Part 1: Arrival
House sitting assignments vary in length, but they all have a beginning, middle and end. One of the things we like about medium to long assignments is that these parts are pretty distinct and each has something we really enjoy doing.
When we arrive in a new place, especially if it is very different from what we are used to, it takes some time to get oriented. And flying into a foreign country (even driving into Canada) has associated events to handle. There are border crossings, IDs to hand over, questions to answer and money to change, just to name a few.
As soon as we can, we arrange for cell phone service and make sure we are on a good internet service. Neil has become an expert at this and we have had some fun experiences setting up our phones when house sitting in Canada and Australia.
Next comes getting to the house sitting location. Usually we can get pretty close to where we are going, but not everyone lives near an airport. In Western Australia we used taxis, a motel stay and a 6 hour bus trip to get to the little bus stop about ten minutes from “home” and our hosts picked us up there. Combined with crossing the international dateline, it took us four days to get from Hawaii to Kendenup, WA (Australia).
Once at the home it is time to get acquainted, in person, with the homeowners and any animals we will be caring for. These folks then show us the things that need handling in and around their property, introduce us to any key trades people and neighbors, and show us where we will be sleeping and storing our belongings during the house sit.
We usually have a day or two to visit, drive around the area, cook together and ask questions that may arise. Often, we will take the homeowners to the bus or airport.
At this point it can take a week or so to get oriented at our new house sit. We freshen any part of the house that varies from our standards. Everyone has their own level of tolerance for dust bunnies and such. We put away our belongings and stow our luggage (or use it like a dresser). We also head out to the shops to find the groceries and supplies we need.
By week two, we have some locations stored in our GPS and are starting to have an idea of what it will be like to live in our new digs.
The middle of a house sit is all about living in this new area, exploring the unique activities and meeting the locals. We love having spacious time to travel around and see what each place has to offer.