So Long, Scotland

I am so grateful that this journey has brought me back to Scotland. After six months of traveling around and not staying in one place for more than a couple weeks, a whole month in Edinburgh was an absolute dream. Even though Matt was busy with work and didn’t feel the greatest during that time, we still loved our visit to one of the best cities in the world.

Since leaving Edinburgh last week, we’ve enjoyed a whirlwind trip around the highlands, from Fort William to Isle of Skye to Inverness. We saw so much beauty in such a short period of time (including seeing three castles in one day) that I’m still trying to wrap my brain around it all. If you’d been in the car with us, you’d have heard me say, “Oh my god, that’s so pretty!” about a thousand times. The photos give but a glimmer of Scotland’s magnificence. It’s beyond belief.

For the past few days, we’ve slowed things down again at a lovely housesit near Forfar. This is my first time sitting for kitty with a disability, and he’s just the sweetest thing since Jammie Dodgers. He’s also reminded me to be grateful for things I take for granted like my relative health, mobility, and freedom from pain. This housesit has also given me the opportunity to care for an amazing garden, and I’m already feeling inspired to grow a few things of my own.

As it turns out, it won’t be too long until I can actually have a garden of my own! Matt and I have taken some concrete steps forward in his Canadian immigration journey, so we’re feeling encouraged as the questions about our future begin to be answered. When we return to Canada, we’ll spend the month of June primarily in Halifax before we move to Prince Edward Island. Though living in rural PEI will be a huge change from what I’m used to, it will be a place to call home, near my family, where Matt and I can be together. Not too shabby, eh?

By tomorrow we’ll be on the road again, back to England and Matt’s hometown of Lancaster. For now I am feeling refreshed and grateful for my return visit to Scotland, as we’ve had a chance to relax, hang out with friends, and see so much more of the amazing scenery that this incredible part of the world has to offer. This isn’t goodbye, Scotland; it’s just so long.

-Janice

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Some Days Are Just Pyjamas and Laptops

We’ve been in Edinburgh for two weeks, and we’ll be here for a couple weeks yet. This is for sure one of my favourite cities in the world for so many reasons. It’s where I came on my first solo overseas journey, which was a huge accomplishment for me. Also, have you seen the place?

I’m so grateful to my past self for booking this month-long visit, as I haven’t stayed put for so long since I left Canada seven months ago. Being with Matt after a year of long distance has been so great, but we’ve both found it tough to have a complete lack of routine and no home.

Matt and I just want to be in the same place, you know? This trip started as a test run to see where we might want to live – visiting countries like Czech Republic and Germany where I could get a Working Holiday Visa. But Brexit has made living and working in the EU a bit tricksy.

So, our current plan is for Matt to immigrate to Canada. It will require a lot of time, money, and effort to get it sorted. But it’s the first step toward a more grounded life together. It doesn’t mean that we’ll never live in the UK or Europe, but Canada will be our home base for now.

Of course, we’ve still got two months left on our nomadic journey, where we’ll see more of Scotland, England, Wales, and Belgium. We’ve got a lot of really cool things planned over that time, but we’ve also got a lot of Game of Thrones to watch, too. It’s all about balance.

I am thankful for this time of life, while also recognizing how challenging it’s been. I wanted to share some impressive pictures or stories, but not every day can be a visit to Stonehenge. Some days are just pyjamas and laptops. And that’s probably as it should be.

-Janice

Where in the World Is Janny Sandiego?

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?”

Over the holidays, we were lucky enough to enjoy this incredible view in Minehead!

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.

  • Jan. 5 to 12Brighton* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Jan. 12 to 17 Southampton 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Jan. 17 to 31Stamford* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Jan. 31 to Feb. 15Leeds* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Feb. 16 to 23 Leafield* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Feb. 23 to 25Southampton 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Feb. 26 to Mar. 8Brighton* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Mar. 8 to 10Southampton 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • Mar. 10 to April 7 Edinburgh 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
  • April 7 to 10 – Scottish Highlands 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
  • April 10 to 15 Forfar* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿
  • April 15 to 18 – Lake District 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • April 18 to 29 Preston* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • April 29 to May 3 – Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿
  • May 3 to 19 – Leeds* 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • May 19 to 23Stratford-upon-Avon 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿
  • May 24 to June 2Brussels* 🇧🇪
  • June 2 to 3 Paris 🇫🇷
  • June 3Halifax 🇨🇦

Updated Feb. 8, 2019. Asterisks = house-sits.

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!

-Janice

Why Catsitting is Awesome

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.”

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As a Nova Scotian (and Outlander fan), of course I needed to visit Scotland.

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:

  1. 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.)
  2. I didn’t have any money. Free or cheap accommodation was fairly essential.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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This lap (and look of love mixed with disdain) could be yours!

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.

-Janice