Recently, we had a chat with Els. She has jut completed two house sit in Greece and is hooked on house sitting.
Below you’ll learn how Els got her start and where she will be heading next!
Tell us a little bit about yourself – who are you, where are you from, for, do you do it full-time or sporadically
I’m Els, 54 years ago born in The Netherlands, I’ve three grown up independent kids. In 1993 I graduated from the Royal Military Academy and worked for a short time as an officer in the medical corps.
I have had dogs most of my life. I also had chicken, cats and some birds, hamster and rabbit.
The army gave me the opportunity to go and study Healthcare Management at the University which I did. Long story short: after my three kids were born I decided to follow my heart and become a professional massage therapist.
I specialised in oncology and terminally ill people. I was passionate about this and worked besides my own massage practice in a hospital as a volunteer for two days a week on an oncology ward.
That’s my passion, helping terminally ill, dying people, it’s beautiful, rewarding work. After my divorce in 2019 I lost my office and had to find a paid job to pay the bills and to survive.
I started working in the same hospital as a surgery planner. February 2022 I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was completely exhausted, so I quit my job and decided to follow my heart.
On the first of April I drove to Greece with my car. I worked in Corfu, Santorini and Kos for food and boarding. I travelled the mainland, visited beautiful places and since June 2022
I’m most of the time house sitting in Lipsi, a little island in the aegean sea, Greece.
Why did you do petsitting? What is the primary motivation?
It gives me the opportunity to keep travelling and be free and at the same time I help other people, the animals, I keep the house safe, tidy and inhabited. I love animals and a life without them is hard to imagine…
How many housesits have you had and where?
´ve done two different housesits in Lipsi Island Greece. I’m asked by friends of my current hosts to take care of their house on another island in May.
How did you find out about housesitting?
I was asked by people, I know, to take care of their house. It was completely new and the owners wanted the first inhabitant to give a good energy to the house.
They thought I would be the perfect woman to do that. That was a beautiful gift!
I helped them out by preparing the house for the summer rental by preparing it and doing a really good cleaning as they had problems finding a cleaner.
What’s been the biggest adventure so far?
Just leaving everything behind and starting a new life not knowing where it will take me. I don’t know where I will be after the 15th of May.
It’s freedom in a way and it is also a bit scary sometimes if I allow my mind to take over, worrying about money, what to do etc.
So the biggest adventure is about letting go of the illusion of being in control.
How do you decide on a destination?
Well mainly it’s following my heart, things that just pop up. Now I have a strong pull towards the South West of France, les Pays de Cathars. So I’m looking for place there for summer or autumn.
How much luggage do you travel with?
I’m travelling with my car and a full camping equipment. It enables me to be free to move around. Camping saves me a lot of money when I’m travelling and also gives me the opportunity to stay in my own place when I’m volunteering and the accommodation is not nice, clean or too crowded.
Pros of House Sitting?
It enables me to travel, live and do what I have to do at this time: learning a lot about myself, healing myself.
I experience different ways of life and living, I love to meet and interact new people. At the moment I stay on a tiny island where I’m integrated in a small community where life is so different from the busy life in The Netherlands.
I really like that. Life is so simple but beautiful here, the sea, animals, nature, friends. What more do we really need?
Living with animals and taking care of them is a big joy for me. Also I help people with giving them massages which I love to do.
Cons of House Sitting?
Sitting Don’t really know yet…. but I can imagine if the demands or expectations of sitters and hosts are out of alignment.
Was it hard for you to secure your first housesitting gig? How many applications did you have to send before you got accepted for your first assignment?
It was thrown into my lap. Didn’t need to apply.
Did you ever have any unusual pets to take care of or responsibilities that were out of the norm?
No, just cats and one house I just had to take care of and inhabit.
Where to next (when you can)
I’m also thinking about driving from Greece through Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia towards Italy and then France or first towards he Netherlands through Austria , Switzerland and Germany. I’ll see what comes and then decide. So I’m open for all the beauty that comes my way!
Having said that if another option anywhere in the world is presented to me and it makes my heart sing, I’m open for it!
Want to try House Sitting As Well?
There are thousands of opportunities to house sit around the world!
Check out the resources for getting started as a house sitter here.
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