House-sitting: chronicle of our first time

When we began to dream about giving up our jobs to start a journey around the world without a time limit, there were many, many things that we did not know, but something was clear: we had to do everything possible to reduce costs.

Thus, we began to investigate, to read, to find ways to make this a reality, to turn our biggest dream into a new lifestyle.

Reading experiences of other travelers that we followed and admired, at some point the topic of “collaborative economy” appeared. It means in this case, different online platforms through which you can seek and offer exchanges of many types, in which both parties benefit by giving something that the other needs, without money in between. The part of “without money in between” sounded spectacular, since that would be our scarcest asset during the trip. On the other hand, we could offer in abundance what would soon become our greatest exchange asset and through which we would achieve what we so desired: travel time. Also we knew that the accommodation would be the biggest expense to cover, the most expensive of any trip. So, that’s where we concentrated our efforts, the priority was to get free accommodation whenever possible.

Luckily, the magic words came to us: House-sitting. But what was that? Could something so good be true? As we read, it was a system to travel around the world taking care of houses and pets. It seemed too good to be true, we should try it…

A few days after starting the trip, with a lot of dedication we created an account in one of the platforms for house-sitting and the next day we applied to two houses. We quickly received the first answer: the house was no longer available, but that did not discourage us. Only two days later, the response from the second house would arrive. This time it was not a negative answer but a beginning for a relationship and after an exchange of eight messages and eleven days between the first and the last one. It was official: they had accepted us for our first House-sitting, in a villa (in Spain they are called cortijos) in the Alpujarra region of Granada, Spain. We never imagined that it would come so quickly and, much less, that it would be such an incredible experience.

In those days our plans were a bit unstable and there were many options on the table: if such thing happens, we go to that direction or if that happens, we go to that country and so on. We had many doubts and few certainties. Thus, the confirmation and commitment that we had assumed with our first house-sitting was a beacon on the way, a checkpoint that served as a guide to organize our other travel plans and even just the idea to be stable for a while sounded spectacular.

From the day they confirmed it, there was a month until the start. It sounded a long time, but it flew by and finally, the great day arrived. We met with the owner in Motril and from there we set out on the road to enter the sierra. The drive was a foretaste of what the whole experience would be like: a dream. And the landscape… oh, that landscape! Sea, mountains, different shades of green, almond trees, white villages, routes that go up and down, that come and go, caressing the mountains.

And finally we arrived at what would be our home for the next five weeks. At the entrance we were left alone for a moment while the owner went to look for the dogs, who were on the floor below. We looked at each other and did not have words, just started jumping out of joy. We could not believe what we were seeing and that this was really happening, that we would be the protagonists of that story. We had not seen pictures of the house from inside and those we had seen from the outside showed very little, so when we arrived, everything was a surprise, and a lot bigger than we could have imagined. The house had a simple, rectangular shape, with windows on both sides, from which you could see two totally different landscapes. On one side, on the north face, we saw the snow-covered peak of Mulhacén, within the Sierra Nevada National Park, which at 3478 meters above sea level is the highest peak in the Iberian Peninsula and the second highest peak in Spain, and now, It was in front of our eyes. On the south side, the moorish style garden, more and more hills, almond groves, vineyards and a lot of green.

Still dazzled by the captivating beauty of the surroundings, a few minutes after arriving, we met Ella, Alma, Anne, Patty and Scarlett, the five dogs we were going to take care of and who were the main reason for this House-sitting. It was doggy love at first sight.

During the first and second day we took note of everything we had to do in the house to not forget anything. There were many things as the house was big and the dogs very disciplined and of course everything was new for us. But just after a couple of days these routines became as natural as if we had done it all our lives and we never looked at that memory list again. Our days doing House-sitting were more or less like this: we woke up around 8 am, but without an alarm clock, only with the singing of the birds and the occasional dog bark. We had breakfast, then fed the dogs, who have to eat separately, one by one, in shifts. Then, in the middle of some other basic task of the maintenance of the house and our personal projects, we make between two and three walks along the countryside roads, surrounded by an extraordinary beauty, walks that we all enjoy to the fullest, they and us.

I write this when we have ten days to finish this incredible experience and with the feeling of wanting to stop the time and prolong it as much as possible. Having made a five-week stop in one place, and one as special as this one, allowed us to generate routines, organize ourselves, plan the next steps of our trip, store clothes in the drawers and food in the cupboards, small everyday things that you miss when you travel a lot and enjoy when they reappear.

We are so fond of “the girls” (as we say of the five dogs), that there is no doubt that we will miss them very much when we have to keep going. During this time we were filled with love and  laughter in our souls. How much are we going to miss the nights watching a movie the seven together on the sofa, all cuddling, with the stove burning in the background, to make the cold of the night in the mountains more bearable!

Since we are here we hear ourselves say phrases like “this is the best house I lived in my life” or “this is so good that I can not believe it”. That’s how we are right now. We can not feel anything other than gratitude for this experience, which arrived at the exact moment, just when we needed it, very early in our trip to fill us with motivation to continue to travel the world, while we are doing House-sitting.

PostScript 1: If you want to help me to continue with this project, don’t forget to share!

If you have any questions, queries or suggestions, you can leave it in the comments below. And if you think someone can serve or interest this information, I thank you very much for sharing it!

PostScript 2: Do you want more information about House-sitting and how to travel around the world taking care of houses?

You can find everything you need to know to start doing House-sitting in this post:

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