When you mention that you are going to be doing house sitting during your travels you get a variety of responses. From never have heard of it, to scepticism, to “hey, I’ve heard of that”. The one thing we never heard from anyone we spoke with before we departed on our adventure was “I’ve done that”. My incredibly talented researcher/wife combed the internet for several weeks before mentioning to me about house sitting. She presented a plan to take advantage of a number of reputable websites and peoples desire to keep their homes safe and in good repair that would allow us to live in locations around the world for next to no cost. Sounded awesome to me.
Well we are ending the first of our house sitting assignments in Puntarenas, Costa Rica and for the most part it is everything it is hyped up to be. That does not mean it is Nirvana and there are no challenges, but it does provide very low cost to no cost accommodation in areas around the world. I have received a few questions on what it is like to house sit. So here goes, a day in the life of a house sitter. Now please remember that this is only our first assignment so I am sure there are lots of ideas and details I may miss. This is a snap shot of how we have spent most of our days in the last couple of months that we have been here.
To start with our responsibilities were to take care of the house and watch over the owners dog Odie. This was pretty simple. For other than a love of barking at nearly everything that moved past the front of the house, Odie is a very easy boy to look after. Feed him, the occasional belly rub, and getting out for walks and he is your friend. The looking after the house is fairly low maintenance. Really, other than the occasional swarm of june bug, or termites, oh and ants, there really is nothing to worry about.
I am usually the first one up at 6AM to let Odie out. Then it is either go back to bed or go for a run. I have conceded that early morning is the intelligent time to get runs done. I can run in the heat of the day but the increase in effort is phenomenal. Between 7:30 and 8:30 I blend up a fresh fruit smoothie after stretching out, then we sit and enjoy a pot of coffee while we catch up on emails, Facebook, Twitter, and all those social media sites. Karen also peruses the daily offerings of house sitting assignments from around the world. Focusing on our next 13 months in Central America.
Some time between 9 and 11 we chef up breakfast then digest before doing our daily workout. We mix up our routines to keep some variety. Currently we are doing a 30 day ab challenge we found on Facebook and I am doing a 30 day running strength routine put together by Kinetic Revolution, http://www.kinetic-revolution.com
Because we walk most places we go and the fruit here is so fresh that it only lasts a couple of days in the house, we go grocery shopping every other day. It is an easy 2km round trip to the local Maxi Pali (Walmart, I hate to say) and the local fresh fruit market.
One of the interesting sites as we go shopping, or go anywhere actually is the local jail which is situated at the end of the road that leads into our community.
I believe the biggest misconception people have is they expect we are running around doing touristy things most days. Not so. For us we are living day to day, same as friends and family at home. Minus that 9 to 5 job thing. So though we do intersperse some outings to local points of interest, most days are what I have described. Our afternoons involve either shopping or taking Odie for a walk around the area or perhaps down to the beach. About a 5.5km round trip.
Being around the community every afternoon allows us to see some other activities we would normally miss. Once or twice a week a couple drive a small pick up truck up and down every street in the community. They have a loud speaker system on the roof announcing the sale of papayas, oranges and pineapples. Quite literally service to your door if you want it. The fellow I enjoy the most is a wonderful man who comes by 3 or 4 times a week with a tray of fresh made flan type dessert. For 500 colones ($1US) we have a nice snack for later in the evening. It was great the day Costa Rica was playing Uruguay in the World Cup. He was dancing along with the National flag draped around his shoulders. We were able to keep track of the score by the explosion of noise from every house around us every time Costa Rica scored. It was like the Stanley Cup finals, except it was just the first of their games in the World Cup. Very interesting to be here during this event.
Refreshments in the front courtyard are served around 4:00 ish as we enjoy the coolness of an afternoon shower, or watch the cattle wander by. This is a wonderful time for reading, writing, or just playing games. The side entertainment at this time of day is the sound iguanas scurrying around on the hot metal roof over our heads. At first it is a bit disconcerting, but after a while you just laugh.
As we have been repeatedly informed that it may not be safe to be out and about after dark, we usually enjoy a movie or TV series on Netflix.com. It is also a great time to FaceTime or Skype with family and friends.
It is not the jet setting lifestyle some may have expected, but it is a wonderful way to fully experience the pace of life in areas that we probably would never have encountered.
If you are curious about the sites we use to check out house sitting opportunities here are a couple we have found useful.