“Do you ever work?,” “It must be nice not having a job,” “You’re so lucky you don’t have to deal with Mondays,” and “You might be the laziest people I know” are just a few things we’ve heard recently. I mean I get it. We live in Mexico, land of beaches, siestas and free-flowing tequila, right? (Wrong). And here we constantly are telling and showing you about the amazing sunsets we’ve witnessed and our fun excursions and explorations. So I understand that people might have gotten the impression that we live a life of leisure. Laziest people alive? Sure, I’m sure some people out there might think that about us but contrary to popular belief, our days aren’t spent lounging around the pool, taking leisurely strolls around town or hanging out on the beach all day. I mean, some days we actually do those things. As much as possible, really. But since the tequila is not actually free, we have to find a way to pay for our travel and food and fun just like the rest of the world. In addition, we (unfortunately) have bills and financial obligations just like everyone else. This means we’ve had to figure out how to both travel and work (and continue to find more work) all at the same time. Granted we don’t sit in cubicles 40 hours a week, but we do spend a good portion of each day in front of our computers. Sure, sometimes those computers are at the beach or some other disgustingly beautiful place but nonetheless, it’s still work.
Juggling travel and work has its own complex set of difficulties but I’m not about to bog you down with a bunch of nonsense about how we hate our jobs or how life is so rough. I’m not going to do this for a couple of reasons – 1. You don’t care and 2. It’s not true. We love our lives, and our jobs are ones that we custom created to afford this lifestyle, so how can we complain about them? But the fact remains that we do work, a lot. In fact we don’t just have one job each, we have several. And we have to deal with Mondays, and Tuesdays and all the other days that the rest of the world has to deal with, including sometimes working on all of them.
Obviously we don’t have normal desk jobs (in fact, we don’t even have desks) so you might be wondering, what is it we do? The short version is that we own and operate a small web design and marketing company, Deidre is a freelance writer and we are professional house and pet sitters. That’s the short version. The long version is that we are jacks of all trades and have done a little bit of this and a little bit of that. In our lives, every single day is different, comes with multiple distractions and often our expectations when we wake up on how the day is going to go is wildly different from how it turns out. Regardless of whether it comes from a client emergency, the challenges of trying to communicate in a different language, the two-day long party that the neighbors have decided to throw complete with sound systems, stages and professionally hired singers, or a pet that has gone on the loose that we have to track down, those unexpected detours and distractions are what we thrive on and find exciting – although it can make it tough to run a business at times. That’s what keeps us motivated I guess.
I was going to separate this post into the “real job” section and the house sitting section but in trying to do so I realized that they are so inextricably intertwined that it’s impossible to tell where one stops and the other begins. For example, one day I was typing away at my computer trying to make a tight deadline when I heard a massive amount of honking outside. Odd, since we were miles from anywhere and didn’t have much traffic. I went outside to see that one of our trees had fallen across the road and taken out a good deal of our fence, blocking a delivery truck and allowing the dogs to freely play in traffic (if there had been any).
We had an unexpected emergency situation on our hands and it was up to us to deal with it. So, off I went with my machete to clear the road, allow the delivery driver to pass, round up the dogs and dispose of the tree branches. Hours later, hot, sweaty, grimy and tired I returned to my computer to finish up the website I was building. Does that anecdote fall under the real job or house sitting category? See what I mean?
We started the business that we did precisely for the fact that we’re not tied to a specific location and it allows us to set up shop whenever and where ever we please. But one thing we never considered? Time zones.
We have clients in countries around the world from Aruba to Thailand and they are all on different time zones. A client wants to schedule a call? No problem, I just have to figure out what time zone they’re in, then figure out what time zone we’re in (constantly moving around makes for quite a bit of confusion) and then attempt to find a time everyone is available and hopefully awake at the same time. It makes my brain ache just thinking about it and don’t even get me started on daylight savings time or the fact that Quintana Roo (the Mexican state where Playa del Carmen is located) is now in the Eastern time zone despite being almost straight south of Chicago. Grrr…
Anyway, our business pays our bills and keeps a little change in our pockets (alright, alright, alright) but house sitting pays our rent. House sitting has taken us to some marvelous places that we’d never have thought to go and allowed us to stay in magnificent homes we’d never imagined. While they may not cost us any money, the house sits aren’t free of charge. Each one is different, but they are all an exchange of services. We take care of the property and pets and the homeowner provides us with lodging, electricity etc. So along with our “real jobs” we have our “other” responsibilties. We get to meet and play with so many great dogs and cats and live in such beautiful homes that at times I can’t believe it. It’s one of the best things we’ve ever done.
But, it can also take time. Some weeks we spend more time on the house sitting responsibilities than on our paying jobs, but both still have to get done and that can make for long days. Being business owners and house sitters means that we’re on call at all times, 24/7. Is it easy? No. Does it allow us the freedom to travel indefinitely? So far. Would we trade it for an office job? No way.
Having multiple jobs and responsibilities, constantly looking for our next paying job as well as our next house sit, being on call all the time and trying to solve issues while constantly on the move is incredibly stressful and sometimes wears us down. But those walks on the beach, that stroll around town, that day lounging by the pool? Well, we’re able to do those things because we work hard the rest of the time and we believe that’s a pretty good exchange.
So, we do actually work, we just rarely show you or talk about it here because who wants to hear about someone else’s job? I know I don’t and I’m guessing you don’t either so I promise you – next post we’ll get back to fun stuff.