We love hearing stories from others who live a similar life to us. In July 2020, we chatted with Sarah and Nate a house sitting couple from Portland, Oregon! We learnt about their way of life, how they ended up helping raising goats and how COVID has effected their house sitting plans and much much more!
Hey Guys! Tell us a little bit about yourselves
Hi! We are Sarah and Nate from Portland, Oregon. Both of us have worked as preschool teachers for over 10 years. Nate is a musician and a fan of unusual foods and Sarah is a watercolor artist and ex-circus aerialist. Because of our teaching schedules, we have been mostly limited to pet sits in and around Portland, and mostly during the summer months, but we are experienced travelers and are excited to petsit in other countries.
How many housesits have you completed and where?
We’ve probably done a few dozen pet sits over the last couple of years. We had done it previously as well but in a more unofficial way via friends and family. Mostly just in Oregon and Washington. We had plans to leave for a 6 month Europe petsitting trip starting June of 2020 but that has been put on hold now due to Covid-19. That was a bit crushing as we had been planning for it for over a year but we still plan on following through with it as soon as things are safe and travel opens up.
Want to Live or Travel for Free?
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Why do you housesit? What is your main motivation?
The main reason we housesit and petsit is because we do A LOT of traveling and so cannot have pets ourselves. Petsitting allows for us to get to enjoy the company of critters of all kinds as well as allowing us a more affordable and local way of traveling.
How did you find out about housesitting?
I think the way we initially discovered housesitting was through a suggestion of my mother’s, actually. We were pretty boggled that we hadn’t thought of it before, haha! We know find our house sitting assignments by looking at the best house sitting websites in USA!
What’s been the biggest adventure so far?
The biggest adventure so far might be the one Sarah is currently in the middle of! Though it isn’t technically petsitting, it is someone we met through petsitting. We farmsat for them some time ago and then Sarah was invited back during goat kidding season to learn the ins and outs of pregnant goats, births, milking, and milk processing. By the time it’s over Sarah will have spent two weeks on the farm delivering goats and helping out with the other animals. So far it’s been a magical and educational experience!
Pros of housesitting
Meeting and hanging out with cute animals! Also not having to pay for lodging while traveling, as well as making new friends. We’ve made a handful of wonderful friends through petsitting!
Cons of housesitting
There’s always the chance that you’ll end up in a home that isn’t your idea of comfortable, or with a pet who isn’t your idea of well behaved. But we have had very few of these!
How do you decide on a destination?
Choosing a destination is so hard! Especially since there are a couple of places we’ve traveled to in the past that we desperately want to revisit. Old favorites or exciting new places?! As of now we are trying to choose places that we haven’t been.
How much luggage do you travel with?
We usually travel pretty light, especially since Sarah will never miss a chance to pop into a thrift shop.
Have you ever have any unusual pets to take care of or responsibilities that were out of the norm?
No, but we REALLY REALLY want to petsit some unusual pets!
What is your favorite housesitting experience to date and why?
Our favorite housesit so far was probably a catsit we did in Hawaii for a month. Obviously enjoying the beautiful hikes and beaches was a big part of it but Sarah also spent part of every day volunteering at two different farm animal sanctuaries on the island and, though it was hard work, it was also very fulfilling.
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?
We tend to only apply for housesits that we are certain we can do and we have gotten very lucky getting accepted to all the ones we have applied to, including our very first one! We are actually still in contact with our first ever TrustedHousesitters housesit, and go down to farmsit for them a couple times a year.
Have you had any funny housesitting experiences?
I think the funniest housesitting experience was the time we were farmsitting a small hobby farm and were surprised by two goats having kids while we were there. One of them wasn’t due to kid until after we had left and the other one we didn’t even know was pregnant (the owners miscalculated her due date and didn’t tell us she was pregnant because she wasn’t showing much and they thought she wasn’t due for several more weeks). It was quite the surprise! One gave birth during dinner time and the other in the middle of the night. Luckily Sarah had read up on goat kidding briefly a long time ago and everything ended up fine. Plus we got to snuggle three adorable baby goats for the rest of our stay!
Tips for Others Wanting to get started?
I suppose a tip I would give to someone trying to get started would be to first get some experience petsitting for friends and family, and to keep in mind that different pets require different levels of care, so if you’re doing sits outside of the non-paying websites, make sure you don’t undercharge for your labour. Some animals require a lot, and even if its work you somewhat enjoy, it’s still work and you deserve to be compensated fairly.
Where to next?
EUROPE! We were soooo crushed when Covid-19 cancelled our plans to head to Germany in June. We are playing it very safe but will definitely be continuing on with our plans as soon as we are able to safely do so!
Want to Find More About Sarah and Nate?
Find them on Instagram @adventuresincrittersitting
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