A key piece of the digital nomad lifestyle falls into place when you discover how to travel the world rent free by house sitting.
This guest post is contributed by Ros Cuthbertson. Ros and her husband, Alan, have just returned to their base in Chiang Mai, Thailand after 5 exciting months of House Sitting in London and Beyond. Both Australians in their 50s, Ros and Alan lead two very different lifestyles: for most of the year they enjoy living in the city of Chiang Mai, but, like us, they also have learned how to travel the world rent free by house sitting in locations around the globe.
Have you ever wanted to travel but found the price of accommodation out of reach? We have discovered how to travel the world rent free. How do we do it? By house sitting . . . a way to stay in places we’ve only dreamed about, meet some of the sweetest pets, and enjoy the local environment with an insider perspective.
Our housesitting assignments have taken us to countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Manila, England and Scotland. Next year we hope to include the USA, Canada and South America to this ever-growing list of housesitting destinations.
This year we had 10 house sitting assignments across England and Scotland. We were surprised by the quality of the accommodation. Every house and apartment we stayed in was so beautifully decorated, that we couldn’t believe our luck. With well-appointed kitchens and laundry facilities, we saved money on eating out and laundry costs.
House sitting is a winner for both parties. The home owner can relax knowing that their pets and home are being cared for, while saving dollars on kennel fees. House sitters save money on accommodation while experiencing life as a local in a different country.
Leading such a transient life we miss pet company. House sitting gives us the chance to have animals in our life and it gives us so much pleasure. We leave a little of our heart at every house sit.
House Sitting Highlights
We visited many wonderful places during our 5 months stay in the United Kingdom. Here are just a few of the experiences we had while house sitting.
At Brightwell Baldwin, we had the pleasure of looking after two energetic cats that enjoyed romping through the fields.
Brightwell Baldwin is a pretty chocolate box village in Oxfordshire. This small village is home to a charming 13th century church and traditional country Inn. We spent many nights at the Lord Nelson Inn, warming ourselves up by the fire, chatting with the friendly locals while sampling traditional English dishes.
We strolled through picture postcard landscapes. We passed lambs playing in the meadows, the golden glow of the rapeseed fields created a patchwork as farmland stretched out to the horizon. The thatched roof houses and ancient stone churches of nearby villages were the embodiment of English rural life.
The Thames Path takes in the 184-mile journey of the River Thames from source to sea. We hiked a stretch of the Thames Path from Benson to Wallingford.
At this location, the River Thames is a peaceful stream that flows past riverside properties and shaded woodland. We had the chance talk to narrowboat owners who are loving their life on the river. We admired swans as they drifted peacefully downstream and we looked on in wonder as tall church spires welcomed us to the ancient market town of Wallingford.
In London, we met two inside cats that loved playing games, cuddles and food.
London was a dream come true. We picked up the Thames Path near St Pauls Cathedral. Here we found a very different River Thames from the peaceful stream in Oxfordshire, the river is wide with a fast running current and busy with tourist and commercial river traffic.
Stepping into St Pauls Cathedral was breathtaking. The tombs and memorials of some of English history’s most legendary characters are enclosed within the richly decorated arches and domes of this magnificent cathedral.
We crossed over the Millennium Bridge and continued along the Thames Path to the Tate Modern Gallery and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. We passed traditional pubs and tourist attractions until we crossed over London Bridge and walked down to the Tower of London.
At the Tower of London, friendly Beefeaters (Yeoman Guards of the Tower) take you on a journey through the Towers bloody history. For those who love all things that glitter, the display of England’s Crown Jewels will dazzle you with their splendour. From the Tower of London we crossed the Tower Bridge and marvelled at the views of the river Thames.
On the Black Isle we looked after 4 cats and a dog. Surrounded by fields and woodland our crew enjoyed daily adventures.
The Black Isle is located just outside of Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. We always think of Scotland as a land of mystery and with views of the snow dusted Ben Wyvis mountain and the dark waters of the Cromarty Firth, our house sit was truly magical.
The Black Isle is beautiful, home to many cottage industries including the Black Isle Brewery, who makes an award winning organic beer. Wind swept fishing villages such as Cromarty invite you to discover a history that is lost in time while enjoying the charming shops and restaurants that use the very best local produce.
We discovered the mysterious beauty of Loch Ness. We took a nostalgic ride on a steam train on the Strathspey Railway at Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. Visited the battlefields of Culloden and the historic battlements of Fort George.
Our Life in Chiang Mai
We made the move to Thailand two years ago. The decision to leave Australia, our family and friends was daunting, but living in Chiang Mai has allowed us to lead life to the fullest and we have absolutely no regrets.
Chiang Mai is a good city to live in. Apartment and home rentals are much cheaper compared with Australia and the cost of living gives us a good quality life.
Chiang Mai’s expat population include Australians, Americans, English and Canadians so it is easy to make friends that speak the same language, and form a great support group when you are new to the city.
One of the things I love about Chiang Mai are the Buddhist temples (Wats). Walking into these sanctuaries of peace, the beauty and mystical glow of the of the golden Buddhas, the walls in rich shades of royal blue, scarlet, gold and the glitter of the multi coloured mirrors that decorate the temple dragons, always leaves me breathless.
Another love is the markets, the hustle and bustle of motorbikes and trolleys, the calls of vendors selling their wares. The heady perfume of jasmine that leads you to the Flower Market. Discovering new and exotic local produce, while watching in wonder as live fish, eels and frogs wait to be sold.
Chiang Mai has many festivals throughout the year, the most famous is the Yi Peng Lantern Festival which is held in November. Chiang Mai is in a party mood as paper lanterns are lit and released in their thousands, filling the cities night sky as they float off into the heavens, an unforgettable sight to see.
Between travelling the world house sitting and living in the vibrant city of Chiang Mai, life is never boring.
Bio: Rosalind is co-owner of travel blog Frequent Traveller. An avid traveller with many years travel experience. Rosalind and her husband Alan believe that age is no barrier to travel. Dividing time between her base in Thailand and exploring more of what the world has to offer. Ros has a wealth of knowledge on popular travel destinations and is often asked to contribute to leading travel magazines.
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