How to Live and Travel Rent Free: House-sitting and Couch-Surfing!
I call it “Vaga-bonding”. I’m bonding with new places, pets and people this year. One of the many wonderful benefits of being queer is worldwide queer community and one of the benefits of queer community is queer housing connections. While in college I benefited from this in terms of living in great all-queer households, and now I get queer community on a more adult level. I can move from house-sitting job to house-sitting job and never pay rent and I can travel without hotel costs.
Professional House-Sitting is great for artists (like me), the self-employed, people in periods of transition out of live-in relationships, people waiting for the buying of a house to go through and my own personal number-one reason is that I don’t want to settle for any living-space right now. I want to look around and find a great deal and that may take months to a year It’s also great for anyone who wants to enjoy more luxury than they can by themselves afford. I’ve always been one for make-believe.
Reasons people hire house-sitters:
To have somebody there at all times for your companion animals, to give them more love than a “feeder/walker” can and to handle medications and vet emergencies.
To have someone watching after the place and sleeping in it at night. It is very unsafe to leave a house unattended for days at a time.
To water houseplants, tend the garden (especially in summer).
To take out the trash on time and bring in the mail and paper.
Couch-Surfing used to mean “loafing around, mooching your friends’ food instead of finding your own apartment.” But now, it has come to mean a way to travel the world at very low cost and make friends while you’re at it. Couch-surfing is not only for the very young or the constantly-traveling. I have one 40 year old friend who does this when she travels out of town for her business and one fifty-something friend who traveled Italy this way.
Belonging to the Couch-Surfing website enables you to make new friends by entertaining out-of-town guests who you can visit at a later date instead of buying a hotel. You could wind up someplace fabulous you didn’t even know you wanted to go, in a guest room instead of a couch. If you put lots of “LGBT” and “Gay and Lesbian” phrases on your profile, you will be in the company of “family” who can teach you a new language and take you to the best gay dance clubs in Spain. It’s FREE and easy to sign up and very fun to search through on your lunch break . You never know what great opportunities and people could come your way.
Both Couch-Surfing and House-sitting definitely work best for single people who have flexible schedules, who live with or travel with minimal belongings and who can handle crises with grace. Need a sabbatical from work? A writing retreat? Want to get our of your element? Try it!