I'm a fairly critical person. I tend to look for ways to improve a system or situation whenever I can. I love our new life of what I call "Going Walkabout" (a term from Crocodile Dundee), but there are quite a few drawbacks, as you can imagine. So here are four things that suck about selling nearly everything you own to travel via housesitting (in no particular order).
It's harder to visit friends and family
This is pretty obvious, but there's a less obvious side to it. Of COURSE you can't see your friends and family as easily. They're so far away! But it's not only that. It FEELS harder to visit, so even if it isn't that much harder, they THINK it's harder. We just found out that we're going to France for a couple months and staying at a place with an extra room. We're already staying at a place with an extra room, so we know what will happen: "Come visit!" "Oh I WISH I could! (Enter excuses here)". But is it really that much harder than visiting us in Fort Dodge? Sure, for some it was just an hour drive. But for people farther away, it might actually be easier than it was before. If you're on either coast, you can get cheap flights and a Carry-On bag and visit for a week pretty easily. But it just FEELS so hard.
And because it FEELS so hard, it FEELS like we can't be visited. Before it was a case of "I can visit any time, so I'll find the right time!" (and then they put it off). But now we feel like we're inaccessible. So for some, it feels like they've lost us. But with all the technology of today, we're not that far away... but it definitely doesn't feel like it sometimes.
We don't have any of our stuff
Another no-brainer. That's what happens when you sell nearly everything you own. But on top of that, we can't get anything, either. There's no place to put it! We just saw a Christmas decoration that we thought was really cool (angels flying around by the power of candlelight), but there's just no place to keep it. Until we get a place of our own again, we have to look, but don't touch.
It's rough not having the comforts of our own home, but not being able to turn our surroundings into a home can be even worse. It's not OURS. When we see something we'd do differently, we just have to take a mental note. We can't enact our vision on the world, and that's a tough reality for someone like me. I enjoy upgrading things. Or at least making it more comfortable.
The stress of not knowing
When we look to the future, we can plan a bit, but for the most part, we don't know what's going to happen next. We just today finalized a housesit in France for March 2nd (less than 4 weeks away). We'll be there about two months, so we're already watching for something else so we can plan ahead. It's not easy to find housesits. They have to be in the right place at the right time and then you apply and have to compete with many other people. The uncertainty can be really stressful!
Navigating the passport/visa policies of other countries
So we've been in Cyprus, Germany, the UK, and now France. All of these are in the European Union, but there are three different policies that we have to figure out with these countries. France and Germany are part of the Schengen agreement, which allows a US passport holder to stay for 90 days out of 180 days. The UK allows us to stay for 180 days a year. And Cyprus allows for 90 days at a time, separate from the rest.
We also get a hard time if we don't have specific plans on when we'll leave. Which we almost never do, since, as I said above, we don't know what's coming next. And what if we aren't allowed entry into a country? What would our housesitters do then? We could find something else, but they might have problems finding someone that will drop the next month+ of their lives to take care of their pets.
I love our life. We're traveling, we're making tons of memories, and meeting cool people. But this life isn't for everyone. Sometimes it gets overwhelming. What's going to happen next? But I think it's worth it. We won't have this lifestyle forever. Eventually we'll settle down again. We'll make the most of it until it's done, but there are definitely growing pains until then.
Wish us luck!