Adding up the bills, I felt overwhelmed. My partner and I had just broken up and the lease for the house was almost up. ‘I can’t afford to live on my own,’ I moaned to my mum, Jude. ‘What am I going to do?’
As much as I loved her, at 31, I didn’t want to move back in with my parents! ‘You could live at someone else’s house,’ she laughed. ‘You could be a house-sitter.’
Mum might’ve been joking, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised she could be onto something. Instead of people leaving their house empty while they went on holiday and putting their animals into kennels, I could take care of them. ‘You’re a genius!’ I told Mum.
I worked as an admin officer. So that week I sent an email around the office. If anyone needs a house-sitter, I am available, I wrote. I had previously owned my own home so I knew how to take care of one and I had loads of experience with dogs.
Moments later, my inbox pinged with requests. That’s five weeks booked in! I thought, ecstatic.
Placing my furniture into storage, I packed a bag and made my way to my first temporary house. ‘Make yourself at home,’ I’d been told. I had my own room, so I unpacked and familiarised myself with the house.
I was even able to have friends and family come to visit. All I had to do was keep the house tidy and walk the dog.
As time went on, I got more and more enquiries. Most of the houses were huge and one even had a heated pool, Foxtel and air con. It was paradise! Amazingly, as soon as one booking was up, someone else asked me to house-sit.
I’ve now been house-sitting for three years and haven’t lived in my own place in all that time. ‘It’s saved me $60,000 in rent!’ I told Mum.
Instead of paying off someone else’s mortgage, I’ve been lucky enough to spend my time off travelling the world. I’ve journeyed across the south island of New Zealand and explored Bali with my family and friends.
I’m also studying to become a dog behaviourist so I do that online wherever I am in the world. The time I’ve spent with clients’ pets has helped me learn about their different personalities and I hope to one day open my own puppy kindy.
A few of my friends think I’m nuts but I know I’ve got the best of both worlds. This lifestyle may not be for everyone but the freedom and experience it has given me is priceless!