5 Practical Reasons to House Sit (not one is a holiday!)

House and Pet Setting is a great way to find free accommodation, but it’s not only about traveling the world or taking vacations.

There are a number of other practical reasons why house sitting might be an option worth considering at some time in your life when your circumstances change.

Here are my top five suggestions:

Becoming an Expat

We don’t have to make huge, life changing decisions and long term commitments when services like house sitting allow us to test the water and acclimatise more gradually.

So, if you’re thinking of either temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of your citizenship, then house sitting gives you a great way to orientate yourself in a new environment.

It’s particularly difficult when relocating abroad to be sure that you’ve picked the best district to live in. If you organise a few consecutive house sits, you can compare the options and you’ll have immediate contacts. They might be able to give you invaluable advice about the best and safest residential areas.

House sitting is becoming popular around the world in many new previously unavailable countries. If there’s an expat community, there will likely be a house sitting community to cater for home owners who take extended trips home to visit family and friends.

Relocating to a new town or city

So you want a change of scene – a new town, city or maybe even a rural location. It’s stressful enough upping sticks and moving, so why add to the stress by rushing headlong into a long term property rental or house purchase before you know exactly what your new location can offer?

Signing up for a house sitting assignment will give you the opportunity to live in different parts of the town or city of your choice, so that you get to experience what there is on offer before committing long term.

But what about your stuff? Well remember that your accommodation will be free while house sitting so you’ll be able to afford to put your possessions into local storage. It’s likely that some of your utility bills and Wifi could also be free for a while.

If you have a dog to look after this will be a great way to meet the locals. My experience is that if you are walking a dog people will often stop and talk to you!

Completing a large project

Are you writing a book, creating a new online business, writing a dissertation, studying online or attending a long term course? Sometimes it becomes difficult to maintain focus in a familiar environment. It’s all too easy to pop round to the neighbours, invite friends over or simply cosy up on the sofa to watch a movie.

A great way to rekindle your enthusiasm and focus on a long term project is to settle into a new environment, away from the distractions of home.

This can be expensive if you turn to traditional options such as hotels and holiday rental properties. House sitting can give you the opportunity to take care of a property for an extended period of time, so that you can work on your project uninterrupted.

Lifestyle Living as a Global or Digital Nomad

There’s a growing community of people that have chosen to live a mobile, international lifestyle, travelling from one country to another without a permanent home or job.

My partner Ian and I belong to this category and we use house sitting almost exclusively as a way of experiencing different countries and cultures while making our living working remotely on the internet. It’s a liberating lifestyle and we are more than happy to give back to the house sitting community by offering our services to look after people’s properties, possessions and pets.

If you are considering opting out of mainstream society to become a global or digital nomad, then house sitting is a great way of finding free temporary accommodation within a homely environment.

Relationship breakdown

When a relationship or marriage breaks down you may find yourself in a difficult situation where both parties have no option but to continue living in one property together while trying to sell it.

When tensions are running high, it’s good to separate yourself from the situation. This gives you both the chance to evaluate the most practical options without continuing arguments or fallouts.

If one of you moves out to a local house sit, then it gives you the breathing space to deal with all the practical and legal issues, without the further expense of a rental property.

Of course you need to be of a sane mindset – house and pet sitting is a responsibility and you certainly don’t want conflicts to transfer from home to the house sit!


House sitting offers flexible options for living – if you want to find out more please check out our other articles. A great place to start is our website comparison that will help you get started, by subscribing to the best sites!

How to teach English in China

Teaching in China is big business. It’s said that if every TEFL teacher in the world went to China, there still wouldn’t be enough teachers to meet the demand!

Here’s my complete guide on how you can become an English language teacher in China. It covers absolutely everything you’ll need to know to get started in a new career in this fascinating country.

Discover how to find a job as an English teacher in my latest article at www.saporedicina:

How to find a job as an English Teacher in China

House Sitting Websites Compared

If you are new to house sitting or pet sitting, then you’ve probably discovered that you’ll need to subscribe to a website to get access to assignments.

Which house sitting website should I choose?

Here we compare the best house sitting websites and the services provided. We review the top 5 international house sitting websites and provide links to some of the country specific sites in popular countries like the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand.

  • Trusted House Sitters
  • Nomador
  • House Carers
  • Mind My House
  • House Sit Match

Without doubt Trusted House Sitters is the largest and most popular international house sitting website, with a wide range of assignments in countries around the world.

How do house sitting websites compare?

All of the subscription costs are shown in USD $ unless indicated

www.TrustedHouseSitters.com

Operated Since:
Price:
Average House Sits:
Countries:
Photo Upload:
Video Upload:
Reference Upload:
Police Checks:
ID Check:
Facebook Group:
Twitter Page:

2010
USD $96 year / $ 72 qtr
4000-5000
International
Yes (4 images)
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
trustedhousesitters
housesitting

This is the largest and most well known of the international house sitting websites. You will find house sits from all over the world but they are particularly strong in Europe, Australia and the USA.

They have the most house sitting assignments to choose from. Although they are the most expensive, the huge choice will increase your chances of selection. This website is also run as a professional business and we have seen the site improved time and time again over the years.

Definitely one to have at the top of your list!

www.Nomador.com

Operated Since:
Price:
Average House Sits:
Countries:
Photo Upload:
Video Upload:
Reference Upload:
Police Checks:
ID Check:
Facebook Group:
Twitter Page:

2014
USD $ 89 year / $ 35 qtr
1000-2000
International, specialise France & Europe
Yes
?
?
Yes
Yes
nomador.community
Nomador_Com

Nomador is fairly new to the scene but it’s already gaining ground on the three other most popular sites. This site was originally operated as a French house sitting site called Ilidor. Its French connection means there are still a lot of house sits in France, but the business is now run out of Australia. So, international registrations are becoming much more prolific. The site is however, a little difficult to navigate in terms of pre-registration browsing.

The website’s modern design has a unique trust-based identity upload area for passports, driving licences and other forms of ID. This identity check provides extra reassurance for homeowners. Your uploaded information is not shared and it is disposed of once the verification is complete.

www.HouseCarers.com

Operated Since:
Price:
Average House Sits:
Countries:
Photo Upload:
Video Upload:
Reference Upload:
Police Checks:
ID Check:
Facebook Group:
Twitter Page:

2000
USD $ 50 year
300-400
International, specialise in Aus, NZ
Yes
Yes
Yes (maximum 14)
Yes
No
housecarers
housecarers

Another long standing international site, although they do seem to specialise more in house sitting assignment in Australia, USA, Canada and New Zealand. But there are some listings in other countries around the world. Definitely worth considering, and the website has had a major overhaul so the user interface is much easier to use and with more features than before.

They have a limited free trial although you can’t upload photographs or contact home owners. You will get daily alerts so it could be worth a try just to see what you get offered.

We’ve just secured our latest house sit with HouseCarers. We’ll be looking after a beautiful luxury property in Australia, with a pool and a fabulous view! We were very happy with their service and the ease of use.

www.HouseSitMatch.com

Operated Since:
Price:
Average House Sits:
Countries:
Photo Upload:
Video Upload:
Reference Upload:
Police Checks:
ID Check:
Facebook Group:
Twitter Page:

2013
GBP £ 35 / £ 59  (2 plans)
100-200
UK, AUS, Europe, Caribbean
Yes – 2 to 7 depends on subscription
Yes – on £ 59 plan
Yes
Yes
No
housesitmatch
housesitmatch

House Sit Match is another newcomer to the house sitting scene. Initially the site focused on house sits in the UK and Australia but new countries are being added all the time. Their strength in Europe is currently in the UK and Spain.

They don’t have so many house sitting assignments – 118 on the day of writing this – but they are currently offering home owners a great £1 subscription option so this should result in a lot more availability over the next few months! They also have lots of great resources. We will be trying out House Sit Match when we return to Europe, and in my opinion this is one website to watch!

www.MindMyHouse.com

Operated Since:
Price:
Average House Sits:
Countries:
Photo Upload:
Video Upload:
Reference Upload:
Police Checks:
ID Check:
Facebook Group:
Twitter Page:

2005
USD $ 20 year
200-300
International
Yes
No
Yes
Yes
No
not active since 2013 – use twitter
MindMyHouse1

Another good international website that gets regularly updated and improved.

This site is inexpensive to join at USD $20 a year and so we would suggest it should be added to your top three as a matter of course. You’ve nothing to lose really at this price!

It has a good messaging system and a great search system with a useful map locator. There’s lots of relevant information to help you get started and they have some good downloadable resources.

Country Specific House Sitting Websites

Not all house sitting sites cover international assignments. Some prefer to focus on one particular country, such as the UK, or a region such as Australia & New Zealand.

If you are planning to house sit in the UK, USA, Australia or New Zealand, then you might find it beneficial to also subscribe to one of these more focused websites.

We’ve always found that HouseSittersUK has worked very well for us when we’ve been looking for sites in the UK, and I think if we were looking in Australia, we would definitely look to sign up to a similar site there

Remember that many home owners will have signed up to the larger international sites as well, so you need to weigh up whether you think it’s worth it.

House sitting websites in Australia

Australia is a great place to house sit. Many Aussies love to travel and usually for extended periods. This means properties are available throughout the year in some great and often interesting locations and there are more country specific websites here than in most other countries.

If you are an Australian looking to house sit primarily in your home countries then one of more of these sites are worth subscribing to and we would definitely recommend: www.aussiehousesitters.com

If you are planning to spend an extended period of time in Australia house sitting long term, then we would also recommend signing up to an Australian specific website.

However, if you have subscribed to House Carers and Trusted House Sitters you will have a large selection of Australian assignments available to you. We suggest you browse the sites of your international subscriptions first, and compare to your country specific selection to see what sort of duplication of assignments exists.

We recently came across a new comparison website that compares all the features available on the more popular Australian specific websites and international sites such as Trusted House Sitters. It is new and some information is yet to be uploaded but it might be worth checking out at  www.comparehousesitting.com

www.happyhousesitters.com.au
www.aussiehousesitters.com.au
www.mindahome.com.au
www.housesittersaustralia.com.au
www.australianhousesitter.com.au
www.housesitworld.com.au

House sitting websites in New Zealand

www.kiwihousesitters.co.nz

House Sitting websites in the USA

Given the size of America and the number of house sitting opportunities that exist, there are very few country specific house sitting websites available.

This is probably why House Sitters America do so well. They charge only $30 a year for anywhere in the USA. Some sites charge by zones or states so this really is a good deal.
The website runs and operates easily using the same format as House Sitters UK, a company we’ve had great personal success with.

www.housesittersamerica.com
www.housesitworld.com/usa/

House Sitters UK Website
House Sitters UK Website

House Sitting websites in the UK

House sitting in the UK is extremely popular and there are two great country specific websites. We are subscribed to House Sitters UK and I find their website really easy to navigate. We had instant success when we joined up, finding two consecutive house sits within just a few weeks. They have a great instant messaging system, cost only £15 for a year and currently have over 100 assignments listed.

Again, as with Australia, you should compare how many of these assignments are featured on the international websites if you are only looking to house sit temporarily in the UK.

www.housesittersuk.co.uk
www.mindahome.co.uk

How do I get started? Try our new online course for only $19

If you want to learn how to become a successful house sitter or pet sitter then we have a newly released online course on Udemy.

This course covers all the techniques used by successful house sitters. We’ll show you all the tips and strategies you’ll need to secure the assignments of your choice time and time again. You’ll discover all the secrets to becoming a credible, well respected house sitter, even as a newcomer.

You can get this course for only USD $19 (a 50% discount) by clicking this link:

Udemy Online Course – House Sitting: how to get free world travel accommodation

Or watch our Youtube video introduction here:

House Sitting – Introduction to becoming a successful international house sitter

Join our Reddit community

You can also join our subreddit where you’ll find lots of useful resources, house sitting articles and a question and answer forum:

https://www.reddit.com/r/housesittingforum/

We hope you’ve found this article helpful – message us if you have any questions – we’d love to help you get started!

Updated 10th August 2015

 

House Sitting in the UK

It was tough leaving the USA and even tougher selling the RV, our home for six months while we traveled around the southern states. But now we were back in England looking forward to house sitting in Reading.

I had grown up close by, so it was interesting to see how Reading had developed from my memory of a dingy, soulless town into a vibrant, modern city.

We were looking after an apartment that overlooked a park and the River Thames, just a short walk across the bridge to the city center. We had no car but we really didn’t need one here as the we could almost see the train station from our balcony!

This is one of those house sits that nearly didn’t happen. We were scheduled to look after Karen’s country home and her dogs for three weeks while she traveled. But a personal issue meant that she had to cancel and so no longer needed a sitter. However, she knew that we were flying in from the US and that it was too short notice for us to easily secure another assignment, and so she offered up her second property that was in the process of being sold.

Our house sitting home in Reading
Our house sitting home in Reading

This is what’s so lovely about the house sitting community. On the whole, and I believe because no money changes hands, everything is handled on the basis of trust and respect. People don’t want to let each other down, and Karen was amazing in this respect. When we arrived at the apartment, she’d even stocked up the fridge for us and put the heating on. What great hospitality.

So what exactly is house sitting?

House Sitting is a trend that’s become extremely popular over the last few years. It’s now a recognized alternative to a regular vacation and a great accommodation option for longer term travel.

Some people (and we’re almost in this category), house sit as a way of life. It’s an inexpensive way to visit and live temporarily in different countries and cultures round the world.

Sunny morning on the River Thames
Sunny morning on the River Thames

Instead of leaving a house vacant, home owners use house sitters to care for their property, possessions and pets. This can be anything from a few days to a few months, or even longer. By registering on international house sitting websites such as Trusted House Sitters, you can choose properties all over the world to stay in free of charge!

Continue reading House Sitting in the UK

Hiking across the Grand Canyon

Whenever the Grand Canyon is shown in the UK, as a tourist destination, it is promoted alongside Las Vegas, suggesting that the two American locations sit side by side on the Nevada/Arizona border. I was so sure that a visit to the Grand Canyon would be just a short coach trip from the gambling capital of the world that it came as quite a shock to discover the south rim of the Grand Canyon was actually a 270 mile drive away!

Backpacking Grand CanyonIt was even more of a surprise to find that a trip from the south rim to the north rim was a five hour trip and a further 220 miles! Traveling in a 34ft RV that managed only 5-8 miles a gallon, meant that some serious planning was necessary to ensure we didn’t blow our entire fuel budget visiting just one National Park!

As we headed through the massive Indian Reservations to the eastern end of the canyon, we considered our options. We really wanted to visit both south and north rims, but I’d also hoped to fit in a visit to “Sin City”, to gamble some cash at the poker tables! Still for now, we needed to concentrate on keeping our large oversized motor-home safe as we negotiated the steep windy roads up through the stunning Kaibab National Forest.

When we finally drove into the entrance of park, I expected to see the canyon ahead of me. But it was soon apparent that there were still a good few miles of driving before we would reach the Desert View area of the canyon at the eastern edge of the canyon. However, it was well worth a preamble.

The RVAfter parking the RV we found ourselves just a short walk from the unprotected edge of what was one of the most awe inspiring views I have ever encountered. A vast wilderness encompassing 277 river miles (446km), extending up to 18 miles across to the north rim, and a mile deep to the Colorado River. This view really does take your breath away, plunging you into a deep, silent meditation as you try to comprehend the two billion years of geological history that stretches before you.

As the second most visited National Park in America, around five million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, many of whom do no more than take a brief tour of the Mather Point Visitor Centre. They head in droves to the protected edges, pose for their “selfie”, or share cameras with other visitors as they try to capture their silhouettes against this famous backdrop. But there is so much more to do here and we were in no rush to leave this park. It was an easy decision to bypass Las Vegas and save this city for another visit.

Desert View Grand CanyonWe checked in easily at the Desert View campsite (7438ft), which is run on a first come, first served basis and provides 50 sites. If you arrive early in the morning you have a better chance of securing a good spot, and we were soon settled into a secluded site that would be home for the next few days.

Unlike Mather, there is no shuttle bus service at this end of the park. This means a car or bicycles are a necessity if you want to explore all the viewpoints. However, there are not nearly as many people, and you are much more likely to find a quiet spot on the edge of the canyon where you can watch the spectacular sunsets. We made this even more romantic by buying a bottle of wine, and some snacks from the well-stocked store to enjoy the hour spent gazing into and across the canyon.

If you are lucky as we were, you may see an electric storm way off in the distance, and be able to watch lightning zigzagging across the night sky. Of course, lightning close by results in a dramatic evacuation – electric storms at this height and exposure are the main cause of death in America’s National Parks. Just look for the scarred trees that litter the rim to see the power that is unleashed!

Sunset at Grand CanyonWe spent the next morning exploring the Desert View visitor area and the prominent Desert View Water Tower. Built in 1932 and designed by architect Mary Colter, it was constructed in the style of the ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau. Along with the Kolb brothers, Mary Colter is a notable contributor to the park’s history and we found the easiest way to find out more about her legacy was to attend a ranger talk.

Every evening the park rangers take turns to bring life to the history, culture and geology of the park. Sat in a small ampitheatre overlooking the rim, we spent the pre-sunset hour listening to tales of adventure, daring, struggle, toil, survival and death. The rangers really do work hard to passionately share their own love of the Grand Canyon and I was soon experiencing the strength of emotion that this wilderness bestows on its visitors.

We spent one of our days cycling to both Navajo Point and Lipan Point. Again there were relatively few people along the route and we were able to clamber across the rocks for more accessible views of the Colorado River. This end of the park offers more unprotected access, but extreme care should be taken if you venture beyond the safe areas. A steep uphill climb took us on to the Tusayan Museum where we were given a glimpse into Pueblo Indian life in the Grand Canyon some 800 years ago. A self-guided trail leads through the adjacent Tusayan Ruins which gives some insight into what was once a thriving Puebloan community.

DSC03687After a few days exploring all that we could at Desert View, we traveled west 25 miles to the Grand Canyon Village at Mather Point. We hoped to get a last minute camping slot in what is by contrast, one of the most difficult campsites to find space in. People book months ahead and unless you can be flexible, it is a risk to just turn up without a booking. We were prepared to travel out of the park if necessary, but were fortunate that a cancellation had just been registered and our next RV campsite was secured.

How different it is at Mather Point, the central hub of the Grand Canyon. Here you will find all the lodgings, restaurants, administrative offices, and any number of safe rim trails, museums and other cultural, historical, and geological sites. After the relative peace of Desert View, Mather was quite a shock. We were stunned by the sheer number of people visiting from all over the world. But, it was reassuring to see that the “village” was well spaced out over a large area with trees and green areas masking the “tourist” nature of this site. In fact, it is situated over such a large area that a free shuttle bus service is in operation to ensure that you can get to all the different viewpoints and trails, easily and quickly.

Another option is to hire a mountain bike, but be warned – some of the roads are a little steep! There is a new cycle route down to Tusayan which we explored, arriving just in time to watch the stunning IMAX film that shows many of the inaccessible views of the canyon and Colorado River. It was a downhill ride for about 8 miles so we opted for the shuttle bus back to avoid the long uphill return cycle! If you can’t find accommodation in the park, Tusayan provides further options. However, the shuttle does close at the end of summer, so check dates and times before booking.

DSC03730It is from the central village that the famous Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails meander down steeply to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. These trails are not for the fainthearted or ill-equipped hiker. In fact, you are advised to only tackle a short 3 mile out and back trek, as the steep descent and subsequent ascent is more than a lot of people can comfortably manage. It is quite fun to see the excited, relaxed faces on the way down, replaced by exhausted, pain filled expressions as they return in the 90 degree heat! I have to admit that, as fit as I was at this point of our travels, I found the steep uphill climb from Indian Garden a considerable challenge!

We packed in as many of the view points as we could during our three days, walking and cycling along the rim and making full use of the shuttle service. Our original plan had been to stay at Phantom, the famous ranch hidden deep at the bottom of the canyon, and close to the equally famous Colorado River. However, we discovered that this also required advance booking, up to a year ahead, and so it seemed extremely unlikely we would get a last minute cancellation on the dates that we wanted.

The more research we did, the more the idea of back-backing into the canyon began to appeal to us both. We had the time and we could be flexible. We would have to apply for last minute cancellation permits, and that might mean waiting a few days. The more we studied the trails, the more adventurous we became. Until finally, we decided that we would travel around to the North Rim after first visiting Bryce and Zion National Parks.

DSC04184This would allow us to build up our fitness while hiking trails in these mountain parks, before tackling the 45 mile hike from North to South Rim and then after a couple of nights rest, back from the South Rim to the North. Only 1% of visitors venture across the canyon and even less attempt the return trip. But we wanted to stretch our capabilities and spend as much time as we could deep within this wilderness landscape.

Our plan took shape. The summer weather meant we could travel lightly. Just a lightweight tent, some cooking gear, food, and a sleeping bag – all provided inexpensively through a visit to Walmart. In fact all our equipment cost less than one night at in a shared dormitory at Phantom Ranch.

We left Grand Canyon excited, knowing that within just three weeks we would be parked up at the North Rim contemplating a once in a lifetime adventure. The north rim is much quieter because of its remote location. It was a long drive from Zion National Park to the north entrance. It was also a lot cooler due to its height at 8500ft. We were assured by the campsite hosts that the temperature at the bottom of the canyon would still be close to a challenging 100 degrees Fahrenheit!

We arrived early at the permit office and collected our queue number. It wasn’t long before we were sat discussing our route with a qualified ranger. She had a cancellation the next day but only had space at Phantom campsite for 2 nights, not for Indian Garden where we had planned to spend our second night. However, she convinced us that a two night stop after the long 14 mile trek down would give us plenty of recovery time. It would also give us time to explore the riverbanks and the shorter trails along the Colorado River.

DSC03794We set off in the early morning shade, on a trail that was almost deserted once we had passed the three mile marker. The track hugged the side of the canyon walls, and required steady footing as the fall off the narrow path was far and long. The landscape changed constantly as we descended deeper, and the canyon revealed a beautiful sequence of rock layers which provide a unique window on time. We stopped for a break at the Cottonwood campsite and picked out a great site for our return trip. The sun was hot by this stage and the final eight miles to Phantom seemed endless as we followed a stream down towards the riverbed.

When we finally saw the sign for Phantom, after a long 14 mile hike we were pretty exhausted. We were longing to set down our backpacks and rest our weary feet and aching backs in the ranch restaurant before setting up camp. Tiredness made the rest of the day a blur and I don’t think I have ever been so keen to get into a tent and fall asleep!

Phantom RanchThe Ranger was right – a day of rest was very welcome after the strenuous hike and we enjoyed sitting on the banks of the Colorado River soaking up the sun before rising early the next day to start the 8 mile ascent back up the Bright Angel Trail to Mather Point. By the time we reached the south rim we felt like seasoned Grand Canyoners and were proud of our achievement. We spent two days resting before descending back down the Kaibab Trail, again to camp at Phantom. We then took two days to walk back out to the north rim spending a stormy night at Cottonwood camp.

DSC04191It is hard to explain the sublime delight of spending time in the Grand Canyon, and we have already started exploring more adventurous hikes along some of the less used trails. This is a special place that promotes a special sense of belonging and I would urge everyone who is thinking of visiting to put this high on their priority list. It was one of the most awe inspiring experiences of my life and one that I would happily revisit at any time.

For more information about park opening times, campsites, hotels and hiking permits, visit: http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

DSC04232

 

Working off-grid: Is there such a thing as too remote?

Remote working opens up a world of exciting opportunities – and I really do mean world. With the latest technological advances in the realm of communication, borders are no longer barriers.  In some situations it is now possible to work remotely from absolutely anywhere…

For many people the term remote working suggests a small office space at home, or a co-working space that provides an alternative working environment. It is a workspace that allows them to apply focus away from the traditional company office. But today’s modern inter-connected world allows the true entrepreneur to dream and achieve on a much bigger scale. Let me tell you about my remote workspace, to give an example of what is really possible when you start to live and work on your own terms.

I live with my partner on a small two acre island off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Our home is completely ‘off-grid’. We have no connection to mains electricity or water. Solar cells and a bank of batteries provide our power and rainwater collection …….

Read the full article on Virgin Entrepreneur here:

http://www.virgin.com/entrepreneur/working-off-grid-is-there-such-a-thing-as-too-remote

MAKING A BIG LIFE CHANGE IS PRETTY SCARY ….

regretI don’t know who wrote this quote but it certainly resonates with me.

Making a big life change is scary – I should know, I’ve made enough of them. I’ve given up secure jobs to travel, I’ve extracted myself from failing relationships, and I’ve lived in several different countries around the world, including the island in the picture above. But the scariness is short lived. I’ve discovered that the fear I imagine is far worse than the reality of the experience.

Change for me is liberating. I like nothing more than the slightly “edgy” feeling of embarking on a new adventure, of stepping outside my comfort zone – it makes me feel alive!

Of course, I’m not suggesting life is all about relentless, perpetual change. There have been many times when I have been settled, content and taken time to enjoy a particular pastime or environment. But I am suggesting that living in any sort of long term compromise is bad for the soul!

As kids, most of us are naturally explorative. We are pioneers and adventurers! But the older we get, the harder it is to step out of our comfort zone, regardless of any desire to do so. It takes a concerted effort and a lot of support! The more “security” we have, the more “insecure” we seem to become and for some this can create a feeling of being trapped and unhappy.

We all get bored from time to time – that is why we have created so many activities and pastimes to fill our lives. We need continual stimulation to feel positive and inspired. But occasionally we become more restless and recognize that a bigger change or challenge is needed to rekindle our spirit of adventure.

It doesn’t matter whether it is a big change or a small change – any change is better than none if you feel unhappy or restless with your life. Much will depend on your circumstances, your personality and your financial situation, but these should not be constraints. There are ways around all situations with some “out of the box” thinking and general resourcefulness.

Learning to set and accomplish goals can be an important part of making successful life changes. Writing down your goals is also very important – it shows a sense of commitment and makes a statement of intent.

If you are ready to make a change in your life, start by making a short list, just 2 or 3 things you’d like to be different. Then work out a feasible plan to make these changes happen. Stay out of your imagination and keep everything very practical. Set a completion date and mark this on a calendar. Tell as many people as possible and talk to your family and friends. The more support you have the easier it will be to follow through.

Of course there will be some people who will want to convince you not to follow your dreams – but remember they are usually the ones who are too scared to make similar changes in their own lives.

Stay strong, and keep yourself focused on what is important to you – you will be an inspiration to others and you may find yourself living your lifestyle of choice sooner than you thought possible!

No regrets!

How to survive a Chinese spa

I’d heard a lot about spas here in Shenzhen and how different they were to western versions, and I was keen to see how they compared. One of my students offered to take us to D-Club, a luxury spa in the Futian district and it really was an experience unlike any other!

Read the story of how our day unfolded here:

http://www.saporedicina.com/english/luxury-chinese-spa-experience/

Lovin’ Bloglovin’

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I’ve been wondering lately how to manage all the interesting blogs and information that I read. It seems that we all love to write and share our experiences. But as it becomes more and more easy to create stylish information based websites, I find myself drawn to so many articles.

And the problem is that I wander.

I wander through all the links and find inevitably that I’ve lost the original article I was so interested in reading! I guess I’ve been so busy getting lost deep within layers of internet searches that I haven’t had time to find Bloglovin’

After dallying briefly with Feedly I sort of gave up – but thanks to a great travel blog I was linked to last night I finally found Bloglovin’

So far so good – and here I am now “claiming my blog”. I was instructed to write a new blog and insert the relevant code but none of my latest blog posts are ready. So as I’m an impatient girl, I’ve written this short entry to test that it works!

For anyone reading these few short paragraphs, please, please take time to look at my “real” articles! I’m a global traveller living with my partner, Ian Usher, and partaking in a lifestyle adventure that I hope will see me through the rest of my life!

Two years ago Ian and I began travelling the world after a chance meeting in London. DivergingRoads.com tells our story as we meander happily through our lifestyle adventure, finding ways to make a living while experiencing as many cultures as possible.

I hope you find some inspiration here to live your life exactly as you want to.

More coming very soon!

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