Fun Facts and Figures For 798 Days – CHECK IT OUT

I wish I knew how to create graphs and charts to make things eye-catching, but I don’t.

Formulas on a whiteboard

With the arrival of a New Year and writing about my travels, I figured compiling some facts and figures about my recent mobile lifestyle might be fun.

HERE’S WHAT I FOUND

Days with no fixed address – 798

Keyboard with search button

Homes Slept In  – 29 (see below)

(17 as house sitter, 12 visiting family or friends, 3 a combo of)

HOUSE SITS

7 house sits were found through my profile at House Carers and Mind My House

4 house sits were for teaching friends

2 were for friends of friends

1 house sit was for a couple I met in Ireland

1 came from a chance meeting while cross-country skiing

1 was a family member

1 was a business acquaintance

VISITS WITH FRIENDS

My friends in Melbourne and New York City I met in Ireland on a walking tour with David Whyte in 2010.

I met my friend from Perth while she was on teaching exchange at Hollyburn Elementary in 1997.

My friend in Switzerland was a homestay student with my sister. She helped paint my house in exchange for dinners.

My friends in Whistler I’ve known since I first came to Canada in 1982.

THANK YOU

 

LONG STAYS AND SHORT

I visited my daughter in Castlegar 14 times (65 nights in total)…and she still loves me. My sister in North Vancouver put me up 14 times (34 nights in total). Bless her.

Longest stay in one place 64 nights (Llucalcari, Mallorca). I rented the home from a lady in my Zumba class

Number of one-night sleepovers 48 (9 in India), two-nighters, 23 (4 in India)

That’s a lot of packing and unpacking.

OTHER SLEEPING SPOTSOur welcome at Fort Madhogarh Fort Madhogarh

Hotels (24, includes 15 in India)

Planes (8)

Retreat Centres (2)

Luxury Tent (1)

B & B (2)

Homestay (1)

Train (1) – top bunk of three, Pushkar to Delhi, never say never, but never againIndian train

AIR TRAVEL

Airlines flown with – 15

Singapore AirlinesThai Airways check-inQuantas flight Launceston to Melbourne

Best service – Singapore Airlines

Best food – Etihad Airways

Longest flight – Melbourne to Manchester, 27 hours (via Abu Dhabi)

Funniest safety briefing – Frontier Airlines (Spokane to Denver). Guy should be a stand-up comic.

Most entertaining – easyJet (Zurich to Luton). Check out this blog if you haven’t already. http://blivingrock.com/2011/09/ezt-2046-zurich-to-london-row-11/

Of Note

In the three months at my new apartment (Oct 2 – Dec 31, 2013) I have spent three weeks away, at six different locations. Guess it takes a while to change gears.

***********

Bob’s brain tumour affected his mathematical abilities, tough for a man in carpentry. Today  he would have turned 56. So, this little data fix is a timely one.

Be grateful for all your brain does for you

***********

DATA

Homes(29)                                          # of Visits                    Total nights

Castlegar, BC (daughter)                      14                                65

North Vancouver (sister)                        14                                34

Manchester, UK  (sister)                         8                                 19

Langley, Whidbey Is.*~                          7                                 19

Leicester, UK (mother)                           7                                  16

Seattle*~                                                6                                  31

Leicester (father)                                    5                                  10

Nelson, BC*                                           3                                  49

West Vancouver (JR)*                           3                                  39

Melbourne (friend)                                 3                                    7

Berkeley, CA*~                                      2                                  54

Perth, AUS (friend)                                 2                                  44

London (nephew)                                   2                                    2

Mallorca, Spain (rental)                          1                                  64

New York City (friend)                           1                                  40

Tasmania*                                              1                                  54

Duncan, BC*                                          1                                  27

Bunbury, AUS   *                                    1                                  27

Leicester (aunt)*                                     1                                  22

North Vancouver (SS)*                           1                                  19

Nelson (RE)*                                           1                                  18

Edmonds, WA*                                       1                                  17

West End, Vancouver*                           1                                  13

North Vancouver (AH)*                          1                                  13

West Vancouver (SSh)*                          1                                   9

Langley, Whidbey Is. (SD)*                    1                                    7

Biel, Switzerland (friend)                        1                                    6

North Vancouver (SRK)*                         1                                   5

Whistler, BC      (friends)                        1                                    4

*    = housesitting

*~ = combination of house sitting and visiting

Comfortable With Uncertainty: Doing Pema Proud

I like living with uncertainty.

It’s one of the better choices I’ve made.

It tests my patience and tolerance for potential discomfort.

At each new house sit I never really know what I’ll be getting into.

I don’t know if the dogs will be mellow or manic…or if the cats will sleep on my face.

MickeyDSCN4394

I don’t know if a comfy bed awaits.

I don’t know where to buy stamps, or fruit and veggies, or decent bread.

I don’t know how the transit system works, or which neighbourhoods I’d be wise to avoid, or foolish to miss.

Most of all, I don’t know the people.

Some are welcoming, others aloof.

They don’t quite know what to make of my friendly disposition.

Sometimes I wish people were more open to unfamiliar faces in their familiar world.

Sometimes I wish I could read people better.

DSCN3884

I avoid checking in online prior to flight time.

It’s a commitment I made right from the start. Doing Pema Proud.

I choose to take whichever seat the airline assigns me.

I figure that’s where I’m meant to be.

DSCN4100

As a solo traveler it means I often get wedged between the Window and Aisle passengers. Brilliant. I get to meet two new people.

Recently this included a Hindu monk decked out in his orange-robes and string of wooden beads.

He was surprisingly impatient and quick to complain. I was so disappointed.

Another time I got a Johnny Depp look-alike who marveled at my transient lifestyle.

“That’s the best way to live,” he said. “Home is wherever you are and whoever you’re with.”

(Easy on the eyes and wise too.)

Holding my gaze and leaning closer, he continued, “When I’m with you, you’re at home.”

Yes, I thought, I could give it all up for you.

Hoping to disguise my sudden flush, I looked away giggling like a silly schoolgirl.

I’ve always been a sucker for flattery.

Sometimes I wish I could read people better.

Ever Considered Being A House Sitter But Didn’t Know Where To Start?

“Look out for eggs in strange places,” the homeowners cry joyfully, Quantas bound. It’s been three weeks now and the chooks aren’t putting out. Well not as far as I can tell. If they’re laying, they’re not letting on. Thing is, I have been looking: under boulders, piles of grass, roosting spots, but no eggs. Nada. Nothing.  What’s worse is one’s losing all her feathers.

House sitting can be full of surprises, some great, others…well, interesting.  It’s been my way of life for the past year and suits me just fine, but it’s not for everyone!

Since friends often ask me how it all works, offering my tips for house sitting seemed like a great idea. So, here it is… 

12 pages of practical tips for finding work, house sitting web sites, and those all-important tips of the trade.

If you’ve ever considered house sitting as a way to see the world, or simply as an option for a short getaway, you need to read this!

Confessions of a House Sitter

 

To procure a new tenant with some certainty, my landlord asked that I vacate my luxury pad at the end of July. I complied. Homeless, I considered a stint as house sitter. An opportunity to gauge my readiness for change in the months ahead. Contemplating life without my familiar kitchen gadgets, cookbooks, choice condiments and sauces would, I thought, be wonderful practice for my approaching life of uncertainty.

So a well-connected and dear friend landed me my first job. I was introduced to a lovely couple with a lovely house where I now hang my hat. Then I met the cat. The cat didn’t take to me.
First night, exhausted and sleep deprived, I was ready to call it a day. My Plan: find cat, place in assigned room, climb into bed, sleep. The Cat’s Plan: not the same as mine. Anyone who has ever lived with a cat knows they have no intention of acquiescing to the demands of another. I guess I’d forgotten about this bit. In the world of cats, pointy teeth and claws carry weight, size does not. Check out any ‘Simon the Cat’ clips on You Tube.
Heading out to scour the dark pockets of the back yard, where I figured she joyfully lay-in-wait, I called and cajoled and tapped her brush against my thigh (having been assured this would have her sprinting back inside), all to no avail. The evening hours drew on when finally, glinting shards of glass caught in my flashlight. Feline eyes. Eureka. Sleep was temptingly close. I could feel the cool sheets calling my name. I reached out an open but desperate hand. “Here kitty,” I cooed. But like a scene from a Stephen King movie she let me have it! I had visions of bloody pools settling where I had once stood. The neighbours ogling at the grizzly scene as daylight revealed the destruction from the previous night’s crazed cat attack.

The horror over, prickly and shaken we parted ways, she dashing ever deeper into the night, me retreating to lick my wounds, admitting a sure defeat.

Having relinquished ‘control’, I collapsed on the sofa, teary-eyed, wondering if this house sitting thing was for me. How long had I signed up to do this?

We’re friends now. I feed her. She ignores me. It’s great. That and I close the doors long before the evening damp might tempt her for a repeat performance.
So as I leave this place, my ‘home’ of two weeks, I think I might even miss her.