How can being a House Sitter help you through this crisis?
Over the past few weeks, all house sitters have been thrown into chaos as sits have been cancelled, travel plans have been thwarted and many of us have scrambled to find a place to stay. However, as things begin to settle, being a house sitter is an advantage in the current climate as the world changes drastically daily or even hourly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our house sitting lives up to this point have, in a way, been preparing us for circumstances such as these. Our skills and approach to life can put us ahead of the game as we navigate unchartered territories. Our skillsets and outlook can and will be a great asset. What then are the characteristics of a house sitter that are useful in a crisis situation?
We are adaptable
When house sitting, our lives change every few weeks or months so we are used to adapting and adjusting to our new environs. Admittedly, we now may be in the same place for extended periods but as circumstances change around us, we have the ability (and experience) to adapt to this change and modify our lives accordingly. Getting used to shopping differently or in a new supermarket is part of our regular lives so the current imposed restrictions are just part of our ever changing lives and we have the experience to roll with it.
Working from home/remotely is becoming the new norm – something as nomads we have done for years!
Yoga and meditation can be a great way to remain calm and grounded. Many studios now offer online classes.
We are problem solvers
Solving problems in new homes and locations is part of our every day, sometimes even in languages other than our native tongue. As things change regularly, employing our usual approach of gathering information, making an informed decision and then acting can be a great way to ‘weather the storm.’ In fact as we are essentially grounded, some of our pressing problems have disappeared completely such as finding the cheapest way from A to B or where we are going to stay when we don’t have a sit. Just as we do our due diligence before accepting a sit, that skill can now be useful in determining our everyday lives as we consider a range of possibilities before taking informed action. And don’t forget, this action can also include taking no action at all.
We are resilient
The house sitting lifestyle has its ups and downs and we know that everything doesn’t always go our way or to plan. This resilience, where we pick ourselves up again can help us through this difficult time. We have an understanding that this won’t last forever so if we just hang in there, our lives will no doubt return to some semblance of normality. The concept of a ‘Plan B’ (or even Plan C) is not uncommon as we are used to uncertainty. Just as if we are on a less than desirable sit, we know that unpleasantness will pass and we can endure uncomfortable times – for a while at least.
We are used to working in an online world
As many grapple with Zoom and setting up home offices, for us, communicating digitally is our norm. In fact, online is usually our preferred mode of operation. We are familiar with bandwidth requirements and (usually) understand gigabits and megabits. Really, there is no transition for us but rather the rest of the world is catching up to our way of doing things. In fact, we can even be a resource and help others who may be struggling. Embrace your geekiness!
We embrace opportunities
As house sitters, we never know where our life may take us or where our next house sitting gig may come from. This change in plans is another chance to seize opportunities, whether that be reconnecting physically with family, sorting out the storage space, or in our case, taking the chance to do some renovations on our rental apartment. That paperwork or business affairs you’ve wanted to get in order or the book you’ve been wanting to write – now is the time. Carpe Diem!
We appreciate downtime
One benefit of the current situation, once we are settled, is that we can take advantage of the downtime and reset our lives. Perhaps we will have time to finally learn that new skill, take up a new hobby or even get our blog posts up to date. As we currently don’t have to constantly be on our devices looking for and applying for our next sit, we can enjoy the afternoon nap, partake in regular cocktail hours, do an extra long yoga practice, read a book or whatever it is that allows us to fully relax. A housesitters routine often already includes these activities, sometimes regarded as luxury pursuits. Now they are becoming the norm and reality of almost everyone.
We are community driven
One thing that new house sitters soon discover is the wonderful community that exists around this lifestyle and connecting online with others is a key component. This means we already have a network of people to talk to, ask questions of, and even video chat with to keep grounded. We understand the importance of connection and in these times of social distancing there are still things we can do to build our communities, both physical and virtual. Inventive ways of connecting such as virtual lunches and online trivia games show we are determined to not be isolated. As we settle in to new physical communities we can also be a support network to each other and those around us. An elderly neighbour may need some shopping done, a person working from home may appreciate their pet being walked, or even sharing your experiences with an anxious friend can all be extremely useful to those in times of need.
And don’t forget the homeowners we have already sat for and those we will hopefully sit for in the future. Maintaining communication with owners is an important part of community building. Our experience has been that owners who have had to cancel are still keen for us to sit for them in the future. As we have already established international connections, it is also a good way to find out what is happening ‘on the ground’ in various countries around the world. It has been very heartening to receive emails from owners, past and future who are keen to know what we are doing and how we are adjusting to a new normal. Even some of our social media followers have reached out to find out what full time international travellers do in times like these.
We are minimalist by nature
Living with only a few of life’s luxuries is part of the house sitting lifestyle so there may be no transition required to continue this minimalist way of living. As we see people panic buying and hoarding, our experience has shown us that we only need to buy what is necessary and we can make do with what we have. For those of us who live out of our suitcases, we have all the clothes we need anyhow and can put down roots wherever required – not much has changed. Admittedly we may have the additional expense of rent but we no longer have travel costs or accommodation expenses between sits. Our eating out expenses will also be curtailed as we eat more simple meals at home, including finding creative ways to use leftovers – meat fritters anyone?
I think we all recognise that the world has changed and house sitting in the future may be a little different. During our house sitting lives we have loved the possibility of adventure and change so the coming months and years will be no different. The Chinese meaning for the word crisis is “danger at a point of juncture.” So whilst we live in ‘challenging’ times, it also indicates that it is a turning point. Hopefully that will ultimately mean positive changes for our world and we as house sitters are well positioned to contribute to this positive change. So rest, relax, reset and as we emerge from the crisis in the months ahead may we embrace the opportunities that will no doubt come our way. As house sitters we are well positioned to navigate these changes and use them constructively to hopefully bring about greater world peace and harmony. You’ve got this – hang in there!
One day we will realise the world never ended after all, going with what is, is the name of the game alright.
PS – Your storage is way too tidy!
Worded beautifully! This is the best housesitting piece I have read during this new time in our lives.
We wish you good health and hope to meet you in the future!
Rose & Michael
Thanks Rose and we look forward to crossing paths. We love meeting fellow travellers. Enjoy this slight detour in the road.
Well said and right on! So glad to be part of this community.
We agree Toni – how lucky we are to be part of this fabulous network.
Very good, thoughtful and encouraging article. (I read it in House Sitting Magazine.) Thanks, and best wishes.
Thanks Laura for sharing your thoughts. As this crisis continues, we realise more and more how well positioned nomads and house sitters are. Hope to see you on the road some time once we start travelling again.