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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

Stay Extra Days with Your Homeowners and Make Lifelong Friends

Galmpton House

Galmpton House

DSC_0005 (2)October, 2016, I rang the doorbell on a charming Galmpton Village home, high on a hill overlooking lush horse fields in southern England. Pretty terra cotta pots brimming with flowers and vines perched on every surface, creating a fragrant obstacle course to the front door. I marveled at how we came to be here. Two months prior, simply by typing words on my computer, these lovely people were about to welcome us in, sight unseen, (with the exception of one skype call), to be responsible for their home and pets for the next three weeks.

We already felt the connection with the British homeowners. When Anna first read my letter of introduction two months earlier on TrustedHouseSitters.com, she excitedly answered back, wanting to Skype right away. We did, and all fell into a conversation that felt like old buddies, comfortable and at ease.

Can becoming friends be that easy? The answer is a resounding “Yes.” And so spending time with homeowners before or after your house sitting assignment is a natural progression.

Not every house sitting assignment finds you getting all warm and fuzzy with the homeowners, but it’s natural to feel some connection. After all, that’s much of why a house sit is appealing. You feel similarities with the homeowner. Their furniture looks like yours. Their pets are a breed you like. Or their landscaping reminds you of home. That’s a good thing. Recognizing similarities between you and the homeowner practically guarantees a successful house sit, something seasoned house sitters pay close attention to.

How does it happen then, this staying extra days before or after the house sit? Sometimes the homeowners ask you to stay, and sometimes you pose the question. The topic may be about getting to know each other better, or a matter of logistics. Time before the assignment is always allocated for learning about the home and pets. This may take a few hours to a few days, depending on the unique qualities of the home. Before the house sit begins is generally when you’ll spend extra days enjoying company with your homeowners, too. On extra days you may all keep to your own separate daily schedules, or you may tour the area together, the homeowners as tour guides.  

Each assignment is so very different, so I asked four groups of travelers to offer up their experience.

Andrew and ChristopherAndrew and Christopher say:

“We definitely prefer to spend a night beforehand to get to know them & their pets. It’s also a great opportunity for the pets to feel comfortable around us whilst the owner is still there – sort of giving us permission to be there. Always great to share a meal together and get to know them a bit more & find out about their trip. One sit we went a few days earlier and helped out with dog walking, etc., as they were frantic getting ready to leave. At the end of the sit, one night would be the max we would stay I think as want to let them settle back into their own home.”

Andrew’s Site

 

This story from Patricia doesn’t fit topic exactly, but shows another adorable aspect of making friends while house sitting.

 

PatriciaPatricia Says:

“I made a lifelong “BFF” in Zyla the therapy dog I pet sat for. In the year and a half since my two week house sit ended we have hiked all over New England, spent Thanksgiving together, went trick or treating, had sleepovers with my friends dogs and she is now our most popular member of my hiking. I was away pet sitting for the winter and her owner Joan called me several times to ask when I was coming back. Zyla was “moping around and missed me.” Indeed Zyla’s photos on Facebook did show her looking a bit depressed. As soon as I got back to New England I drove up to see Zyla and I wasn’t alone. My father and three friends came from all over the state just to hang out with our favorite dog. Zyla was beyond ecstatic to see her BFF and perhaps one day Zyla’s owners will win the lottery and hire me as Zyla’s full time minder. What a perfect life!”

Patricia’s Profile

 

AshleyAshley says:

We have definitely made life-long friends with homeowners — this may have been a very special situation — after the house sit we rented the homeowners casita for a month at a fantastic price until we chose to travel elsewhere. We were able to borrow their car to go grocery shopping and sometimes cooked dinner together. We’ll be house sitting for this wonderful couple again later this year. I joke that they’re now on our Christmas card list.”

 

Ashley’s Website

 

 

FionaFiona says:

We’ve got one of our homeowners from Melbourne coming to stay for a few nights with us in the UK after keeping in touch. They had our daughter for Christmas Day last year and we met up with them again in Melbourne in January for a long lunch. We generally arrive the day before but often leave the day the homeowner arrives back. We’ve learned not to go straight to another sit unless it’s close by, as a homeowner missed a flight and we had to cover both old and new sit.”

 

Fiona’s Profile

 

 

We toured dramatic Pompeii while in Italy visiting our past homeowners

We toured dramatic Pompeii while in Italy visiting our past homeowners

Lifelong friends

Lifelong friends Cristiana & Enzo in Salerno, Italy

And finally, Conrad and I spent a week in Italy recently with homeowners for whom we house sat back in 2011. We had kept in touch, checking in about work and families, and they continued to extend an open invitation to come visit. So we did. The time spent with them was one of the sweetest highlights of our 8-month adventure around the world.

DSC_0054 (2)We house sitters and homeowners are doing our part, one connection at a time, to bring compassion to the world. Not only that, but we’re fostering cultural understanding – a super-valuable commodity in today’s world.

 

 

 

Click here for more house sitting tips and inspiration.

Wishing you safe and happy travels always and all ways,

~Josie~

Contributors

Andrew and Cristopher:

http://www.globalwanderers.com/

Bio: “We own an apartment in Sydney where we both lived together for 12 years prior to starting our house sitting adventures in May 2016.  It has allowed us to further explore this great wide world of ours, taking the time to create memorable experiences as we meet lots of different people (and adorable pets) along the way.  House sitting is the perfect opportunity to get to know a place and ‘live like a local’.  We are loving the freedom of the nomadic lifestyle and the variety of opportunities it provides, living in places we would never have dreamed possible!  We are open to all possibilities and believe that ‘what is meant to be, will be’.”

Patricia:

https://www.housesittersamerica.com/s/ideal-sitter

Bio:I am a currently a virtual health coach as well as a full-time online paralegal student so I can live and work from anywhere in the United States. Prior to launching my health coaching business, I spent over 10 years working in the social services field as an Executive Director, a Suicide Prevention Counselor, and Health Care Analyst. Additionally, I am a former “foster parent” for rescue kittens and “cat cuddler” for the humane society so I can understand the important role pets play in a family.”

Ashley:

Ashley’s Website

Bio: Ashley is exuberant about location independence! She relishes new experiences and learning to cook new dishes. She’s always thinking about design and food… check out where she and her partner will travel next on Blissy Life!

Fiona:

https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/house-and-pet-sitters/united-kingdom/england/northampton/l/41470/

“I housesit solo and with my husband domestically and internationally (especially avoiding the grey British winters) as a way of seeing the world and stretching our horizons following early retirement from nursing and teaching. We love the variety and challenges that housesitting brings into our lives. Most of all we really like living like locals and throwing ourselves into a new community albeit temporarily.”

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8 Responses to “Stay Extra Days with Your Homeowners and Make Lifelong Friends”

  1. Thanks so much for featuring me in this wonderful article! I realize I was a bit off topic but I am very happy I met my dog BFF from house sitting.

    April 29, 2017 at 9:21 pm Reply
    • Hi Patricia and Welcome,
      Happy to have you here. Thank YOU for your fun contribution.
      ~Josie

      April 30, 2017 at 9:43 pm Reply
  2. What a great post! It struck me as sowing seeds of friendship as you move from one assignment to another. I guess there are also some homeowners and housesitters who aren’t as social:-)
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..San Gusme: Serendipitously finding the most charming small town in ItalyMy Profile

    May 1, 2017 at 9:40 am Reply
    • Hi Irene,
      I LOVE “sowing the seeds of friendship!” Yes, that’s it exactly.
      And your other point is true, too. Not every assignment results in lifelong friends.
      Josie

      May 1, 2017 at 7:01 pm Reply
  3. I found this very interesting. We just did our first house sit for a friend of a friend. We didn’t stay with them before or after because we visited my sister who lived in the same city, but we did meet and visit with the home owners and that was great. We’re hoping to do more house sitting. I think connections made between owners and sitters must be one of the highlights of the experience.
    Donna Janke recently posted..Canada’s Oldest ChinatownMy Profile

    May 1, 2017 at 6:43 pm Reply
    • Hi Donna,
      Congratulations on your first house sit. And yes you are right that the connections made with homeowners is a highlight of the experience. After all, they are locals from whom we learn a great deal — politics, customs, the real picture of what it means to live is a place. It’s very different to hear about a place from a homeowner as opposed to hearing it from a tour guide.
      Josie

      May 1, 2017 at 7:05 pm Reply
  4. What a great idea and it makes perfect sense! I really enjoyed reading your post!!
    Marilyn Jones recently posted..Sunrise, Sunset, Life in the South African BushMy Profile

    May 4, 2017 at 8:38 pm Reply
  5. Interesting post, we’ve made lifelong friends with some homeowners and others turned out to be not very nice people.
    It is nice when things go well and there’s a good connection from the start.

    May 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm Reply

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