Recently, we sat down the The Lifetime Travelmates Hyekyong & Jordi. A full time traveling / house sitting sitting couple. In this interview we talk about travelling, Youtube, house sitting, how the pandemic has effected their lifestyle and much, much more!
House Sitting Travellers The Lifetime Travel Mates Hyekyong & Jodri
Tell us a little bit about yourselves – who are you, where are you from, do you house sit full-time or sporadically?
We are Hyekyong from South Korea and Jordi from Barcelona (Spain). We met in the University when Jordi was studying in Seoul as an exchange student. After a few years as good friends, we got married and three years ago we left our jobs back in Seoul to start a travel life, initially for a year, then we kept going combining house sits, volunteering and doing long stays in different countries. We do house sits sporadically but as often as we can.
How many housesits have you had and where?
We are currently on our 11th housesit. We’ve done it in Bangkok (Thailand), Goa (India), Barcelona (Spain), many around the UK, Ireland, Singapore and Malaysia.
Why do you housesit? What is the main motivation?
The main motivation was to save in accommodation expenses while we travelled. Then we realized that staying at a home with pets in a different country is one of the best ways to live like locals live, which is actually the travel lifestyle that we like. We stay as long as we can (as long as tourist visas allow) in a country and try to get to know more the local side of the town and less the touristy spots. And since we aim for long house sits (mostly 3 weeks or more) we can do that. And since we love animals, staying in an accommodation with animals is comforting and makes us feel happy.
What motivated you to start your Youtube channel?
Jordi always liked photography and videography. When we decided we would leave jobs and travel around the world, we had the idea of starting a blog, to leave some written memories and images, to share tips and experiences, and to inspire others just like many others inspired us. Later we thought of sharing the videos we were taking on our trips and creating a series to show others how backpacking and housesitting really is.
How did you find out about housesitting?
We were looking for ways to reduce accommodation spending and among others like couchsurfing and volunteering we found some blogs talking about house sitting. We decided to give it a try, and three years later it has become one of the things that we love the most from our life.
Pros of House Sitting?
- Stay with pets!
- Staying in a real home from a family and not in a “cold” hotel room.
- Seeing the real life of a normal neighborhood or village and experiencing an authentic “local” life.
- Not paying for accommodation!
Cons of House Sitting?
Leaving those furry friends that you bonded with so much. When the pets get sick, we feel so much responsibility.
What’s been the biggest or best adventure so far?
Jordi: Probably when we did a 10 days motorbike loop in the extreme north of Vietnam. The Hà Giang loop was a challenge at the beginning of our travels and I was still a total beginner with the motorbike, so, the lack of experience was a handicap but at the end, the feeling of achievement was awesome.
Hyekyong: I would say our 3 months traveling South India was the best adventure so far. It started right after our unexpected house sit in Goa, India. After the 3 months of long term house sit, we took a train and headed South. During the journey, we visited beautiful places, met incredible people, and had a chance to dive in its amazing local cuisines. The most fascinating thing about traveling experience in India was it taught us things that we would have never learned if we hadn’t travelled there.
How do you decide on a destination?
First we look for housesits in nearby countries where we are. Then we expand the radius and if we don’t find a sit long enough to make the long journey worthwhile, we travel (preferably on land) to a neighbouring country. We don’t have a bucket list per se, we do have some countries that we want to visit sooner than others. But with our lifestyle, it’s better to be flexible and not make very long term plans.
How much luggage do you travel with?
We started with just a 40 liters backpack each. After three years we just added a small day backpack and a handbag. Keeping it as light as possible!
How has the pandemic changed your travelling / house sitting lifestyle?
The pandemic caught us in the middle of a house sit here in Goa, India. One month before our sit was supposed to end, the country went on lockdown. We are very lucky that the owners of the house and pets are ok abroad and they are happy with us taking care of the pets. What was supposed to be a 6 months sit, turned out to be a one year long and counting!
We had the chance to leave, but to be honest, this house sit is a blessing and we felt safer here than travelling to any other country. We don’t know when or where we are going to be travelling again. But we still keep “travelling” through the various Indian cuisines we keep trying and since we have more time at home, we are putting together some old footage for some travel series for our YouTube channel.
Was it hard for you to secure your first house sitting gig?
It was a bit harder than we thought. Our 9th application was the one that got us accepted.
Did you ever have any unusual pets to take care of or responsibilities that were out of the norm?
No special pets. The most out of the norm was taking care of a cat that had asthma. We had to give him the inhaler every day, but he was very well trained and it was very easy. Another cat we took care of was extremely old and almost blind, we had to take extra care and medicate her.
What was your favorite housesitting experience to date and why?
The hardest question! We can’t really choose. Each of them were very special and we loved them all. And we would repeat all of them right now. We are still in touch with some of the house/pet owners and we often get messages about their holiday plans asking if we are available and in nearby countries. Let us highlight the Ireland dog sit we did in a village in the middle of the country surrounded by farms, and the cat sit in a luxury apartment in Singapore.
Have you had any funny housesitting experiences?
During our first cat sit in Goa, India, we woke up to some sounds in the middle of the night. We couldn’t find the cats, but we were hearing some sound. We got very scared thinking someone could have entered the house. After checking doors were locked we went to the bathroom and found the two cats on the bathtub “playing” with a small mouse. We “saved” the mouse throwing it outside to the fields and going back to sleep, feeling a bit sorry to take away that “toy” from the cats. But that small rodent couldn’t escape its destiny: on the next morning when we woke up we found it on the bathtub again, but this time the cats had “played” enough with it and left it there as a gift for us.
Tips for Others Wanting to get started?
Be transparent and honest. Write a good profile and keep applying for house sits, even if they aren’t your ideal or dream ones. Better accumulate some experience and reviews and later it’s going to get easier to get the wished ones.
Where to next (when you can)?
We would like to try a long stay in some South East Asian country. Some that we haven’t been to yet. But if the situation gets longer, we might just go and visit family and friends in one of our hometowns.
Anything final words?
Thanks for giving us this chance to share our experiences. We hope they are useful to others!
How Does House Sitting Sound to You?