Nicole and Michael aren’t an ordinary couple – they live to travel the world and tell us all about it. They also do it in a very peculiar way, staying in other people’s homes while taking care of it. Free accommodation? Oh yes! The travelers behind Suitcase Stories have been traveling the world for over a year through housesitting and are loving it! I absolutely love their website and they are always ready to let you know about housesitting and the perks of free accommodation. Check it out www.suitcasestories.com
Rita: I absolutely love your website and your story. When did you know you had to travel the world more than a little bit at a time? What made the “click”?
Nicole: I always knew I wanted to travel long term but I thought it was just going to be something to daydream about. Then my mother passed away. Nothing makes you question you direction like a tragedy. We left 12 months later.
R: I follow your blog, your facebook page and twitter (I confess: I am your fan!), and I’ve noticed you feed it very often, so I assume you always stay in a home with internet? Is it something you always look for in a house you’ll housesit?
Michael: We never take a housesit without wifi. Now that we work on the blog and other projects full time, we absolutely need wifi wherever we go. Luckily we live in an age where most people have the internet.
R: Traveling the world with free accommodation is like a dream. Is it easy to apply? How would you advice someone who wants to start housesitting?
Nicole: It’s so easy! You jump onto one of the housesitting websites, we use www.trustedhousesitters.com, sign up and then there are hundreds of listings for you to search through. Its important to sell yourself well in your profile as this is the first impression the homeowners have of you.
R: You’ve house sat dozens of homes. Do you have a favorite? Or a top 3?
Michael: We have been very lucky and have loved every sit we have done. But yes, some stand out more than others. We had a multi million dollar home in the mountains with a view of a valley – It was breathtaking. We have a Florida sit we have done twice and while the home its gorgeous it’s the 2 dogs that we keep going back for. And the one we are in now in Barbados is a beautiful home…And did I mention its in Barbados!
R: From everywhere you’ve been, which destinations make your top 3?
Nicole: We both fell in love with Barcelona. We only had 4 days there but we would go back again in a heartbeat. My favorite place is NYC. And we are both very much loving Barbados right now!
R: When you commit to house sitting, do you have to be in the house most of the time? How does that work?
Michael: Most home owners are happy for you to go out during the day as long as you feed/walk the pets when required. We do not tend to go out a lot however cause we utilize our house sitting days to get our work done so we can work less while we are ‘on the road’ (staying in hotels between sits).
R: From your point of view, is there any downside to housesitting?
Nicole: For us no. It suits us perfectly. But for others, looking after pets could be an issue; not everyone loves animals as much as we do! You also have to remember it’s someone else’s home so you have to be respectful and not invite people over and keep it clean at all times. That might not sit well with some.
R: Are homeowners too picky? Are there many rules when you go into someone else’s home?
Michael: No, I don’t think they are too picky. They are letting complete strangers into their home, they should be picky! We haven’t had too many rules. Perhaps we are asked to stay out of a certain room in the house, or asked not to use the fancy crockery but all in all you pretty much have the run of the house as you would if you truly lived there.
R: Have you ever felt unsafe while housesitting? Or have the houses had any problems with it?
Nicole: We have never felt unsafe but we are picky with where we accept sits. And the worse thing that has happened to us so far is losing half a tree in a storm. So we have been extremely lucky and have had no major problems at all.
R: Where are you at the moment? Are you enjoying your current location?
Michael: We are in Barbados, we just arrived 3 days ago. We are sitting a beautiful two story home with manicured gardens and a pool. We are 5 minutes from the beach. If you haven’t been to Barbados the beaches here are amazing; soft white sand, crystal clear water. We have 7 weeks here – Its going to be tough!
R: How is it traveling long term as a couple? Are you always together?
Nicole: When we first left I was actually concerned it might spell the end of our 14 year relationship! But 15 months later, we are closer than we have ever been. We put it down to not having stress in our lives anymore so we are both happier and we laugh more which is a must for a strong relationship. And yes, we are always together, 24/7!
R: You left everything behind to follow your dream! Do you have a word of advice for someone who wants to start traveling the world but is too afraid to give the first step?
Nicole: There is nothing to be afraid of. Life is too short to settle for anything less than extraordinary. You just need to figure out what you want to do, work out a plan and a budget, save your little heart out and then go! Everyone deserves to live the life of their dreams – Don’t let fear or anything else stop you from that.
Thank you Nicole and Michael
Nicole and Michael are an Australian couple in who gave up their careers, sold their possessions and left their ‘conventional’ life behind for a life of travel. They have been living a nomadic life for 15 months and see no end in sight. They run Suitcase Stories, a website where they share their stories, travel tips and destination guides. They hope to inspire others to travel and to show people how long term travel is not only possible but affordable. You can follow their journey on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest also.
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