Only you know what you would like to achieve in your house sitting endeavours but I can list the various benefits of house sitting here as reported by our members. There are many levels of commitment to the practice, from minding your parents' holiday home on weekdays to becoming a fulltimer, flying all over the world between assignments. As with everything, you get out of it what you put into it. If you would like more of 'the unexpected' in your life, more opportunities to meet new people, cheaper holidays, free accommodation and more time in the company of animals, house sitting may be for you.
Living without accommodation costs can be a massive boon to anyone's lifestyle aspirations. Some lucky folk are able to secure continuous house sitting assignments in areas which allow them to commute to their usual job. So instead of giving a large proportion of their wages to their landlord every month they get to invest their money in whatever they like (I like this idea!) Of course there are lots of people who can work from wherever they are calling home this month (such as authors) or who don't need to work at all (such as the retired). If you don't need to live in one spot – well, why would you?
Helen Bergstein of Digsville home exchange club talks about the boredom of the usual weekend trip away: the cost, the crowds, the lack of bathrooms. Then there's her way of getting away (home exchanging) and ours as well (house sitting). Either way you'll be dropped into someone else's version of domestic comfort and will be thrust into local life wherever you find yourself. If you can cope with becoming an instant 'neighbour' and the intimacy of living in someone else's home sweet home then house sitting could be for you!
RVers are always talking about the liberating joy of having a new view from their windows whenever they want one. Minding someone's house can do this for you, too.
One of our retiree house sitter members, author Frances Turney, writes about how house sitting gave her the freedom to live alone again after changes in her life had forced her to move in with relatives. House sitters can find themselves rattling around in sole charge of large houses in quiet secluded areas. This may sound like a great thing to you. Or a tiny studio in London's full-on Soho district may be more up your street. Thing is, you'll still be the captain of your own ship (for a time).
If you don't have space to swing a cat at your place you can always spread out at someone else's (but don't swing their cat around). Some home owners have taken a lot of time to fluff their nests with all sorts of creature comforts. The nice thing is, they are prepared to share their good fortune (for a time) with their house sitters.
Ah yes, can you hear that? No, neither can I.
This is something that house sitters often cite as a benefit of house sitting: the pleasures of the company of other peoples' pets. I guess, rather like being a grandparent, you get to hand them back to mum and dad after a time.
When you suddenly find yourself in a whole new environment you can't help but bump into new people. You never know, your new temporary neighbours may come visiting for a cup of sugar and soon become new friends. What is it they say – you can't have too many friends!
Offering your free house sitting services to a global audience of home owners is like asking the Universe to bring you something new and exciting (and unpredictable). Some house sitters are content (ecstatic even) to fly around the world from one house sitting assignment to the other. This kind of fulltime house sitting lifestyle is only for those who are free (and brave) enough to put all their stuff into storage and start roaming. The psychological benefits of this kind of house sitting are potentially enormous.