*All animal photos in this post are courtesy of WordPress’s free photo library.
The husband had been certain that nothing could distract me from my six-month-old blogging obsession. And for a while there, he was right. But ironically, it was through my interactions with the bloggosphere that I became aware of the thing that would kick blogging down a notch to Obsession #2. That thing is petsitting.
Yes, we’ve joined one of the many housesitting/petsitting companies, and there are many:
I can’t speak to all of them. Heck, I can’t even speak to the one we joined, since we haven’t done a petsit yet.
But know this: just signing up has affected my life. I am now an addict. I get frequent emails listing the site’s newest sits, but several times a day I check on my own. I drool over sits in places we can’t go because it doesn’t jive with our work schedule or our own pre-planned travels, or because flying to, say, Singapore for a 3-day sit would be ridiculous. Some places are stunning mansions, others are humble apartments. Some are in the center of a major city, others are well off the beaten path. Some have a single, easy-to-care-for animal, while others have a veritable menagerie of critters from dogs and cats to chickens, horses, alpacas, and goats (who need milking!). Some sits are posted well in advance, and others are panicky last-minuters. A few are overnighters, and several are months long or more, but most fall into that standard vacation time frame: 1-3 weeks.
I hate employing this overused term, but this is going to be a game-changer. Not for all our travels, of course, but for some of them. Already I’m scheduled to jet off to Seattle for a long weekend to hang with an adorable therapy dog and his feline housemate.
The husband and I are not usually weekend city-break kind of travelers. Both of us homebodies, we use the weekends to recharge from our taxing weeks in front of students, get stuff done around the house, and get together with friends. Yet I’m now envisioning short-term/long weekend sits in all those cities we always say we’d like to get to (or get back to) someday, but never seem to: Vancouver, Quebec City, Montreal, San Francisco, Savannah, Charleston, Boston, Portland, Bend, Phoenix, New Orleans, Albuquerque, Miami, all over Hawaii, ANYWHERE in Colorado… I could go on and on.
And don’t even get me started on the international sits: Switzerland, Thailand, Mauritius, Kenya, Cyprus, New Zealand, Malaysia, Finland, and on and on and on. Visions keep dancing in my head of practicing my French with the local baker as I make my daily purchases at the boulangerie in a little country hamlet or in the heart of Paris.
Looking ahead, the plan is to make a big departure from my usual travel planning routine, which is to plan WAY in advance, and instead let the petsitting chips fall where they may. That is to say, we may start booking petsits abroad, and then build the rest of our travels around them.
Before I obsess myself into complete and utter uselessness around the house, though, I need to take some deep breaths, stop cursing the fact that we haven’t won the lottery (But then, would I really petsit as a way to see the world? Yes, I think I would. I mean, PETS!!), and make arrangements to be reincarnated as an independently wealthy person with no need for a travel-hindering job. (And while I’m wishing, how ’bout a size 2, drop-dead gorgeous, and Ivy-League brains?) Also, I need to view this as a marathon, not a sprint. The goal is to do sits as a complement to our normal travel, and build up a résumé.
if when retirement ever comes, the Spots, Oreos, and Mr. Whiskerses of this world are going to have some very eager and experienced sitters in the husband and me, maybe even in Singapore, and maybe for just three days…
Your turn! Have you done this kind of thing before? Pros? Cons? Advice? I’d love to hear it all.
Read about our adventures in travel-petsitting: