Meet Ros & Alan Cuthbertson, an Australian couple in their late 50s – they are expats who house sit, and this is their story.
We first heard of house sitting in 2014 when we signed up to Aussie House Sitters looking for sitters to take care of our house and cat. At the time we really liked the idea of house sitting and promised ourselves that we would take it up someday.
In the meantime we endured the loss of loved ones and realized that life can change in the blink of an eye. Not wanting to waste another minute, we quit our jobs and headed to Thailand in October 2015.
After settling in the Northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, a great city for expats, we made heaps of new friends and enjoyed the laid-back lifestyle. But we love to travel and the house sitting seed planted in 2014, began to grow.
Our first house sit was in early 2016 and since then we haven’t looked back, we have house sat in destinations across Asia, the United Kingdom and Europe, dividing our time between an expat life in Chiang Mai and a nomadic house sitting lifestyle.
What We Love About House Sitting
In our time as house sitters we have visited places that we have only dreamed of and woken up to stunning mountain and lakeside views of Lake Geneva in France, joined the chaotic hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam and walked misty Loch paths in the Scottish Highlands.
House sitting has taken us to the cities of London, Hong Kong and Singapore and to places well off the tourist radar. It allows us to immerse ourselves in the customs, culture and life of the areas we visit, and we have had so many wonderful experiences.
How We Live In Chiang Mai, Thailand
We love our house sitting adventures, but we also love our time in Chiang Mai, where living is exotic, cheap and full of life.
Our home is a centrally located one-bedroom apartment that is within walking distance to Chiang Mai tourist attractions and nightlife. Our apartment costs $575AUD a month, extra living costs are internet, electricity and water which are much cheaper than western prices.
Although we do have cooking facilities in our apartment we rarely use them because it is cheaper to eat out. Entertaining is easy because friends usually meet up at a restaurants or entertainment venues to socialise.
Best of all is the fun we have with all our friends. Since giving up work we have the time and energy to have quality time with friends. We have met so many interesting and like-minded people since arriving in Chiang Mai and there are plenty of activities to join in.
What We Love About Thailand
We never tire of living in Thailand, we marvel at the beauty of Buddhist temples and watch as saffron robed Monks go about their daily chores. We explore stunning mountain scenery that stretches as far as the eye can see and visit long necked Hill Tribes who wear exquisite embroidery. We visit markets to sample new and exotic foods and mix with a race of people who have such a kind and peaceful outlook on life.
Chiang Mai’s location is perfect for exploring other Asian countries, within a couple of hours you can be in the neighboring countries of Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. We have documented many of our travel experiences to these countries on our travel blog Frequent Traveller.
The Benefits Of A Dual Lifestyle
Who doesn’t love the house sitting lifestyle!
We get to stay in luxurious accommodation rent free, we get to borrow a fantastic bunch of pets without the responsibility of a lifetime commitment, we get to test drive and live like a local in stunning locations across the world and we lead a jet setting lifestyle.
House sitting is a brilliant way to travel the world and I consider myself fortunate every day of my life, it’s a life many people only dream about.
House sitting comes with an element of responsibility, you are ON 24/7 and your nomadic existence can often see you moving weekly.
How many of us were sure they saw that must have cooking utensil in the draw only to remember it was in the last house? Who has woken up in the middle of the night trying to remember where they were?
Trivial complaints I know, but there are times when you just want to be you, free of responsibility and in a place long enough to recharge, and that’s where living in Thailand comes in.
Having Your Cake And Eating It
Spending part of the year in Chiang Mai gives us an opportunity to catch up and have fun with friends, recharge and enjoy all that Chiang Mai has to offer without breaking the bank.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be Thailand, it could be any country that has a lower cost of living, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Mexico or Peru, the choice is yours.
There is no right or wrong way to house sit, both full time and part time house sitting have their advantages, it all comes down to personal choice.
One thing’s for sure, after a few months in Thailand we are always excited to get back on the house-sitting wagon to catch up with some well-loved animals and to explore new horizons.
Alan and Ros Cuthbertson are co-founders of the popular website Frequent Traveller. They write about their travel adventures and have had the privilege of working with various tourism boards across Europe, England, Scotland and Asia.
They’ve always loved travel, but a series of life lessons made them realize that life is short and they didn’t want to waste another moment. In 2015 they quit their jobs and took off to see the world!
You can also follow them on Facebook and Instagram