Recently, we sat down the TheOilyTravelers house sitting family to talk about traveling, travel-schooling, house sitting, and living an amazing alternative lifestyle.
The OilyTravelers House Sitting Family Interview
Tell us a Little Bit About Your Family
Hi Brittany & Jay, we are ‘TheOilyTravelers’, a full-time traveling and house sitting family from Canada. Jamie Joseph, Brantley 6, and Emmerson 4.
Originally from Foothills AB, we launched our full-time RV life, 5 years ago from British Columbia. Both aircrew by Trade. This past year I hung up my wings to focus on homeschooling and our travels.
My husband is still a flight attendant with a Canadian airline. We pet sit regularly as part of our travel adventures.
How many housesits have you completed and where?
I think I’ve lost track of the amount of pet sits, lol but we have enjoyed petsitting east to west and in-between all over Canada and the US.
Why do you housesit? What is the main motivation?
Our primary motivation with petsitting is traveling, obviously, AND incorporating it into our “travel schooling”. Animals are incredible teachers of the important things in life and help to continuously teach us and, our kids love, respect, and responsibility.
We also really enjoy the social aspect of it meeting new people and providing a service to those who also want to travel while having their homes and animals loved and cared for.
How did you find out about housesitting?
Our first learnings of petsitting was on a trip to Australia years ago in our pre-kid life, and we knew one day we would revisit the opportunities as our travel life evolved.
Pros of House Sitting as a Family?
A few pros housesitting/petsitting as a family is obviously the connection to the animals and each other. exploring new places. and exposing the kids to different ways of life.
We also benefit from the financial aspect of it as well. Its a beautiful way to travel and keep a budget in check.
From an RVers perspective, there’s also, the space of a home, unlimited wifi and long hot showers lol.
Cons of House Sitting as a Family?
The cons of housesitting as a family … are there any? I would have to say is more from a mom’s personal anxiety standpoint.
Try as we might to pre-screen our sits to ensure a “family” environment. I worry in nicer homes that we have kids lol ensuring nothing gets broken or accidentally “misplaced” by little hands. But I will say this is getting easier as they are getting older.
Best Websites For Family House Sitting?
We have found the best house sitting websites include trustedhousesitters.com. when we started we had a few sites and profiles going but this has been our most successful website.
What’s Been Your Biggest Adventure So Far?
Typically our petsit enhance our travel plans, so it’s not usually something we set out as the “destination” itself. Although that will change in the near future as we are about to explore some international possibilities.
Adventure in a sense of “out of the ordinary” we had a sub-pump fail, flooding a basement of a home under our care. And a tortoise we were caring for that called the basement home.
Luckily no one was injured, the owners were amazing and we all worked together. They were able to continue their trip and we handled all the details and clean up.
Something I think that is important to mention is the importance of being flexible. Things happen in life. We once had a petsit that on arrival we found out the house was for sale, which as you can imagine caught us a little off guard. We had lots of showings to accommodate and a lot of people coming and going from the house. If I learned anything from that pet sit it’s that it’s ok to be honest when things are not ok. Some tough conversations have to happen.
Make sure you are open and honest about your expectations and what’s being expected of you.
With a Family to Consider, How Do You Decide on a Destination?
We generally are in an area or want to visit a particular area and then search from there to find possible petsit. Also sometimes length or dates are also contributing factors. In our case its often about proximity to an airport as well.
How Much Luggage Do You Travel With?
We travel very light, with regards to stuff. However, we try to travel with our home being that its on wheels. something we consider is can we park the RV in their driveway or on property.
We have done both petsit with and without our home, on wheels (sometimes putting it in storage) I will say it’s much easier having it with us.
Lots of People We Talk to Have Safety Concerns About Travel With Kids, or Even as Adults, What’s Your Take on This?
I have to be honest and say I’ve never really considered there to be “safety concerns” We find that our pre sit phone conversations and or Skype, Facetime meetings usually give us a really good idea of the home, animals, and folks we’re interacting with. Technology is a beautiful thing.
How Does Home Schooling Work For You and the House Sitting Lifestyle?
Our favourite petsit have been the ones on farms with lots to do. They are a great opportunity to teach the kiddos all the different aspects of farm life.
We also wwoof (working on organic farms) so the kids are learning sooo much real-life hands-on experience. Our typical take on homeschooling is a portion of academic (usually in the morning) and then real-life learning. Everything has the opportunity to be an education.
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?
I think because we typically look for slightly more remote house/pet sits we have a lot less competition than in larger cities. Sometimes being a family works in our favor and sometimes it is just not a good fit. We are never offended if someone doesn’t want to have kids.
We were accepted on our first try (beginners luck). We started with so much family pet experience that we had no problems getting started.
I do believe being aircrew helps us as we have security background checks and work for a very reputable company. We are also just all-around “good people” with good well rounded traveled kids. it helps!
Did You Ever Have Any Unusual Pets to Take Care of or Responsibilities That Were Out of The Norm?
hmmm well, we’ve had a little bit of everything, I mentioned the tortoise who was sort of house trained and live in the basement. We’ve had chickens and horses. Lots of dogs and cats. Honestly nothing too crazy yet.
What Has Been Your Favourite House Sitting Experience and Why?
Our favourite house sit to date was in the beautiful Okanagan in Kelowna BC.
It’s one of our favourite places on earth. The homeowners were incredibly lovely people that we really connected with. It was Fall, our favorite time of year. We had 3 gorgeous horses, a cat, and a dog. Our home on wheels was able to be with us. And the home was incredibly kid-friendly.
It was just an all-around great sit. Even though the dog decided to chance down a deer. Sometimes places just really feel like home and some people feel like family.
You Housesit With Your Family – Do You Find it Harder to Get Accepted for a Housesit Because You Are Travelling With Your Children?
Sometimes… sometimes not. For the right animals, the kids are a blessing. Playful and full of energy. We just have to be really honest in the whole interview process. Pet/housesitting is truly an energy exchange of trust. When people are honest it really is a beautiful thing. I feel like that’s when all parties truly enjoy the experience.
Have You Had Any Funny House Sitting Experiences?
How much time do you have??? It’s incredible just how alike kids and animals are. They are unpredictable and hilarious. Every day is an adventure.
It’s usually the goofy gestures of the little personalities that make the days funny. A cat in the toilet bowl, dress-up adventures, the kids getting down to drink from dog bowls (clean thankfully) animal hide and seek. Waking up to animals in your bed. It’s just all-round awesome!
Tips for Other Families Wanting to Get Started?
Do it!!! Don’t be afraid of what could go wrong. Think of all the amazing things that will go right.
Our experiences have been second to none.
We have shared time with the most beautiful creatures human and otherwise. I can not express enough how much joy petsitting has brought to our life. Of all the petsitting we have done in the last 5 years, there is only 1 petsit that we wouldn’t do again. I think that a true testament to the amazing people we have met and the awesome animals we have cared for. Set your profile and GO!!!
Where to Next?
Quite honestly. we have no idea. We are experiencing a very interesting time in the world. Navigating this Corona outbreak, we have just had our next 2 petsits back in Canada cancel due to cancellation of their travel.
We have mutual agreements to revisit the opportunities when its safe to do so.
One thing we know for sure is that we will continue to be available as things eventually shift. I don’t dare say return to normal, because I don’t think that is possible but rather, find safe ways to once again physically interact and enjoy the beautiful places in the world.
We look forward to the upcoming time when we can again be of service and enjoy the petsitting that we love so much!