's more, I also learned that being alone was something that I actually could enjoy. It gave me renewed confidence in my own ability to take care of myself. I also realized that if and when the time ever came that I found myself permanently alone, I would be able to handle it. It was a great experience! In the end, it benefited both of us. We went on to travel together as international house sitters. We have taken care of an estate on an island in the Caribbean, lived in England, Ireland, Malta, the city of Prague, Italy, and Spain. We believe that there are many adventures to come!
Believe it or not, there are loads of people all over the world who prefer to have someone watching over their pets and gardens while they are gone, especially if they are going to be gone for extended periods of time!
Ed. Note: Teresa now proudly runs her house-sitting business and can be found at www.findingthegypsyinme.com.
You may also find these stories of interest:
Good and Bad New about Housesitting
Become a Housesitter