Guest post by Francien Daniels-Webb who found herself divorced in her 60’s and began house sitting around the world. You can find her through her business, Home Sitters Worldwide.
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My decision to leave my marriage was an instant one, and as luck would have it my husband was on the same page. My role in the marriage had become one more of a carer then a wife, dare I say it – the mother figure he had missed out on. I was 15 years older and at 60 I was over the chaos and, having already raised my three children and taught 1000s of students, it was time for me to move on.
I left the home and virtually everything in it. What he didn’t want I donated to Opportunity Shops or gave away things to those who could use them. Items such as thousands of dollars of quilting must haves. It was unbelievably easy, cathartic and I was thankful for the opportunity to do so. We agreed on a figure he would pay me for the home. It wasn’t much, but it was a cushion to land on.
Plans to build a self-contained granny flat at my youngest daughter’s home was soon ended. My two grandsons have autism as does her husband, so the chaos I had left in my own home would be pushing onto them. Meanwhile their home would be pulled apart with strangers coming into the home to build the granny flat. I made my decision not to do this and let my daughter and her husband know.
So what was I to do? Renting was out of the equation as my part of the pension did not come close to match any place to rent. At midnight, my daughter and I Googled options, with the first coming from nowhere; ‘house sitter‘!
Another life and lifestyle opened before us. It was unbelievable, and I signed up and paid for a year membership, on an Australia only site.
Life is very interesting when you are open to a different way of thinking, and calls to action soon come along. Friends of my daughter came over for a BBQ and I told them I was researching home and pet sitting. The couple faced each other with a grin and voila! Here was my first booking for 2 weeks! One of them would have had to stay home with the dogs and since it was Christmas, family and neighbors were not available.
I applied to owners’ listings and within a few days I was contacted by owners and I soon had the next 6 months booked. Most of these were conveniently back to back. Colleagues at the school where I had worked as a casual relief teacher also booked me to home sit, so within 5 days I was 15 months booked out in Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland, all the way until early 2013.
I decided this was a perfect way to experience the UK and my birth country, the Netherlands. I spent an amazing 133 days between both countries and my inner gypsy was born.
Today I am booked until March 2015 in Edmonton Alberta Canada, the springboard to my travels from Canada to Panama until January 2016. Back to Australia to celebrate my darling daughter’s 40th birthday and then off to enjoy Europe’s Summer in 2016 sitting anywhere I am asked to sit. I have many repeat assignments and I have made very dear friends besides experiencing amazing cultures, foods, cities and villages.
Being constantly in demand I realised this was the opportunity to create my website alongside my daughter who needed to have an escape from her Autism World 24/7. She works on the dashboard when needed and supports the business by promoting the services we provide. We launched our business on the 1st of June 2014, and are promoting Free Membership Trials to both Owners and the Sitters.
I haven’t charged any owner for my services as the release of worldly goods led me to Pay it Forward, but House Sitters Worldwide will eventually support my travels and allow my daughter to earn some pocket money for the first time in 13 years since her boys were born.
If you envy my lifestyle then you are not the first, and my being 63 now proves that you can begin this lifestyle whenever you wish. To be honest, the grey nomads are very appreciated by all ages of home owners.
We can all sit and watch the world and time pass by through our curtains but being part of the growing number of sitters travelling the world will be the very best decision you have made for a long time. Who wouldn’t like to travel and have FREE accommodation?