Granny Travels as a Full-Time Pet and Housesitter

The ideas behind the Granny Travels site are many actually. And since I started it five years ago, it has evolved until now it is about traveling and housesitting. (Original post is below.)

When I tell people I am Location Independent, it raises eyebrows and opens the door to dozens of questions. And when I say I am a full-time house sitter, they are amazed and want to know more...and more!

“How do you do that? Do you have a base? That is so exciting! I would love to do that?”

I have been house sitting on and off for years, for friends and family, and friends of friends, so for me the concept wasn’t new. But then the recession came along and decimated my life, destroying any ideas I had of keeping my investments and retirement in a traditional sense went out the windows of my non-existent home. I held on for six years, fighting to keep a roof over my head and over my two precious kitties.

Finally the bank won, I found a wonderful home for the kitties and I hightailed it out of the country.

Relying on family and friends for places to stay and companionship, I visited my brothers in South Africa and my sister in New Zealand, pretty much nursing my economic wounds, hiding in a corner, sucking my thumb! While in New Zealand I was offered a housesitting position through a friend back in the States, but unfortunately timing and my visa didn’t mesh.

But it struck a cord with me and not long after that, my sister showed me a video she had seen on Facebook about these two women who were house sitting full time. Skeptical me, I pooh poohed it until I delved in a bit deeper. If they could do it, so could I!

I realized it could be a way for me to keep myself going, live on my tiny Social Security, continue the traveling, photography and writing I love, picking up assignments along the way, while meeting different people after being so isolated for so long. It would be a win-win for everyone concerned - the homeowner would have someone mature and experienced to take care of their pets and home while away, and I would have a place to stay, a new area to explore and surrogate pets to love.

Signing up to join the Housesitting Academy was probably the best thing I have done for myself. As all my past housesitting experience had been by the seat of my pants, I knew I would have to up my game to compete in the marketplace. The Academy course is extensive and Jodi and Nat add and upgrade consistently.

But the best part of all is being part of the Inner Circle, which is a close-knit group on Facebook for graduates of the Academy, providing community for scattered souls. There’s always someone around if there is an issue or you need a sympathetic ear - at any time of the day or night as the group is completely made up of full-time sitters around the world. And although it is only online, because everyone is nomadic, there are meet-ups around the world, which will be fun when I get to go, actually meeting some of the people we have only previously met online.

As I get more sits on my resume, I’m feeling more confident about turning down offers that initially sounded great. Then if red flags pop up during the initial interview, more intuition than hard evidence, I am learning to heed them and turn it down. The flags could be something about the location, or the animals or the homeowner that just doesn’t sit well with me. Better to stay clear than get stuck in a bad situation.

And now that I am planning to buy a campervan, the stress of finding places to stay in between sits will be eliminated so I can be even more selective.

So for those who look at what I am doing and how I am doing it, yes, it is exciting and it is fun. Get the Academy course and go through the modules; there are things in there that really opened my eyes! You will feel confident setting out as a location independent nomad with an international group of friends, ready to lend a helping (digital) hand along the way.

"Original Post

The ideas behind the Granny Travels site are many actually.Well, a few, anyway.

The impetus was my niece Jenni, who decided that she is buying me a ticket to New Zealand for Christmas as a surprise present for Zoze, my sister, who turns 70 this year! And we have to keep it a secret, at least until her birthday in April.

For me, the anticipation and planning around a trip like that is a huge part of the fun and as I can’t blog about it on GrayHairedLady, (Zoze reads it) I thought, why not another blog, just for older people who want to get out and about.

Then it dawned on me that trips don’t have to be big, they can be day trips, or overnights, or as I am doing, making each day an adventure; every foray out of the house will encompass something new, whether it’s a road I haven’t taken before on the way to the grocery store or trying out a new bar a friend discovered. Maybe it will mean stopping at that Indian Heritage Museum I have passed numerous times but never visited.

I am putting on my tourist hat, and visiting my local area to see it through the eyes of a visitor.

And then with my involvement with Harbors Magazine as the editor, the trips I do can add an expanded view of local.

Of course, the planning and preparation for my big New Zealand trip will play a part in this…and once I get there, watch out! Lots of photos and mini trips planned.

So this will evolve, as blogs do and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, creating it.