Six months in and the launch of our website

    This post was originally published on the 1st July 2018.

    Today marks six months since we began our housesitting journey! Time has flown by and our adventures have exceeded our expectations. For the past couple of months we have been working on expanding how we can share our story, and today seems like a great day for us to launch our website and blog!

    The idea of the website and blog is to share our story and our experience in a bit more detail. We want to share more about our new lifestyle with whoever wants to know more about it!

    Lovely sunset walk in the fields in Rotherfield

    What we’ve learnt in the past six months

    When we first gave up our jobs we didn’t really know what to expect, but we have fitted nicely into this way of life. There have been things during our journey that we’ve had to change – some things we miss but some things we really don’t miss at all!

    We don’t need half of the things we own

    When we left our flat in Brighton we came back to Suze’s parents’ house with boxes and boxes of things. These were all things that we’d “needed” when we were living a 9-5 city life. Six months since our adventures began, most of those boxes still remain unopened. Even when we left for our first couple of housesits (in the Lake District and Scotland) we took far too much with us. The car was jam-packed. Now we have cut out a lot of unnecessary items and can travel a lot lighter!

    Micha trying to hide in all our luggage

    We don’t need to plan too far in advance

    Before we started travelling we wanted to make sure that we had our first few months booked up with back-to-back housesits, so that we always knew we had a place to stay. While that was great for peace of mind in the beginning, we soon realised that there was no need to book housesits so far in advance, and we often found ourselves thinking we could have organised our time much better had we not had so much booked in for the months ahead. There are so many housesits on TrustedHousesitters that we can afford to wait and book places closer to the time, on dates that suit us.

    We also thought at the start of our travels that we should plan every sit to end and begin one immediately after the other. We have since realised that we have so many family members and friends who support us – they are happy for us to stay with them if we have a few days inbetween sits! (Thanks!)

    We can be picky with our housesits

    As with the previous point, we wanted to start our adventure with things planned out. This meant that we chose housesits based on the dates matching up with places we already had booked in. Now we are a bit more selective with the housesits we apply for, and as well as making sure that the dates fit in well with our travels, we also make sure that we’re confident and excited about looking after the animals, and that the location is in a place we really want to visit.

    There are lots of places in the UK that we haven’t visited before

    People keep asking us “When are you going abroad?”, but the truth is that there’s so much more of the U.K. to explore! People often discard the U.K. when thinking of places to go travelling, but from our experience so far it has a lot to offer. We know that it’s not everybody’s idea of adventurous travelling, but we are thoroughly enjoying the beautiful countryside. We still haven’t seen much of the South West, Wales, the Peak District and would like to see more of Scotland. We aren’t in a hurry – so it has been nice to take things slowly.

    It has been cheaper than we first thought

    This is a bit of a bigger story (and one that we will go into more detail about in a later post), but we haven’t been spending much whilst we have been away. We haven’t been starving ourselves but equally we have given up some of the luxuries that we used to spend money on. We are cooking a lot of vegetarian or vegan meals from scratch which saves a lot on an average meal. Pre-packed meals tend to cost a lot more than if you cooked the raw ingredients, and it tastes nicer if you prepare it from fresh yourself! It does help that we now have a lot more time to be able to do this, but we also make sure that we plan our meals in advance and keep to our shopping list when shopping! Suze has been vegetarian for a long time now, but Chris has started cutting down the amount of meat he eats and this has helped us reduce our supermarket bill! We’ve had to be a bit more frugal with things, so using voucher codes, shopping around and hitting the reduced aisles! We don’t eat out or have take-aways that often as we’re enjoying cooking together so much.

    Some of these things are why we say that not everyone can do what we are doing. It does mean sacrificing some things, but we think what we gain from travelling far outweighs what we had when we spent more money!

    We can make money on the road

    One of our worries before we started was that we wouldn’t be able to travel without making money. As said above, we have managed to live cheaper than we thought we would. This has meant that we don’t need to earn as much to sustain ourselves. Having said that, we still do need money to survive. Luckily both of us can work from anywhere. Suze has been sewing for her Etsy shop and Chris has been picking up a few web development projects.

    Jessie helping Chris work

    We are a lot happier

    This was one of the key things that we wanted to achieve when we left our jobs, as we both weren’t happy with how our lives were going. But now we both feel a lot better about ourselves! People keep commenting on how we look happier and more relaxed we look and that is because we are!

    Of course it is easier to feel relaxed when you aren’t working, but it comes down to more than that. We feel that we are now living a life that we want to live. We are comfortable, but we’ve also been stepping outside our comfort zones and experiencing new things on a weekly basis.

    We have a lot of spare time and this is a good thing!

    When we aren’t on walks with dogs or feeding hens and ducks we do have a lot of spare time. When we began we didn’t know what we would fill this time with – would we just be bored? However we have adapted our lives and we now have a lot more time to do things we didn’t have the time or energy for before we quit our 9-5 lifestyle. We still do a lot of things we did before – like watching TV shows and films – but we’re also spending a lot of time doing other things. Chris has been brushing up his Web Development skills and learning more about photography, while Suze has been focusing more on sewing new items or reading new books. We also spend far more time together; playing board games, going running or practising yoga, or talking while we walk in the countryside.

    We don’t want to be travel bloggers

    In the beginning, one of the ways we thought that we could sustain our travels was to become travel bloggers. We started off using Instagram to build a following, but it didn’t take too long for us to realise that this wasn’t how we wanted to spend our time. There is a lot of work involved in being a travel blogger and also a lot of responsibility. We didn’t want that pressure, but also we don’t want to preach to people and tell people how to do things. If you want an adventure you have to do it your way! We are going to blog, but we are simply sharing our adventure and our experience. We are happy to give advice, but we don’t want to dictate how anyone should travel – it’s finding things out for yourself that makes it fun and personal!

    What’s in store for the next six months and beyond?

    For the next six months we want to carry on with what we are currently doing. We feel we are still learning about what we want to gain from this experience all the time. We want to continue to explore places in the UK that we still haven’t visited. We have a couple of housesits already booked in, but other than that we have the rest of the year unplanned.

    Beyond that there are other experiences that we may try; such as camping in between housesits or possibly working on a farm in exchange for accommodation.

    We want to continue to build up this blog and if we can generate a community of people who enjoy reading about our adventure that would be fantastic.

    Ultimately we love what we are doing now. There are plenty of options on what we can do, and we have no intention of stopping any time soon.

    With our good friends, Jyoti and Milai