A Holiday from our Vacation – House-sitting in France
The moment I told Jordan that I wanted to visit three sites on the same day while we were in Barcelona, he threw himself face down on the bed, arms down by his sides, and refused to move. It was precisely at that moment that I knew we had reached a tipping point – him wanting to relax and move slowly through each place, and me wanting to take advantage of each and every moment to see everything there was to see in the places we were staying in – I had finally lost.
So I started looking into compromises and solutions to our little problem. I knew he needed to just relax for a bit, re-energize, and we’d be good to go on, so I set about finding us the perfect holiday from our year long vacation.
I know it sounds counter intuitive, but we’ve both often said that this feels just as labour-intensive as a full time job would. We don’t feel relaxed, we aren’t sleeping in until all hours and then casually starting our day. No, we’re researching where to go next, booking tours, booking hotels, booking flights, booking buses, planning, budgeting, and blogging (which often gets ignored because it’s the last of a long list of to-do’s). We often get home from a day of exploring so exhausted that we just pass out. Not exactly what you picture when you think of a honeymoon!
So when I read about house-sitting I knew it would be the perfect escape, and I kept it in my back-pocket as a possible thing to bring out, a silver bullet, for the moment that I had anticipated, where Jordan would finally have had enough.
That night in Barcelona I spent the evening researching housesitting, how to write a good housesitting profile, messaged a few friends asking them to provide references for us (thanks Chris, Dave & Oliver!), and sent out a bunch of inquiries. The next morning I had several replies and scheduled a phone call with someone in France who needed us to come take care of their boxer and two cats for 11 days. We spoke on the phone and clicked – we both were fans of positive reinforcement training with dogs and she loved that we understood the need to keep a dog tired to keep them happy – so after a pleasant phone call that ended with her saying “Yes” to us being her housesitters, we hung up the phone and began to plan our trip over there.
We spent 11 delightful days doing very little. A couple days we just spent them binge watching netflix and taking breaks in between to walk the dog, feed the cats and water the plants.
We wandered the local farmers market, explored a couple towns that were nearby, Jordan got a haircut, and I ordered a replacement hard drive for the one that had broken in Bordeaux. We had use of their car and were able to get groceries and venture further afield with the dog in tow. We barbecued. We lounged in the sun. We relaxed, the way you’d imagine a honeymoon to be. And we did it in a gorgeous 3 bedroom house on the border of Switzerland in France, for a whopping $8.40/night (the TrustedHousesitters.com membership is $84.00 with a coupon code, so for 10 nights, that’s what it works out to).
At the end of it all, we tidied up, drove to the nearest airport (Geneva), hopped on a plane to Prague excited (genuinely excited) to be out exploring again. House-sitting has changed the way I look at travel – when ever we want to relax, take a break, and just soak in a place I’ll be logging back on to that site- there are house-sits available all over the world for periods of a weekend to several months. Some in vineyards, some in city-central apartments – and not all with pets to care for. With the price of accommodation eating so much of our budget up, we’d be silly to pass up a good house sit in the future!