Running our own landscape garden maintenance business, like a lot of self employed people, this has meant making sacrifices. Long hours, phone calls from clients in the evenings, on the weekend… ALL the time. But this is what you do to keep a roof over your head, really yummy food on the table and be able to drink an occasional glass of wine, ok not occasional, perhaps it’s almost every night! After 30 years of doing this there comes a point when you think, WHY? After two close family bereavements, J & I started to question our work life balance. Something had to give.
As you might have read in my previous post we have been doing some house sitting through Trusted Housesitters. This has been one small way to shake things up. But what we had really wanted was a gap year, but that damn mortgage and business kept getting in the way. As a compromise we began to plan a trip of a life time to Italy. For many years J has wanted to visit the Amalfi coast line. Positano, Priano, Sorrento. Lemons the size of your head. Windy coastal roads. Roman ruins, Pompeii. And being gardeners Monty Don had showed us wonders such as Ninfa Gardens and La Mortella on Ischia to visit, we were sold.
Lots of talking, planning, dreaming and many years on we are finally doing our Italian Road Trip. 6 weeks driving our way down the west coast of Italy to Amalfi, into the heel – Puliga – and back home up the east coast into Le Marche. Now that’s what I call a good compromise!
I will be doing my best to chart our trip here, week by week. This is mainly so I can look back and remember what we did, I seem to have the memory of a goldfish.
It’s been a long time since we owned a dog and when he passed it broke our hearts. Some people won’t understand that losing a pet can be the same as losing a member of the family. And as such we found that we couldn’t bring ourselves to replace him. Time passed and I read a magazine article that got me thinking. let’s take some time out doing a temporary job abroad with accommodation included. My first thoughts were that this was just for student gap years, but not so as it appears that adult gap years are on the rise.
Google provided the answer and after trawling results that were useless (isn’t that always the way!), I found blogs and websites that described a way of escaping. It all sounded so wonderful, but as reality kicked in I realised that a whole year out wasn’t possible. Damn you mortgage! Perhaps there was a way though to have a slice of the gap year cake rather than the whole thing?
There was a way, house and pet sitting. There are websites that allow you to link up with home owners with or without pets who need a trustworthy person to look after things whilst they are away. So this is how to have doggy and cat cuddles without owning them! Yes please, sign me up, so I did.
One of the top sites is www.trustedhousesitters.com. There is a yearly membership fee of £89, but this ensures that owners find pet care from verified sitters (like me) who won’t charge a penny for keeping pets safe & happy at home. Also there is Mind my house which is a great site that costs a lot less at $20, but has fewer members to choose from. There are other sites, but these will keep you busy enough and you can apply to sit anywhere in the whole wide world!
Over the past two years my husband Jason and I have had the pleasure and privilege of sitting 7 times for 5 different home owners, a total of 7 cats and 4 dogs so far. We have loved seeing different parts of the UK and France. Not only have we had some amazing experiences but have met some wonderful people too. I would highly recommend house sitting and we are happily looking forward to our next sit over Christmas in Gloucestershire.
The links I have given to the Trusted House Sitter website will give you 20% off membership. For every one that joins, I will receive 2 free months. Please contact me if the links don’t work and I will send you a code instead.