Why We Changed From RV Living To Full-Time Pet Sitting

Full time RV regrets

Last updated on January 11th, 2020

Our journey to find the right type of freedom…

The desire to travel and be free of the constraints of a “normal” life has led us down some interesting paths. Although, we are currently traveling full-time as house and pet sitters, our journey as nomads didn’t begin this way.

In early 2017, we sold almost everything we owned to live in an RV full-time.

The term recreational vehicle (RV) is often used as a broad category of motor vehicles (especial in the US) which include living quarters designed for temporary accommodation. Similar but often larger than a motorhome or campervan.

We wanted a big, dramatic change to get out of the frustrating cycle of working too hard and buying too much stuff that we didn’t need. All of which was making us more miserable every day.

It was exciting and freeing to first drive off in our new rolling home. However, we quickly learned that this new lifestyle was not without its own set of challenges.

RV Living Digital NomadsThe struggles of full-time RVing

The day-to-day planning, worry about something breaking, and trying to figure out how the heck to work from the road, was much more stressful than we realized it would be. We were overwhelmed almost immediately, but were determined to make it work.

Of course, it was also amazing at times.

Our summer was spent exploring Atlantic Canada – all the way to Newfoundland. Getting to sleep on farms in our RV, or waking up next to the ocean, felt like heaven. It really was the epic adventure we wanted. However, we only had those three months planned. The rest of the time, we were just driving around aimlessly trying to decide what to do and spend as little money as possible.

Definitely not the constant vacay we imagined.

When we decided to take the plunge, we also saw the full-time RV lifestyle as a way to save money, but that wasn’t the case, especially if we wanted to stay at campgrounds.

So, we “boondocked” (camped without hookups on public land) as often as possible. However, as we began to get more freelance work, the need for a steady internet connection pulled us out of the woods and onto the cement slab RV park life. It wasn’t what we wanted. We didn’t feel free.

Change from RV Living to House SittingThe big change

Although we were beginning to wonder if this was the right decision for us around month two, it wasn’t until our eighth month of RVing that things really changed for us.

One of the main reasons we began RVing was because we had a loving, fluffy cat named Sugar and we wanted her to be able to travel with us. Living in a rolling home with her just made the most sense. We got to see new places, and she still got to snuggle us each night.

So, when she passed away unexpectedly, not even a year into RVing, it was time to re-evaluate. We were devastated by our loss, but no longer being pet parents meant we no longer needed any kind of home base – certainly not this RV that brought us so much stress.

We tried to push through and keep RVing, but we ended up selling just before our one-year anniversary of hitting the road.

Pet Sitting instead of RVingLife after the RV – why pet sitting?

As we discussed what life would look like after RVing, we kept coming back to four big points:

  • It was central to our lives that we could continue to travel a lot
  • We needed more consistency than the RV provided
  • Spending time with animals as often as possible was important
  • We wanted to do something that provided value to others

After reading a blog about a couple who were house and pet sitting, we knew this was the right choice for us as well. Although getting another pet didn’t make sense due to our desire to travel extensively, we knew being around animals brought us joy. So, the idea of getting to spend time with someone’s beloved pets while getting to travel was a dream come true.

We also love the consistency of having a home base for a few weeks or more. It helps inform our travel, so we don’t feel like we are scrambling every night or week to make plans. And, getting to help another traveler have peace of mind during their trip is such a wonderful thing.

RVing to House SittingFirst impressions

We’ve only been pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters for a few months, but it is everything we want and more. It has allowed us to make so many friends already – from fluffy faced pets, to their sweet owners, to other sitters. And we get to stay in beautiful places with all the comforts of home.

TrustedHouseSittersDiscountPlus, we haven’t had to buy any of the necessities we’d need at a home – it’s all provided. We actually downsized even further after giving up full-time RVing, so we could fit everything in our car!

House Sitting Freedom LifestyleIt truly feels like freedom now

There aren’t any worries  we had of our expensive “rolling home” breaking down on us. We aren’t spending any money on campgrounds or rent. And, we are able to travel even more extensively than ever before. This summer, we’re spending two months pet sitting in Hawaii, and are always looking out for other amazing far-away sits.

Being a nomad will always have special challenges. We’ll constantly have to adapt and figure out what makes the most sense at the current moment. We’re not sure how long we’ll travel this way. But, every time we meet a new happy, furry face, we are reassured that this is the best possible way we could be spending our time right now. And we are so grateful to all the people who trust us with their home and beloved pets. It is a truly beautiful thing.

Author Bio
Brooke and Buddy Baum are digital nomads who pet and house sit while they travel full-time. During and between sits, they like to explore new areas, hike, and spend time chatting with interesting people. Buddy is the photographer and videographer, while Brooke is the writer and trip planner. They share their experiences on their website, TrailingAway, and love to connect with other travelers on Instagram – @trailingaway.

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Joanne - Reply

How do we “hire” someone to pet/house sit,

Frank - Reply

We have been House Sitting since 2016. We are retired couple enjoying traveling, animals and new places and life.
I do advise to do it with a home base location to be able to return in any heart change , home or family sick or holidays.
Can we have meetings, once a year perhaps. Everybody has different very interesting stories.

    Vanessa Anderson - Reply

    It sounds, Frank, like you have adopted this wonderful lifestyle of house sitting too. Where is home I wonder? We try to share many stories in the magazine every two months, but you are right, more regular meetups would be great to share anecdotes face to face. We actually created https://mapahub.com for that purpose, and as we are going to be back in the UK for a year from mid-August, we’re going to try and organize the biggest meetup of house sitters to date! So hope your home country is the UK, then you can come along!

Suzanne [globalhousesitterX2] - Reply

We loved motorhoming and did it for 10 years and much of that time we were fulltime until we had a new home built. Then sold it all to do housesitting full time. We are early retirees. Enjoyed reading about your journey. Have fun!

Deby - Reply

We lived in an RV and traveled round for 9 months – best time we ever had. But that was before we spent so much time online, and now I can see how frustrating it would be to try to work without steady internet. We have a cat too, and can’t bear to leave him – we just won’t but are dying for adventure. Right now it feels like our love of animals is actually holding us back – we can’t travel or pet sit with a cat. But one day, one sad day, our time will come to leave our home base when our Scruffy crosses the rainbow bridge. Then pet sitting sounds ideal. Just wondering, now you basically live out of a car, what do you do to live frugally when you are between sits?

    Brooke - Reply

    I definitely understand that! Many of the homeowners we’ve met actually plan to house/pet sit as well, so they can travel inexpensively while having loving care for their pet by another house sitter. To answer your question, we try not to have more than one or two nights between sits, so the occasional accommodation fee every other month or so doesn’t hurt too badly. Since we have our own blog about travel, we sometimes get opportunities to review a hotel as well. Homeowners often invite us to stay an extra night or come early if we need to, and we’ve gotten really good at saying yes to those offers, too! In the future, we also plan to have a tent to save further by camping. However, since we have such limited bills, we have no problem spending on mini “vacations” when needed. Hope this helps!

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