Interview with

Interview with


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Published on Friday, 11 April 2014 15:37


On a regular basis at we come across some fabulous people, and naturally, we love to hear and share their stories via our blog.  Ruth Johnston and her son recently joined our network of experienced housesitters.  We have long admired her tales of adventure and the way she captures her experiences in a video.  Ruth kindly agreed to an email interview to share some more of her traveler’s tales…

1. How long have you been housesitting?

We started house-sitting when we were preparing for our trip overseas. So in total about 5 years.  Firstly, it was just for friends.

We house-sat for a neighbor who approached us in the final packing up weeks of our home we had sold.  They lived a few doors up the road, and we were able to stay there and care for their home, and at the same time finish the final packing of my home and the cleaning.

We then planned the first major part of our trip around a house-sit on an island in Fiji.
We had the time of our lives really mixing with the locals and ex-pats there.


 2. What is your main motivation for traveling and housesitting?

We decided to travel and see the world now, mainly because my son is at an age where I can handle the level of education he needs for home-schooling.  So now is the right time. We both wanted to travel, and as part of that, we also decided to make Random Acts of Kindness a focus of our travel. This just happens as we come across a need. Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all. Sometimes it is in mass doses, especially if we are in third world countries.

Another focus for me as a Mum is definitely to select places where we can learn from the country we visit.  Effectively this is all countries, but in some places, there can be more history or a focus on something my son (who is 9 yards old) wants to learn.
For example, he wanted to learn about the Inca children, so we went to Peru.


To house-sit and travel at the same time really works for us.  It enables us breaks from hostels and hotels.  It gives us time to slow down.  We tend to do more home-schooling in these periods, and I am trying to write, so it gives me time to do that too.

It also sometimes gives us a chance to look after pets, and as we both love animals, this is a real bonus.  Just to not pack and unpack for a while is wonderful too.  And of course, it saves us money.

3. How do you make this lifestyle sustainable? It must cost something to go on the road, what work are you able to do as you travel around?

I’m actually writing at the moment.  I want to motivate single Mums that they can change their lives and get out of a rut.

I also am trying to get advertisers to my blog, so we can support ourselves as we travel.
Right now we live off my savings, so we really do need to get an income of some sort soon.
Anyone who donates to our Random Acts of Kindness is assured ALL the funds are used to help the poor and needy, and not to fund our travels.

4. You travel with your son, what do you feel this lifestyle has given you both?

We are definitely closer.  He is a funny kid, with a great sense of humor and I need that.
Travel can be stressful at times. So that is why I like to stop and house-sit and that gives us a good mix of ‘downtime and normal life’.

We definitely have a close bond, and it has helped us both to make so many new friends – I think that is pretty special.

5. How do you manage to homeschool while you are on the road?  

I love the fact we both seem to be learning so much. I am suddenly learning again because it has become a focus of the trip.

My son and I know some Spanish now – enough that he can go to the counter and order what he wants.  We world-school, so this is using the places we visit, and the culture around us as a living classroom.  History comes alive. Tour guides become teachers as education is outsourced.

There are areas such as currency conversion, geography and social studies where he would far surpass many children of his age.

6. Where have you been so far that you have particularly enjoyed together?

We have visited 21 countries so far and it is interesting as some of the places I love he didn’t and vice-versa.

I loved parts of Cuba, but he didn’t not just because of the level of poverty, but because they had no wifi in 99% of the places, and because the food choices were so limited.

He loved Antigua, Guatemala. That was because there was one of the nicer MacDonald’s in the world and that he made friends and had a sleepover. And he says, not to forget that he slept on a tree house, and he loved the cobblestone streets. I must admit, I did love most of Guatemala too.

We both loved Fiji because the people were so honest and friendly.  And Quito Ecuador was another favorite. I remember sitting on a rooftop in Quito overlooking the city, and I felt like I was in Rome, at a quarter of the price.

By Ruth Johnston

ExploraMum, Sitter with

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Please have a read in this NEWSLETTER

A copy is also below.

2014 Spring – News Mail
HouseSit Match where home and pet owners meet sitters online!
View this email in your browser

We have new housesits this month across the UK and Spain offering a range of sitting opportunities with some adorable pets. Our larger selection of sitters now hails from as far afield as Australia, Canada, France, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, UK, and the US.  Welcome one and all. And if you haven’t yet registered or updated your profile yet then please do hurry. Best to get a head start when you’re looking for the ideal care for property and pets. Happy Matching!

High Wycombe, UK: 1wk Aug 2014
Honey is a 7 yr old King Charles Spaniel who lives with her family as well as 1 other dog and 3 cats. Her home is near London (25min by train). She needs someone to care for her and her furry siblings while the family is on holiday this Summer. She loves walks and is very playful. Easy access to the capital and all amenities.
New Housesitters – Ruth Johnston ExploraMum and her ExploraSon
…new housesitters. Originally from Australia Ruth and her son are traveling across Europe this Spring and have written a blog about how they are discovering the world and homeschooling along the way. As a homeowner have you updated your holiday dates yet? Read the blog about ExploraMum and ExploraSon.
CONTACT ExploraMum
Gerrards Cross, UK: 2mth Jun-Aug
If you love rabbits and you are local to Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire then Easter has arrived early. In fact, you could look after two rabbits at your home, the hutches provided and rabbits delivered to you ahead of the sit assignment.         This is a paid position.

We have been asked to create an Instagram account. It’s now live!
Please follow us and share your stories…
Nr Fuengirola, SPAIN: 6wk Aug-Sept
Our first housesit in Southern Spain offers accommodation with easy access to the beach (you can walk there in 5 minutes). The villa is located in a small international community only short drive from Fuengirola, Malaga. While there you can enjoy the delights of the Costa del Sol.  There is a small swimming pool in the community and local shops within walking distance. Main responsibility is to care for 1 mature cat. Though key facilities and amenities are within reach, you will need a car for this housesit assignment.
Warfield, Berks UK: 8 days June 2014
Meet the boys, Archie and Holly a couple of friendly Border Terriers. They live with their fur-siblings, 3 independent cats in Warfield in the classically English countryside. If you like taking dogs for long walks across green fields to discover English pubs then this might be for you. Few house responsibilities (cleaner and gardener will visit), but these very friendly pets will need your love and attention.
Erith, Kent UK: 2mth May-Jun
Honey is a 5-month-old Staffordshire cross puppy, fully housetrained.  Her owners are in the midst of moving house and need 5hrs daycare for her while they work. If you are available or know of someone who can do help get in touch. This is a paid position.

One way to stand out from the crowd!
If you are interested in buying this personalized number plate, then please us email us. It has come up for sale via a sitter in our network!

Questions and Comments

  • Have you watched my recent interview with Housematch?
  • What do you make of it?
  • Do you have ideas or places you would love for me to explore more?
  • Do share your comments with us below.

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  1. I can’t imagine a better education for your son! I would love to do this if I didn’t have so many of my own pets to care for 🙂 Thank you for this wonderful information!

    1. Yes that can be a problem. I always try to ask the hours they need someone there. Usually we are ready for a rest and stay in so we dot mind much, but long house-sits, that can be a hassle.

  2. I think I’d enjoy house/pet sitting since it seems to let you travel closer to the ground and get to know the place on a deeper level than a passing through tourist. However, my husband still has a day job, so it’s not really a realistic option for us at this point.

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