Lately there’s been one question I keep getting asked that I really, really hate, primarily because I have absolutely no idea how to answer it – “what’s your address?” Because as full-time house sitters, a permanent address just isn’t a thing. That’s right, we don’t have an address.
If I try to tell the person asking that I don’t have an address the looks I get back are incredulous. I believe they think I’m lying or homeless or just trying to avoid getting junk mail. I noticed I got asked this question a lot when we were back in the States over the holidays. Sign in as a guest with my mom at the gym – what’s your address? Order a birthday card online to be sent out – what’s your return address? Apply for a freelance writing job (to be done remotely, I might add) – what’s your address? I mean even deciding what to put on my resume has left me frozen with indecision. So when someone asks me this question it paralyzes me and I immediately have a deer in headlights look. I mean how can I possibly answer that question since as of last week I had no idea where I’d be living in March? But paralyzing indecision aside, I’d rather not be able to answer that question if it means living this life.
Being a house and pet sitter means you live a nomadic lifestyle. And you don’t always know where you’ll be living next year, next month, or even next week. I find this to be freeing and unnerving all at the same time – and I absolutely love it. House sitting has given us the opportunity to travel the way we like to do it best. Slowly. We really enjoy spending an extended period of time in one place. It gives us an opportunity to do some in-depth exploring, meet people and also? Well, also, we have found that we get to stay in some pretty amazing houses. Like, humongous, beautiful homes full of museum-worthy pieces of art and with gorgeous views.
When it comes to house sitting there is no one size fits all. Some people pay to have house and pet sitters, some people ask their sitters to pay for some of their utilities and others view it as a simple exchange of services. People have different reasons for wanting someone to come stay in their home and each homeowner also has different expectations of what the sitters will be responsible for. Sometimes it’s taking care of a menagerie of pets, we’ve seen requests to pet sit horses, turtles, birds, snakes, lizards, chickens, llamas and sometimes just a good old cat or dog.
Here in Patzcuaro the homeowners took their lovable dog with them to check in on their amazing beach rental property (probably enjoying the sun and sand a bit too) and needed someone here to take care of the yard and basic cleaning and maintenance and try to make sure the house doesn’t burn down. So we have responsibilities when house sitting different places (trying to avoid fires can be a full-time gig), but the assignments we accept still leave us enough time to get our work done, get out and explore and also enjoy the beautiful homes we are staying in.
Our current home happens to be a beautiful and charming colonial home right in the heart of downtown with amenities and comforts that we’d absolutely never be able to afford on our own. I mean house sitting really is one of the most cost-effective and comfortable ways to see the world.
Besides not having an address to fill in when signing up for a bank account, there are other risks and downsides to house sitting. We’ve heard horror stories about assignments gone awry, different expectations by both the home owners and sitters not being met and things falling through at the last minute after travel expenses have already been paid for. But the reward, well the reward is so worth it. So far we’ve been lucky enough to have stayed at great places with really great owners and really great pets. As I said earlier, last week we didn’t know where we were going to be living in March. But you’ll be happy to know that as of this week we now have different house sits and places to live lined up through mid-September. That uncertainty and the unknown is probably terrifying for a lot of people, but I did stability and safety for so long that now? Well, now I still don’t have a response but I’m more than ready to leave the address section on a form blank.