(This is a guest post by Nicole of Suitcase Stories)
When I tell people that my husband and I travel the world via house sitting they are amazed by the concept. And true, it’s definitely a different way to travel but for us it’s been a way to see the world on a much smaller budget than if we were staying in hotels. When you travel perpetually like we do, you need to find a way to cut the costs down.
People don’t always want to hear about the boring money saving side of our house sitting lifestyle, they want to hear about all the weird and wonderful homes we have looked after. We are often asked for details on any peculiar requests that have been asked of us or if we have taken care of any strange pets.
Since we started our house sitting travels 16 months ago we have seen some very quirky things. But the one house sit that we always think about when these questions are asked, is a sit we did in a little town called Sarria in Spain.
We were living in a small farmhouse on the outskirts of a very small village. For two ‘city slickers’ this was very much out of our comfort zone but we wanted to try something new. The house was very basic but had everything we needed.
At this time we had only house sat in English speaking countries, but we had travelled through places like France, Iceland and the Netherlands. We always tried to learn a few words in each country we visit, though, as we were always in tourist areas, between our bad French and their bad English we somehow made it work.
We were soon to find out it was going to be very different in this little Spanish village.
On the day we arrived, we went to the local grocery store, which we thought was going to be a simple task: think again! After about 10 minutes of looking for chicken breast we gave up and went to the deli counter.
Knowing nothing other than hello, thank you and goodbye in Spanish, Michael tried asking for chicken breast in English, apologizing as he went. But of course, the butcher couldn’t understand a word he said.
After 3 minutes and getting nowhere, Michael started walking around like a chicken! He had the wings flapping and the head pecking; it was hysterical. But then it got embarrassing – The guy at the counter was nodding and walked away and came back with a whole chicken.
Well at least he knew what we wanted but how to get him to understand ‘chicken breast’. To my sheer embarrassment, Michael pointed at my breasts while still clucking like a chicken! It seemed like the whole shop erupted with laughter while my cheeks burned like never before. It got the point across because out came the chicken breast… along with a big grin and a wink from the butcher!
Back at the house, we had another issue to deal with: a dog who was a little too fond of my leg. Max was a 3 year old but he was quite a solid boy. I am no lightweight but there were times his affections would knock me to the floor. This of course would get him even more worked up because he thought I was playing: I guess my laughing didn’t help the situation. It took about two weeks before he realized my leg was not going to return his love and finally he stopped.
It was summer during our time in Spain and it was so hot! We were inland so nowhere near the beach or a sea breeze. The house did not have air conditioning, not even a fan. So how did we cool down? We would sit in the dog bath (which was a kiddies pool) to cool down. Of course Max thought this was a brilliant idea and all 3 of us sat in a tiny kiddies pool all in the name of cooling down.
So while housesitting is a wonderful way to see the world, it’s not always the perfect situation. However, we wouldn’t have it any other way. This lifestyle of us has given us some great stories, some funny moments and a life time of wonderful memories.
Bio: Nicole, and her husband Michael, are an Australian couple who gave up their careers, sold their possessions and left their ‘conventional’ life behind for a life of travel. They have been living a nomadic life for 15 months and see no end in sight.
They launched Suitcase Stories to share their stories, travel tips and destination guides. They hope to inspire others to travel and to show people how long term travel is not only possible but also affordable.