I wrote an article about this experience to International Living Magazine – have a look here if you fancy!
A little less than a year ago, when Chris and I had first begun talking seriously about going freelance for the longer term, we had a lot of questions. “What Will We Do?” is a personal favorite, although in all honesty, I think we both knew even before we spoke where our hearts and minds were. “How Will We Pay the Bills?” was another good one – not unrelated to the question that inspired this post, and the next month of our lives: “Where Will We Live?”
This all requires a little back-tracking. Thing is, we loved the freedom of working as volunteers. I’m not gonna lie to you, oh, faithful reader – if you’ve stuck with us this far, you know there were very trying moments in our Philippine endeavors, but knowing we were there of our own will, that nothing bound us to the work we did – i.e., we would not starve or be homeless if we gave up – added an entirely different angle to the experience. Of course we’ve both volunteered in one capacity or another for a very long time, but making it the center of our joint foci was very different. And I think we both liked that aspect of it very much. Alas, reality prevails, and our reality is that we are not independently wealthy, and so work would ultimately be a must: it was about this time last year when we realized that would have to be sooner than later if we really intended to spend a full year in Cagayan de Oro.
And our new careers were born! And while Chris’ career is now blossoming into a healthy, well-adjusted one-year old, mine is still very much…erm…sprouting. The concern at the time was that we would both be in my shoes by this point, and that, of course, inspired the afore-mentioned question, “How Will We Pay the Bills?” of which the highest by far would be the rent. Ergo, the previously mentioned follow-up, “Where Will We Live?”
So we started exploring options for living rent-free:
- Live with Chris’ parents indefinitely;
- Look into guardianage (house-sitting) opportunities.
We soon realized we had but one option.
Of course, because of the magical mixture of Chris’ hard work and good fortune, we’ve since found ourselves comfortably situated in a lovely flat in the center of his hometown. But our friend T, an amazing French woman we had the tremendous honor to come to know in the Philippines, kept our aspirations of guardianages in mind, and sent us an interesting ad back in November for a place in Saint Tropez (yes – the one where J Lo hangs out all the time…there seem to be mixed interpretations of this place – see: here & here. and do not feel obligated to watch either video for more than 47 seconds.).
I feel like a bit of an explanation is in order, or at least it would be if it were me reading this, so in honor of the rule that is golden, here goes. See, really, really rich people sometimes have more than one house. That way they don’t have to pay for hotels in places they spend lots of time at different points in the year. But what about the cat/plants/landscape/potential burglars whilst they’re away? That’s where house-sitters come in! People actually do this professionally, but Chris and I thought it would just give us the opportunity to live in really interesting places for a couple of months at a time for a while without having to worry about the rent. However, without a home base, it gets really stressful to organize all of it so that you’re never, well, homeless in between gigs. We thought it would just be too much work, but because of T’s help, this one kind of just fell into our laps.
And to be fair, even though we have this flat, we’re totally not opposed to doing this regularly if the opportunity presented itself. We need to know, though, if it’s really and truly practicable. That is, will we be able to uproot, re-settle, and get right back to work without any hiccups? Will it be just way too stressful, negating the fun altogether? That, gentle reader, is what we seek to learn.
We’ll be in St-Trop’ (that’s what les Françaises call it) for exactly one month. And just for color, Chris will be in Switzerland on business for about 1/2 of that time. So we’ll be in a new place, and I will be alone in a new place (exciting? scary? yes. both.), making, I hope, for some very interesting posts. Stay tuned!