Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure

By Gabrielle Yetter | House sitting

Today we meet house sitters Gabi and Skip. This is their inspirational story about how in 2010 they dismounted from life as homeowners, quit their professional jobs, packed their bags and set off on the journey of a lifetime...and never looked back. Three years later they plunged into full time house sitting and have been doing it ever since. 

What made you decide to try house sitting and how long have you been doing it for?
After living in Cambodia for three years, we made the decision to explore other parts of the world. Since we no longer had a home (we sold it and became nomads when we moved to Phnom Penh in 2010), we looked into alternate ways of travelling that would be reasonably priced and give us the opportunity to "live" in a place as locals. House-sitting suited both those needs. There was also the added bonus of having animals of our own since we hadn't been permitted to have a pet in our flat in Cambodia and are both huge animal lovers. We left Cambodia in December 2013, plunged into house-sitting and have been doing it ever since.

Tell us about your first ever house sit?
Our first house-sit was in England as we wanted to spend Christmas with my family and didn't have a place to stay. We found ourselves in a lovely little house in Sutton in the company of a wonderful cuddly cat named Gizmo who slept on our bed, drank out of a glass with a Mickey Mouse design and worked herself very quickly into our hearts. 

What advice would you give to others who are thinking about becoming house sitters?
Be flexible. Be responsible. Respond immediately to opportunities that interest you since there's a crowded field of people who want to house sit. Put together a great email response that makes you hard to resist. Keep in contact with the owners while they are away. Leave the home and pets in better shape than you found them.

Where was your favourite destination and why?
We've stayed in a villa in a French village in the Languedoc, an orange grove in a tiny village in the mountains of Spain and a house in the Pelepponese region of Greece, all of which were wonderful.

However, our favourite destination was one which offered a combination of location, comfort, convenience and a great little dog: San Casciano, Italy. Not only was the location beautiful (within sight of Florence's Duomo yet far enough away to be quaint, unspoiled and untouristed), the home we stayed for five weeks in was comfortable, spacious and attractive and had a wonderful kitchen. Skip is an excellent cook so we spent most of the time at home, enjoying the fruits of his labours, created from a plentiful bounty of Italian delights and taking walks or drives with Lulu, a dear little soul inside a small furry body. We also loved meeting the owner of the home, a delightful English artist who has since become a friend.

What has been your highlight of house siting so far?
The highlight has been travelling to places we'd never heard of (Plaisians, Oroklini, Gialova, Gaucin), spending time with some incredible pets (Clara, Gizmo, Terry, Rufus) and meeting people who will remain in our lives.

We’ve found all kinds of inspiration during our house sits as well as added benefits that have enriched our lives. Cooks' kitchens led to great meals in France and Italy. Quiet, beautiful environments provided perfect venues for writing in Spain, Greece, Italy and England (we finished Just Go! in San Casciano, and Skip wrote most of a first draft of a novel while we were there).

In temporarily assuming the lives of homeowners, we've found that the world opens much more to us than if we were staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast. We become transient parts of the community, often meeting neighbours and, in some cases, making new friends.

We love the element of trust that exists between people who've never met one another and which is built up through interactions on TrustedHousesitters so that it reinforces our belief in human nature.

What do your friends and family think of your house sitting lifestyle?
Many of them are envious of our lifestyle and want to do the same thing! Some have signed up with TrustedHousesitters and others are surprised by the level of trust between home owners and house sitters. My mum is constantly amused and entertained in having to explain to friends that her daughter and son-in-law "take care of animals" for a living!

How much do you think you would have spent on accommodation in the last year if you hadn’t been house sitting?
It’s hard to put a figure on but I'm guessing it would have easily been in excess of £1,000 a month to stay in anywhere comparable to the places we have found.

What prompted you to write your book Just Go?
After moving to Cambodia where we volunteered, wrote and consulted, we were constantly asked how and why we did it all.  So we decided to write Just Go - Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure so we could try to answer some of those questions and more. In it, we tell our story - how we extricated ourselves from life in the West to move across the world - as well as the stories of other people (various ages, with money and with no money, without kids or with kids) who packed up, picked up their lives and started again with a new outlook.

While we’d been inspired to move to Southeast Asia after honeymooning there several years ago, it took three years make it happen - physically and emotionally. In Just Go, we provide insights, stories and tips for people who may be interested in knowing how to get off that proverbial treadmill. We also include a list of references - TrustedHousesitters included - for people to use in their own adventures.

If we can help or inspire just one person to make a change in their life, we'll feel we've succeeded.

Where can your book be purchased?
It is available on Amazon (both in a print version and ebook). We also have a Facebook page for TheMeanderthals where we provide insights on travel, experiences and the people we've featured in the book.

Where are you now and where are you off to next?
We have spent the past month in Lewes, Sussex since my mother lives in Eastbourne and this gives us the chance to spend time with her. We house sat here in 2014 and were invited back and we also added on another three weeks housesitting for a couple we met during our time here last year. After Lewes, we're making a trip to the U.S. for a wedding in Skip's family, then to Cyprus and then Portugal or Nicaragua are possible next locations.

What’s the best thing about your lifestyle?
We love arriving in new places where we've never been before, moving into someone else's lives and homes, having animals to take care of and making new friends all over the world. We love the flexibility of not having a definite plan and being able to say "let's go to Belgrade/Rome/Cape Town" and having nothing to hold us back.

How easy do you find it to use TrustedHousesitters and would you recommend the site?
We love and I'm guilty of spending way too much time on the website, dreaming and planning for our next destination. As for recommending it, we do so constantly! I've written a number of articles and blog posts about house sitting and always mention TrustedHousesitters as our favourite site. 

We look forward to keeping you updated about our future adventures!
Gabi & Skip

Many thanks to Gabi and Skip for sharing their story. If you have a pet story you would like to share, please email To view Gabi and Skip's TrustedHousesitters profile, click here.

2 Responses to "Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure"

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  1. Julie Merry says:
    Aug. 11, 2015, 12:16 a.m.

    Love this story of your house sitting. I'm a Kiwi and have been living in Australia for a year. I house sat for three people there and loved it! I've returned home to my beautiful NZ , left my house in Nelson rented out ....and am booked up until mid January 2016! My goal is to go to Europe in a year or two....and see all the wonderful places you have mentioned. Life is so short...and I love meeting new people and pets. And see the world.


  2. Shirley LaMar says:
    Aug. 23, 2015, 9:33 p.m.

    Thanks so much for the inside scoop to what sounds like a fantasy lifestyle, but isn't. I've been following trustedhousesitters for a few months and hope to take the plunge one day soon.


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