What’s been going on since we last communed, dear reader?
Well, most importantly, cat sitting! We’ve started a period of near-continuous and full-time house sitting, which has been incredible so far. The hosts are all so gracious and kind, the homes are warm and welcoming, and the cats are SO! DAMN! CUTE! 😻
Forgive me if I sound like a skipping record, but if you’ve considered house sitting, just do it! It’s possibly the best way for animal lovers to travel – especially here in the U.K. where boatloads of new sits are posted daily. I’m so grateful for these amazing opportunities.
Of course, this time hasn’t all been roses. A big reason why I’ve been a bit scarce lately is the intense grief that’s accompanied the first anniversary of my dad’s death. I’ve done a lot of writing and ruminating in private to work through some of this stuff, but I just want to thank everyone who’s held me up during this time. You’re all stars. 💕
On a lighter (and existentially related) note, my birthday is coming up! Forgive my gratuitous wish solicitation, but if you wanna put an easy smile on my face year after year, all you have to do is add January 28 to your calendar. You’re welcome. 🎂
One of the hardest parts of living out of a suitcase – besides actually lugging around said suitcase – is keeping my friends and family up-to-date on my whereabouts. The most common question I get after “How are you?” is: “Where in the world are you?”
To help keep you guys in the loop, I’ve put together this schedule of our whereabouts over the next few months. I’ll try to keep it updated, so feel free to bookmark this post and check back.
We have organized house-sits and places to sleep right up until it’s time to fly back to Canada via Paris. But there’s always room for improvisation, so I’d love to hear your recommendations for places we should visit!
How do you deal when things don’t go according to plan? 🤔
Over a decade ago, when I was struggling with my career and future in general, I decided to take the Myers-Briggs personality test. There are many simplified versions of the test online, and it can be a fun and insightful way to learn more about yourself and suitable life paths.
In case you’re unfamiliar, there are four basic measures that exist on a spectrum:
Introversion / Extraversion – do you feel exhausted or energized by social time?
Intuition / Sensing – do you listen more to your gut or your trusted five senses?
Feeling / Thinking – are you an empath like Deanna Troi or an android like Mr. Data?
Perception / Judgment – do you wing it or do you prefer to review blueprints of the wing?
The first time I took the test, I was an ENTJ. More recently, I’ve become an INFJ. I’ve always been very close to the middle on the first three measures, but on the final one? I’m a Hard J. Rather than jumping in head first, I like to know what’s in the pond before I dip toe one. I like a plan.
As you can imagine, this has been challenging for me in so many areas of life. Because as it turns out, things rarely go according to plan! And more difficult still, the choices that can lead to the most fulfillment don’t often come with a roadmap. Sometimes you just have to wing it.
And SOMEtimes, you randomly hit your head on a shelf and wind up with a concussion! Sigh. Poor Matty. He’s doing fine and recovering well, but this injury has meant we’ve had to seriously scale back our activities and media consumption to focus primarily on resting.
It reminds me of when I had mono (or glandular fever for my British chums) and I had to spend months in recovery. Tough things happen without our permission, and often outside of our control. But they do provide an opportunity to slow down and practice acceptance. 👌😑👌
It’s been a long three months of travel, and to have an excuse to slow things down hasn’t been such a bad thing. Matt and I have made some great memories, but living out of a suitcase isn’t as glamorous as it may seem. And removing the pressure to be a tourist is kind of a good thing.
We’ll return to the U.K. in just a few days. What we’ve seen of Sweden, though a bit limited, we have really loved. This place seems made for people and community. Plus, as seen above, their ER was near empty when we visited! A sign of a people well cared for? I like to think so.
What’s next? We’ll be visiting Matt’s family over Christmas, followed by housesits all over England, from Minehead to Leeds. And I can’t wait to go back to Edinburgh in March. After that, we’ll just have to wait and see… which, I assure you, makes me deeply uncomfortable. 😭
I went on my first solo international trip in June of 2016. I’d spent a lot of time considering ways I could afford this, since at the time I was living on my own and working for a not-for-profit… that is to say, I didn’t have a lot of disposable income.
So, I did what all clever millennial-types do: I turned to Google for help! The search history would probably read something like, “how to travel when you’re broke” or “tricking the universe into throwing you a bone” or “spring break for 30-year-olds.”
As is its wont, Google rendered a million different ideas. Some of the more interesting options for travelling on the cheap were getting a Working Holiday Visa, being an au pair, or WWOOFing. But for me? The most exciting prospect was housesitting.
Here’s how I realized that housesitting was for me:
I was single.This limited what I could afford, but also where I’d feel comfortable travelling and staying on my own. (I’m an independent yet pragmatic woman.)
I didn’t have any money.Free or cheap accommodation was fairly essential.
I hated being a tourist. I mean, I love visiting new places, but I detest doing the tourist song and dance. Living *like a local* as much as I could was the goal for me.
I didn’t enjoy the *travel* part of travelling.Once I’m actually in a place, I have a great time. But the journey itself is often frustrating and always exhausting.
I was kind of obsessed with cats.Refer back to point #1. Now, it’s not that I’m a batty old cat lady, but I certainly appreciate feline companions. 😻
Of all the options I considered, house and catsitting was the most obvious and amazing solution. It offered free accommodation, where you can stay put and really get to know a place, and have some adorable kitty company while you’re there. Purrfect!
Interested in housesitting?I can vouch for the awesomeness of Trusted Housesitters. And if you sign up, please use this link (or code RAF28625) to save 20% off a yearly membership. Plus, you’ll kindly gift me a couple free months for referring you. 🤓
With only two weeks until I hop the pond, I’m getting pretty excited for what’s coming up next… including catsitting in Europe and the U.K. So look forward to hearing more on the subject! And please, don’t just sit there, green with envy – try it for yourself.