Our New Life – First Six Months

How It’s Gone –

Once we arrived in Oregon and truly began our traveling life, we couldn’t help but reflect back on the last six months. What a strange life it’s been. We’ve spent the last six months without a home of our own, and we are just fine with that.

The first three months of our full-time house sitting adventure reflected the classic slow start: ninety days at it, with many hotel stays, 32 to be exact. We had set a 90% target for nights spent house sitting and were more like 60%. Ouch!

Happily, during the next three months, there were only nine hotel nights – a significant improvement and right on target. At the start, we had lots of gaps between house sits. This shifted quickly to getting more house sits and even overlaps – juggling two homes at the same time.

We completed 17 individual house sits and three return engagements. Half of the stays lasted a week or less; the others were close to two weeks or longer. We cared for five cats, five chickens, and 19 dogs. Thank goodness, we had no issues with the pets and no visits to the vet. 

House Sitting in our Home Town

For those first six months, we were stuck in Los Angeles. It was tough having to go to work every day from different houses, sometimes with a long commute. If a house sit came up anywhere near my work, we had to try to get it no matter what.

The daily commute was extremely long during some house sits; over three hours a day. A few times the only way to keep going was to remember that at the end of the school year, things would change dramatically. 

We Learned a few Things Along the Way

We can cope with constant change in our environment, even though we like routines. Even though we prefer having everything planned, we can turn on a dime when needed. 

We love day trips, touring the sites around a new town, finding out what’s going on locally. We can even change that depending on the pets in our care. If we have cats, well, we feed them morning and night and give some cuddles. We can leave for lots of the day if we need to with no major worries.

With dogs, it’s a different story. Three or four hours is the most we can be away, and if they need medications, that’s a four-hour window as well. Only one of the homes we’ve stayed in so far had a dog door; you know what that means. 

Choosing Good Situations

We also learned how to choose house sits well. We found many listings that technically would have worked, with open dates and locations, but we did not pursue them because something didn’t feel right to me. You get a sense of the owner and pets when reading the listings, and I try and listen to my gut all the time and very carefully. We’ve been extremely fortunate as far as finding great homeowners: that part is working well.

After a few months of setting up house sits, communicating with the owners and meeting them in person, I realized it mirrored my work with parents during my years of teaching.

A huge part of my responsibilities included meeting parents, interviewing them (and them me). Would they feel comfortable with me, would they trust me with their children, would they know that I could care for their child, get a sense of who I was and feel it was a match? In the end, moving forward was always a matter of trust.

It seems I do the same thing now. Pets are not children, but they can be a pretty close second. She spent 16 years having the same conversations as I do now!

Did We Make a Mistake? 

No! We love it, and it seems like just the thing for us. We made an enormous life change, a leap into the unknown, leaving us without a home.

Looking back, we both feel we did well with all those changes and are good house sitters, or so we’re told. All of the homeowners have written positive references for us, so it isn’t just our opinion. We’ve met many wonderful owners and spent time with great dogs and cats.

many trees covering a hill

Oregon is a stunning place!

We’ve stayed in many terrific homes in new areas and gotten to know parts of Los Angeles that we had never actually spent time in before. The animals all like us and feel comfortable with us quickly, so that is also great. Imagine if we did all this and animals couldn’t stand us! That would close the shop up pretty quick.

Now, we can take a house sit wherever we want since I ended my teaching career and we are not tied to Los Angeles. We have much less stress whether day-to-day or financial. We love the animals and the unconditional love they offer and love our new life!

That’s how it looks to us as we look back over the last six months. What if we look ahead?  

How About the Next Six Months?

Well, I’ve been busy scheduling house sits. We’ll be in Oregon (our current house sit) Colorado, Oregon again, California, Arizona, and California yet again. We have twenty-one weeks of the twenty-six weeks filled with house sits.

We’ll have one week of travel between stops, a few days at a time. There’s a one-week gap in October and three weeks in December. We’re optimistic that those weeks in December will be easy to fill during the holiday travel season. That leaves one week open, which sounds like an opportunity to take in one of the national parks in the area, something we’ve wanted to do for years.

Things are looking good, and we are optimistic about our future as full-time house sitters! (If you would like to skip read to our one-year anniversary post here’s the link.)

What’s Next – more on our house sit in Dallas

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7 comments

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    • Sam and Veren on August 23, 2016 at 6:21 pm
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    So awesome to see other U.S. based housesitters! Though wow, 17 housesits in your first 6 months, that’s crazy/sounds exhausting!! But I bet you guys have tons of experience now. We’ve been housesitting for 8 months but have only done 4 sits total. We initially wanted to test the waters when we started housesitting, so only looked at longer term ones. Our first one was 3 months in Salt Lake City! We had to come back East (we’re based out of NYC) for the summer, but were really enticed by all the West Coast sits. We did a road trip around Oregon, northern California, and back to Utah, and absolutely loved Oregon. Definitely would like to housesit there in the future. Congrats on all your upcoming planned sits!!

    1. Hi Sam and Veren,
      Thanks for the comment. Yes, we started out with some pretty intense experience. Even so, we’re amazed to hear you started with a three-month sit across the country. That’s bold! We would love to hear how you set that up and how it went.
      We both love Oregon: there seems to be no end of house sits available up this way. Hope you get a chance to come west again. If you do…drop us a line. Good chance we’ll be close by and would love to get together and swap stories.
      Best wishes.

      Jim and Angela

        • Sam and Veren on August 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm
        • Reply

        We found our first sit on TrustedHousesitters – we had an immediate great connection with the homeowner and it just all fell into place. Everyone we knew definitely thought it was incredibly random that we were going to a city that most New Yorkers don’t have on their radar at all. But it didn’t seem that weird for us! The sit was amazing (just one cute cat in a great condo) and we’re friends with the homeowner now. We definitely will be housesitting again in the West, but probably not for a while – we’re headed over to Europe for the next 9+ months. Very curious to see what housesitting is like over there! So it may be some time before we cross paths, but always love to meet other housesitters when we can! Will be following you guys and your adventures til then =)

    • josiehousesit on August 23, 2016 at 5:20 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Angela,

    I like your comment about following your gut in terms of finding the right house sitting assignments. Listening to your gut, and then following that is, in my opinion, one of the most important aspects of house sitting.

    It’s also interesting to hear about your style — close to home and then a bit further afield — but not much. You’re still in the U.S.’s Pacific Northwest. I think it shows how many Americans are getting on board with house sitting.

    Great story, great adventure!

    Regards,
    ~Josie

    1. Thanks for commenting Josie. We’re new at blogging and it’s super fun to get some comments from the real world. Believe me, there have been quite a few postings for house sits that were in terrific places and at just the right time for us. But I just couldn’t make contact with the owner, something just didn’t feel right. It’s a subtle feeling but I do not want to end up in some terrible place!

      I think it feels better for us right now to take house sits where we can have our car. That way we won’t get stuck, at least that’s how we feel about it. Also, we are in love with Oregon and want to explore it more. We also really like Washington so that’s part of the reasoning.

      It seems that almost everyone who contributes on house sitting world is anywhere but in the US – it’s funny.

  1. Interesting six months as its quite different from the way we started. Its great to read how others are using sitting and enjoying the lifestyle 🙂

    1. Thanks Gavin, it seems that by jumping in without a lot of prep at the beginning our path was a bit rockier than others, but we’re enjoying ourselves! I do enjoy reading your blog, it’s fun reading about how it works for others!

We would love to hear your thoughts or questions!

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