Travelling light

I met up with an old friend of mine last night I haven’t seen for ages as she’s been travelling all over the world, learning to scuba dive in the Philippines and caring for pandas in China no less! All very glamorous!

And now she’s well and truly got the travel bug – something which has never really affected me. Whenever I think I want to go somewhere exotic on holiday I am quickly reminded when I go that I rarely travel long distances because I get car sick, sea sick, motion sick, air sick, sunburnt and of course am usually ‘sensitive’ too, shall we say, to the local cuisine. The second week of my last exotic holiday two years ago to gorgeous Central America was largely sponsored by Imodium, but I digress…

Of course, one of the problems with travelling is that it tends to cost an awful lot of money. Air travel isn’t cheap, even if the cost of living and accommodation in your chosen destination happens to be fairly low. And if you’re volunteering or simply bumming around taking in the scenery, it’s unlikely you’ll be earning any money. When you come back you’re probably broke as you’ve spent a fortune while you were away, and earned nothing and yet – as seems to be the case with all the people I know who’ve been travelling – you’re dying to pack your bags and do it all again. But, instead, suddenly you have to get a job and find somewhere to live, at least until you can save up the money to hit the road once more. And even if you can easily find work, it’s the rent that eats up all your money, especially in London where my friend lives.

But she has come up with a novel solution to the problem, which I think is really inspired. Instead of finding somewhere to rent, and spending a small fortune, she started staying on friends’ couches for a little while until she began worrying about outstaying her welcome. Then an opportunity to housesit for a mate came her way. They were grateful for her to provide the service for free – looking after their pets and generally ensuring the place looked lived in and the lights were on etc. to deter burglars, in exchange for a roof over her head. Anyone who has pets knows how expensive it is to put them in kennels/cattery etc. and a professional house-sitter doesn’t come cheap either at anything from £25 to £44 a day or more.

Now she’s booked up for the next month or so with free house-sitting sessions, while she freelances in London, and living rent free. The only downside is that she has to live out of a bag, but she’s used to doing this anyway having been travelling for six months. And she’s never in the same area of London twice. But on the plus side, she’s saving a lot of money each month, yet not irritating friends or her parents by looking for a free ride. I think it’s a great solution!  Have a good weekend. xxx

How did you save money for travelling? Have you ever done any house-sitting?

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2 Responses to Travelling light

  1. rik says:

    I once read about someone who lives like that full time. He managed to reduce all his possesions to fit in a rucksack and slept on friends sofa\’s etc. There are hundreds of people who live in temporary accomdation and work just to earn enough to travel again, the motorcycle and cycling worlds are full of them. Some live their lives travelling and working round the world, I know there are some cyclists who have done this for years, Heinz Stucke is probably the most famous. Then there\’s this, which is a little bit more ..erm…extreme to say the least!

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