Recently, we had a chat with Rox & Maartje from Once Upon A Journey ! They have been traveling and house sitting around the world for 4 years!
We hear about all the places their have house sat (we are so jealous of their house sit in Mexico!!)
We also hear about their journey across Russia on the Mongolian Express.
Tell us a little bit about yourself– who are you, where are you from, for, do you do it full-time or sporadically
Hi there! We are Roxanne and Maartje, a couple from the Netherlands. March 2017, then we sold everything we had and left the Netherlands to travel the world, full time and fully nomadic.
On the road we started Once Upon A Journey! Initially we wanted to tell fairy tales and folktales from all around the world, though we noticed many people wanted to hear our stories. So then we started to share our own stories about traveling the world as a girl couple.
Right now, Once Upon A Journey is our full-time job! And we moved back to the Netherlands the beginning of 2020 but can’t wait to explore the world again. Probably not fully nomadic anymore and for shorter periods, but we are looking forward to it.
How many housesits have you done and where?
Before traveling full time, we already did housesits, but mostly for friends or acquaintances. In the Netherlands we’ve done about 5 housesits.
And abroad we’ve done 6 different housesits, in Mexico twice, Los Angeles, New York City, Malaysia, and Bangkok.
Why do you housesit? What is the main motivation?
While traveling for a longer period we love the idea of having a home away from home.
Being able to reload, stay at one place a little longer, do laundry whenever you want, cook again, and often a housesit includes a pet whom you can cuddle with, all amazing benefits in our eyes.
Traveling from place to place all the time can make you tired, and a housesit allows us to slow the pace and reload. And for us digital nomads: a housesit allows us to have time and an office to work from.
How did you find Out About house sitting?
Unconsciously we already did housesits in the Netherlands when friends and acquaintances went on holiday and asked us to take care of their house and pet!
While traveling we found out there’s a whole housesitting community.
It was never our plan to do this while traveling, but once we found out about websites like TrustedHousitters we tried to get a housesit every now and then.
We also heard many people used Facebook groups but we found TrustedHousesitters a convenient website to us!
Pros of House Sitting?
We already talked about this previously, but another pro of housesitting is the fact that you can experience a place from a local experience! As a tourist you often see places differently.
Cons of House Sitting?
Often there’s a pet involved, and it’s always difficult to say farewell again after taking care of it for a while! You really connect with a spot and animal and of course you have to leave again.
And it’s also a commitment you make, so for example if you come to really explore a place it’s a good thing to have in mind that when there’s a pet involved you can’t leave the house for days. And when it’s a dog you simply can’t leave for too many hours.
What’s been the biggest or best adventure so far?
When we started our world trip in 2017, we started in Russia and went all the way to China by train, with the Trans Mongolian Express. And that was definitely one of our biggest adventures. Traveling in Russia was a challenge, not just as a girl couple. But we are happy we did it as we saw amazing places like Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world, fully frozen!
In Mongolia we hired a driver who drove us all around the country in three weeks. It was an amazing way to see the country and meet the super friendly locals. We slept in yurts, camped in the mountains, and loved how kind everybody was.
How much luggage do you travel with?
It really depends on the trip, on longer trips we like to take two backpacks of about 10-15 kg each and a smaller camera bag for our camera equipment.
If we go on a shorter trip, we usually bring just one backpack or suitcase of 15 kg, plus our camera bag. On shorter trips we prefer a suitcase over a backpack. But for our trip to Greece we brought a backpack as we thought it would be most convenient on the island Santorini with all its stairs and while traveling between other islands.
Was it hard for you to secure your first house sitting gig?
Not at all actually, we got one of the first housesits we applied for! It was a Belgium couple living in Malaysia and I think they loved the fact we could talk Dutch together haha. It felt familiar.
We do think it’s important that if you use a platform like TrustedHousesitters that you make a profile with photos, include enough text about yourself so people can get to know you a little better, and perhaps even include a video.
We also made sure we had reviews from previous housesits we did and even references from previous work bosses and friends who could tell us a bit more about us. So people know how we are and that we are trustworthy!
Where has been your favorite house sit?
That’s a very difficult question! Our first housesit was amazing as the dog Tiger was the sweetest and we simply loved the house where we stayed. It was in Malaysia on the island Penang.
There was a swimming pool, we could use their car and motorbike and Penang is such a fun island! When we went to the beach with Tiger he was so super happy. We had a great time together.
Our housesit in Mexico City was also amazing! As we truly made friends with the homeowners, who we still often speak.
Tips for others wanting to get started?
Choose a platform that fits you best! There are multiple websites out there which you can join and it can be difficult to choose one. Some are more region-specific and some more expensive than others.
We joined TrusterHousesitters as it was the best fit for us (they have housesits all around the world). There are also Facebook groups you can use!
Secondly, make your profile trustworthy! This is super important as someone is going to let a stranger in their house, sometimes even for multiple months. So it’s your job to tell them exactly who you are and why they can trust you with their house and pets!
Share your previous experiences with house-sitting or pets in general, add reviews and or references, and also, tell them why you want to house-sit.
Where to next (when you can)
When we can travel further away again we would love to visit South America as we’ve never been!
And in Asia India, Sri Lanka and The Philippines are high on our list.
Closer to home, we really want to visit Turkey (Istanbul and Cappadocia) and see more of Italy!
Want to know where else to find Roxanne and Maartje?
Follow Roxanne and Maartje adventures on their website!
Want to try House Sitting As Well?
There are thousands of opportunities to house sit around the world!
If your wondering how YOU TO can travel for free, check out our resources on becoming a house sitter!
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