Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Livin' for free

Living in East Finchley, UK.

Thanks to the internet, there are ways to find places to live without cost. Well, without paying money at least.

We discovered in about mid-2013 that web sites exist for just this sort of thing. Thanks to clever folks who had a great idea, there is now a way to connect people who have home, and often pets, that need to be watched while they are away with folks who are interested in helping them out. So if you are responsible, clean, and enjoy pets, that is made to order.

This means that if you can afford to travel, you're good. Living is free and your only cost is food which you'd have at home anyway. There is of course the issue of transportation. Even if you are in a large city (like London), there is always a transportation cost. If you visit a city, buses and trains are relatively cheap, but out in the country, renting a car can be a hurdle. Nevertheless, housing is free and you get a kitchen for cooking to hold the cost of eating down.

Viewed in the right way, this becomes a real opportunity for travel. The key here is that many folks are looking for sitters for extended periods, usually weeks, often months, sometimes for a year. This change in scale changes the calculation.

If you intend to travel to another country and spend weeks or months there, then it quickly becomes clear (especially in a city like London, Paris, Rome, etc.) that accommodations are the really expensive part. This make sitting quite an attractive way to see the world.

Fidolene in her usual state of eagerness for a walk in her farmhouse in the Loire valley.
If you think this is an interesting way to travel, there are many resources to explore for opportunities. Here are a few of the ones we use:
You can see that we have a preference for places that speak english although several list places all over the world.

Armed with this collection of resources, we have been examining our options. We've spent time in England, France, Canada, and the US. At Christmas, we are planning on a couple weeks in Stockholm.

And when we are both retired, we are taking the big step. We both have visas approved for an extended say in Australia. (UPDATE: we also now have plane tickets!) We have a house sit (no pets) lined up starting in July '16 in Toowoomba, Queensland. We are planning to find more sits in Australia and make an extended stay.

We are going to buy a car and explore the the entire continent. Since we will sell the car when we leave, the big expense is now airfare. Yes, flying to Australia is expensive but a couple plane tickets and a cheap car one a year are less expensive than house payments.

Did I mention that we are selling our house?

We're going to go homeless!

In for a penny, in for a pound...