“How house sitting in Australia enabled me to quit my job”

Annie Hearfield

By house sitting in Australia and taking care for beloved pets when their owners are away, Catrina –– otherwise known as @24hourslayover –– has somewhere she can call "home" and animal company. Earlier this year, she was able to quit her flight attendant job and house sits full time whilst working on her travel and lifestyle website.

Catrina’s house and pet sitting adventure started when she was dreaming of taking a working holiday in Australia for year. Her adventures may have started close to her home in the UK, but she was quickly able to pursue her travel aspirations...

“I had been working as an international Flight Attendant for over three years and the sleepless nights and fast paced life was getting too much at times. Don't get me wrong: I love travel, I just missed travelling at a slow pace. So I decided to quit my flight attendant job with the intention to do a working holiday in Australia for a year. I would work for a few months and then go backpacking for a few months across Australia and New Zealand. I had also been building my own travel website so I was hoping to work a lot more on that during my year away.... But moving back in with my parents in the UK was not ideal, especially seeing as I am on the wrong side of 30. I needed a plan before I quit my job. So I explored some options and came across the TrustedHousesitters website –– I was sold.”

Initially, Catrina organised house sits close to her family home in the UK before applying further afield. This was an ideal for Catrina, as she could spend time with her family while building up her house and pet sitting experience. She could also dedicate time to build her website. It wasn’t long before she confirmed a series of house sits to fill her time back in the UK and she was able to hand in her notice at the airline company...

“I figured if I could get some local house sits near my parents’ house during the time I was planning to be home, I would be able to still see my family a lot but also have my space and be able to really crack on with working on my website without too many distractions. I was lucky I found a house sit close to my parents' house with a beautiful Ragdoll cat. I then found a house sit starting the day after that first house sit finished, and what's more, it was in my parent's village looking after two sweet cats! It was a sign, so I confirmed the cat sits and handed in my month's notice to the airline. During that time I also managed to sort out three more house sits for the time I would be home - the timing worked out just perfectly!”

Catrina’s house sitting journey may have been grounded in a desire to travel, but she also realised how much she had missed animal companionship –– especially as she had been unable to have any pets of her own when she had been working as a flight attendant. 

“During each housesit I grew really attached to the pets –– a lot more than I had expected! They all had their own personalities but every one of them loved having cuddles! Often when I was a flight attendant I would think about getting a pet cat, but as I knew I was away a lot it seemed unfair to get one. It was only when I started house sitting that I became aware of just how much I had missed being around pets. As I was working from home on my website it meant I could spend a lot of time with the pets which was great.”

As Catrina build up her experience and was able to work on her website even more, she began to play with the idea of house sitting full time –– in Australia! She’s in the middle of booking sits to suit her work and travel aspirations...

“I decided I would continue working on my website and house sit my way across Australia. It would certainly cut down costs and would be such an interesting way to see the country! Within a few days I managed to sort out two house sits in Australia both lasting a few weeks each. As I'll be travelling round with a big backpack and suitcase, I don’t want to be moving around every few days, especially since Australia is so spread out, so I only look at housesits of at least two weeks. I'm sure there will be the odd week where I can't get a house sit sorted, in which case I will use that time to travel round! I'm even planning to see if I can do some house sitting in New Zealand too! I just love how the website is universal - it opens up a world of possibilities.”

Discovering house and pet sitting has been life changing for Catrina, and what’s more, is how mutually beneficial the arrangement is...

“If I hadn't have found TrustedHousesitters I would definitely have had to get a job straight away in Australia to pay for my travels and accommodation. But by helping someone by looking after their pets when they are on holiday. In return, I have a lovely place to call home for a while and lots of animal company, and it has meant that I do not have to find a job straight away in Australia. House sitting gives you the chance to unwind, slow down and really see the place from a local's point of view and that's what I love. It's really a fun way to see the world whilst still getting a dose of animal love! So far it has been such an exciting journey and I can't wait to see where it will take me next year.”

We loved hearing about how Catrina’s TrustedHousesitters membership has enabled her to travel and care for adorable pets across the world. Do you have a story you’d like to share about your own house and pet sitting experiences, or about fantastic sitters you’ve met? Let us know…

If you'd like to learn more about Catrina's house sitting adventures, check out her website

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