We have been pet and housesitting our way around the world for the past four years. We sold our home and successfully travelled to 65 countries so far; and we are still going! I guess it isn’t your average life for some, but it is certainly a life we love, and we’d like to tell you why.
Travel can mean sitting for ‘hours on end’ in planes, trains, buses and cars which isn’t great for cardio-vascular activity.
I’m sure you can also imagine that sometimes living in hotels, hostels, resorts, and cruises may sound like the high life, but it also comes with a price. And that price is a growing waistline! This type of lifestyle is often high in calories, and after a while of eating exotic foods, as well as lounging by the pool, it can lead to a few added kilograms and pounds in unwanted places.
So with that in mind, we are currently housesitting with a focus on our health.
Currently we are housesitting during the winter months in our homeland of Australia. We are still moving about from one housesit to the next. In fact we just moved to a lovely luxury property in the Adelaide hills to care for.
Winter for some folks might mean warm cosy fires, and it can often be tempting to curl up on the sofa with a nice mug of hot chocolate, and a favourite movie or book.
But with a focus on our personal health and fitness, we realise that housesitting helps us to maintain a healthy travel lifestyle.
Here’s a few of the reasons why
Health with Exercise
With two active dogs to care for in our last housesit (over two months), we made fitness a focus. Walking the dogs twice a day was a direct request of the owners, and we were fortunate enough that the property backed onto a school and adjoining Wetlands.
So rain or shine, these two pooches had a great time going for their daily walks. Often Explorason would use his skateboard, and toward the end of our stay, friends also kindly gave him a scooter so he would whip right by and scoot on ahead of us, and I’d either run or walk with these two dogs photographed above.
Even when we are not housesitting a couple of canines, we do find that housesitting it is a perfect time to enjoy the nature around us, and head outdoors and exercise.
When we housesat a cat in Budapest Hungary, it obviously didn’t need exercise, but we did; so we started jogging.
In Scotland we would go hiking with the two dogs we cared for. There were many forest areas nearby – perfect for exploring.
Other times we would find exercise hand weights in the house and have a go with them, along with a few sit-ups.
As long as there was daily exercise, we felt good.
Exploring the local area
Whether we are going for a walk and discovering the local area, or hunting for four leaf clovers (just like we found in Scotland and Malaysia), exercise is really important.
Taking a brisk daily walk in the sunshine is excellent for increasing the metabolic heart rate, and adds a little Vitamin D into our bodies too.
Even in cold weather, we’d return with rosy smiling cheeks – yes exercise is also proven to aid in the feeling of happiness.
Our housesits sometimes come with a swimming pool – just like this one we cared for in Brazil.
We often use the chance to do some laps of the pool, and increase our fitness levels.
For a bit of a change from the house, and because we had limited wifi, we were grateful that the last homeowners offered us their bicycles to use. We would cycle along the creek pathway to the internet cafe each week.
It also gave Explorason an opportunity to gain confidence on a bike – and he was off and cycling as fast as his legs would carry him, whilst I brought up the rear with the backpack carrying the laptops.
Gardening Keeps Us Healthy
Yes gardening even keeps us fit!
In our Fiji housesit, the pineapple plants we cared for were up a steep hill – it was quite a workout getting up there to tend to them.
And in England we had to walk nearly a mile each way to the gardening plot.
Even pulling weeds and mowing lawns is all good exercise.
Health with Home Cooking
Fresh produce from the garden means a healthy diet for us too. Just look at this great salad and guacamole Explorason made. Nothing beats going outside and picking straight from the vegetable garden.
Housesitting is also a great way to make friends. When we housesat in France, wild mushrooms grew in the nearby woods, and the neighbour was a skilled collector of fungi, so we even were invited for a cooking lesson and dinner with our French housesitting neighbours.
It was such fun, and we all know laughter is great medicine for the soul!
Health with Growing Organically
Two years ago we housesat in Tuscany, Italy, and all of our homegrown produce was therefore organic.
I was able to dry herbs and take them with me for future cooking on our European travels.
Our last Australian housesit also had a fruit dehydrator, so an added healthy option was available to us too.
This dried fruit was great to add to my home-made muesli.
Health with Fresh Farm Produce
In several of our housesits (including a long sit in the western rugged parts of Ireland) we were blessed with a daily delivery of fresh free range duck and chicken eggs – directly from the creatures we cared for.
That is about as fresh and healthy as you get.
Nothing beats fresh eggs for healthy cooking.
Even Collecting Firewood can be Healthy
When homes have a fire place, then firewood is needed. Most houses will supply it for us, but on the odd occasion we have had to go and collect pine cones, twigs, and I’ve even had to swing the axe to split logs.
One housesit left us no firewood at all, so we would walk daily to the beach and collect bags of it and lug them home, which was a healthy challenge for me.
Buying Healthy Produce
All over the world, we love to shop at the local fresh produce markets. Not only do we get to know the sellers if we are staying a while and often become friends, but we also get to support the farmers and growers. And the produce is as fresh as can be.
If you are thinking of traveling, I’d love to recommend pet and housesitting as an excellent healthy alternative to regular accommodation such as hotels and resorts.
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