Meet the Housesitters 2:

Nomads and Pawpads

Welcome to the second installment of Meet the Housesitters. Every two weeks, we will talk to different housesitters we have met through our travels in real life and on social media. We will get to know what types of housesitters are out there and how the travel exchange concept has worked for them.

This week’s housesitters are Jori and Austin of Nomads and Pawpads.

Photos in this post are by Nomads and Pawpads.

Let’s Get to Know Jori and Austin

Nomads and Pawpads are some of the more visible full-time housesitters on social media sites like Instagram and TikTok. We first heard of them when they were being interviewed on an American talkshow. They are amazing content creators and seem like such positive and caring people.

I sent them my questions. Here’s how it went:

Can you talk a little about how you came to house and pet sitting? What prompted it and how long have you been doing it? Are you full-time or part-time?

“Thanks so much for having us on your blog! We love the concept you’ve created and are thrilled to be a part of it. “

Meet the housesitters Jori and Austin
Jori and Austin of Nomads and Pawpads

“Our house sitting journey started somewhat by accident. When we met in 2020 we were both working 9-5 jobs, but we had both wanted to find a way that we could support ourselves while traveling abroad. We threw various ideas around, and we were strongly considering a working holiday visa in New Zealand or Australia. The problem was that we were in the middle of the pandemic and every border was shut down, and it didn’t appear that was changing anytime soon. We kept working to save for the time where we could travel abroad, and in the meantime we continued researching budget friendly ways to travel. One day Jori stumbled across a blog post talking about house sit exchanges, and after some investigation we knew this could be exactly what we were searching for. We started locally to try out the concept, and fell in love. Today, we house sit full-time. We’ve completed 25 exchanges in 13 countries around the world, and have met amazing people and pets in the process.

Our first house sit exchange was in late 2021.”

What types of sits do you typically look for? Do you look for any types of sits in particular? Or do you look for homeowners to come to you? Do you prefer hustle and bustle or sits out in the country?

“We almost always find our house sits by browsing available listings and sending in an application. Other than that our sits have been for friends and family. People request us, but it has yet to work out. We have a set criteria that we look for generally. First, we have to be interested in the home or area of course. From there we look into the responsibilities and read the provided description of the pets. We have a sort of “threshold” when it comes to how much we are willing to take on. While we will absolutely prioritize the pets, we need to have time for ourselves and for our work. The pet’s demeanor and training is important too. When it comes to finding a city sit versus a country sit, it really depends on where we are traveling too. We love house sitting in major cities. Some of our favorite sits have been in prime locations in major European countries like Vienna, Austria and Munich Germany. However, when we’re home in the states we tend to gravitate toward conveniently located country homes. We like the solitude and privacy, but also not being far from town.”

Jori at the Trevi fountain
Jori in Rome

How do you finance your travels? There are still food expenses, travel expenses, and leisure expenses that have to be covered.

“As we began documenting our experience as house sitters, we realized “hey, maybe we could make money doing this!” It took a lot of practice, time, and patience, but eventually we saw returns as our following grew. We primarily make income through affiliate marketing, but also through partnerships with other companies and other revenue streams through social media. It’s not a lot, we’ll tell you that. But with our minimal lifestyle it sustains us.”

Austin from Nomads and Pawpafs remote working
Austin hard at work

Do you have any locations that are on your wishlist? Are there places you’d love to return to? Or places you’re still actively trying to find a sit for?

“Gosh we want to go so many places, it’s tough to answer this one! Big picture: we’d love to spend more time in Canada during the summer months. We’d also love to get to New Zealand, Australia, and various places in South America. There are so many house sits available worldwide! The possibilities feel endless.”

Housesitting in Vietnam
Exploring Vietnam!

When we first started housesitting, we were just thrilled to get a sit. Now we tend to prioritize the comfort of a home a little more than just leaping at a sit in a certain location:

What do you prioritise when you look at applying for a sit? Feel free to list more than one thing.

“We are in agreement with you. We’ve definitely found what to look for in a house sit through trial and error. First, we gauge the home and location as a whole. We consider if it’s in an area of the world that we are interested in visiting, and then we look at the photos of the home as well as the description to gauge if we would be comfortable and enjoy the space. If the home offers some bonus features such as a workout space, a hot tub, or maybe it’s close access to nice walking paths. that increases our interest. Then we consider the type of pet(s) and their responsibilities. We think about their needs and if they align with our qualifications and lifestyle. From there, the next biggest criteria is the personality of the pet owners. We try to read into their personality from the listing provided, but more often we gain that insight through the video call. We only accept house sits with people we “vibe” with. If they are friendly, welcoming, and genuine it almost always is a good fit. But sometimes we think that certain pet owners forget this is a free exchange, and will seem almost “entitled” to our services. On occasion we’ve encountered a few people with stand-offish personalities who lay out strict requirements, and we can already tell that it’s not going to work. This is a free and friendly exchange. It doesn’t feel like “work” because it’s fun, even though we take our responsibilities seriously. But some people want to treat us like their employees, and if that’s the case then we pass because we already know it won’t be a good experience for us.”

Attending a European football match
Getting to go see Bayern Munich!

Read about how we at Tattle Tails try to string together our housesits to avoid paid accommodation.

Today we meet the housesitters, Nomads and Pawpads. Here’s our next question:

Have you ever met up with other petsitters anywhere? What are unexpected benefits of housesitting you have discovered?

“We’ve met up with a few housesitters, yet! We met with Ron and Linda, aka @ronald.raes and @lindamalbranck in Rome while on assignment! We’ve also met up with Josy and Nate, aka @thegoodhousesitters in Bend, Oregon, and we’ve “e-met” Cody and Anna @ecohousesitters and Ann, Alexa @alexacoy and Ann and Ash @aanvanderaa. These were really fun interactions that gave us the opportunity to swap stories and share experiences. We love the sense of community that you gain from this lifestyle. We seem to have similar personalities to a lot of people who chose this as a lifestyle, which makes sense! You probably fall into a similar category if you choose to be a full-time traveling pet sitter. You love animals, travel, saving money, and adventure amongst other shared traits. It’s not hard to make friends in the community, but it is hard to meet them in person since we are all so spread out!”

Meeting dogs housesitting
Meeting new friends!

Have you ever left feedback less than 5 stars? (You can protect the innocent, of course). Do you have any thoughts about the review system and how effective it is?

“We’ve left one 3-star review, yes. In short, the home and pets were not as described and we were very disappointed with our experience. The listing had previous sitters who had either left a glowing review or none at all. We felt it was our responsibility to make other future sitters aware of the situation. We believe that the current system is in need of improvement. It makes it difficult to be honest and truthful about your experience. That goes both ways too- we’ve spoken with pet owners who had a not so great experience with sitters but left a good review because they didn’t feel they had another option. Or, they didn’t want a bad review themselves. We’re hopeful that adjustments will be made, but it seems like they are pretty set on the current system for now.”

We always wonder: Have you ever had a pet emergency?

“Fortunately, we haven’t ever had a “real” pet emergency, thank goodness. We’ve had some more minor situations like a dehydrated and throwing up pet or a few injured paws.”

This is installment 2 of Meet the Housesitters. We’re “chatting” to Jori and Austin of Bones and Homes to find out about their housesitting adventures.

Another thing everyone always asks us is how long we will keep it up? Do you have a timeline for when you’ll go “back to normal”? Do you miss a ‘normal’ life?

“We’ve always said that 5 years feels about right. Just because we imagine at that point we may want to settle down and consider having a family or at least planting some roots. But for now we are just going with the flow! We don’t think we will ever give it up fully in all honesty. We will probably always use house sitting as a way to get away for a trip for the rest of our lives.

Nomads and Pawpads housesitting
Jori and Austin housesitting

Other sitters we have interviewed suggested we add some questions about how friends and family react to your lifestyle to Meet the Housesitters:

Do your family and friends understand the concept of pet sitting? Do they get why you are choosing to do this?

“Yes and no. We have a ton of support from friends and family in our lives, as well as those who follow our journey on social media. But a lot of people don’t understand how we can afford the lifestyle if we aren’t making money as house sitters. Additionally, they don’t understand how we could be comfortable living this lifestyle. We try to explain it to them, but it usually still doesn’t make much sense. Which is fair because most people grow up with the belief that you need X amount of money to comfortably survive, and you need a home base to be happy. While that may be true for some, we’ve found our happiness right here, living rent-free in stranger’s homes while caring for their pets. We’ve learned that we don’t need to convince anyone that our lifestyle is right or wrong, because it works for us and that is all that matters.”

Jori getting kitty cat love!
Jori cat sitting

Why do you think so many people are choosing this lifestyle?

“I think people have always dreamt of finding affordable and fun ways of traveling, and this is a great way to do it while also being comfortable in the process. The biggest roadblock is, and always has been money. You need some form of income to sustain yourself whether that’s remote work, passive income, or other revenue streams. Now with the digital age and so many people working remotely more people are able to do it full-time. But the biggest influence in our opinion has been social media. Naturally, as more people share their experiences and stories, more people discover the idea! “

John and I are in our 50s and don’t really miss a night life or very active social life. We do miss being near our grown up sons and other family members though. Because we’ve always been travelers, it doesn’t really bother us that much.

Do you miss a young person’s active social life? Going out etc?

“Yes, we definitely miss the social interaction with our friends. This is actually the biggest drawback to this lifestyle for us. This is part of the reason that house sitting in the US for a while is working out really well for us, we’ve been able to visit some friends and family we haven’t seen in awhile. At this point, it’s contributed to our decision making but it’s not a reason for us to stop house sitting. This is another reason why we are working to grow a community online, so we can have more friends that we can at least connect with virtually while on the move.”

When I asked my Twitter followers what questions they have about housesitting, they often really want to know how we deal with living with so few belongings? Do you miss belongings? How much do YOU travel with?

“We have always lived a very minimal lifestyle in comparison to most. Austin is especially minimal, he could survive with just his phone, laptop and a backpack of clothes for months on end. If we’re traveling abroad, we typically take a carry-on each and a checked bag, in addition to our backpacks. Our items consist of mostly clothes, some toiletries, and tech gear for work. That’s it! But a big part of the reason we can live with so little is because of house sitting. The homes we stay in provide us with the necessities that we need to be comfortable while traveling. When we were traveling and staying in hotel rooms we found ourselves getting much more fatigue from life on the road.”

Housesitting a handsome pooch

Contact Nomads and Pawpads:

We cannot thank Jori and Austin enough for taking the time to be interviewed for this installment of Meet the Housesitters. You can find out more about them on their website and on their Instagram page.

Get to Know New Sitters Next Time

We return with another house sitting couple in 2 weeks. Subscribe to be notified when the next interview comes out.

We full-time travel around the world through travel exchange using platforms like TrustedHousesitters. This lets us arrange accommodation in exchange for pet and home care. You do not have to commit to full-time to enjoy this way of travel. Many sitters use the platform to arrange for their yearly vacation.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook for daily updates and pictures from our travels!

5 responses to “Meet the Housesitters 2:”

  1. Really enjoying all the case studies! We’ve done a couple of house-sits and I could definitely see us doing longer-term ones. One word of warning though, mainly for younger sitters: subsistence living is fine for a while, but in the long run you really do need to earn enough to be able to save for retirement. This might seem too far off to worry about, but take it from me, when the time comes it can be very scary if you don’t have enough saved up to support yourself in later life when opportunities to earn a living start to shrink rapidly.
    The other thing I wanted to mention is that I’ve heard of sitters being refused entry at some borders, including the US, because sitting is regarded as ‘working’ – and that’s not allowed on many tourist visas. Have you come across this problem?

    • Hi Carole,
      Thank you for your long and thoughtful comment. We have not encountered this problem yet but I have heard of one person who did. We are actually dual citizens which helps and we never overstay our tourism visas when traveling.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: