You don’t have to be rich to travel the world, especially if you’ve got some ingenuity.
Since 2017, Madolline Gourley of Brisbane, Australia has traveled all around her country, plus embarked on major excursions to cities in the United States like Seattle, Washington, Austin, Texas, and New York City. She did it all on a shoestring budget thanks to a business model so clever we wish we’d thought of it first!
“I discovered house sitting a few years ago, and since then it’s allowed me to stay in cities all over the United States and Australia for next to nothing,” Madolline explained. “As a sitter, you house or pet sit for ‘free’ in exchange for accommodation.”
Madolline uses a professional pet sitting site to find gigs all over the world. She says she grew up with cats and has always been a “big cat fan,” so when she found out she could watch other people’s cats while also having a place to stay in a new place, she jumped on the opportunity.
Madolline writes a blog to chronicle her journey “seeing the world, one cat at a time.” During her first visit to the U.S. in 2017, she house-sat almost 50 homes to fund her trip, saving her about $28,000 in travel costs!
Since cats tend to be low-maintenance pets, she figures she only spends about 30 minutes a day caring for them. Then she’s free to explore the city for the rest of the time. Her customers sometimes even give her recommendations for places to go, see, and eat in their cities.
“One of the perks I love about house sits is that you’re treated more like a friend rather than hired help. I was given little welcome packages from two of the owners and a gift card from the Austin couple. All of the owners also gave me great recommendations for the best places to eat and drink in their neighborhoods.”
At the end of the day, Madolline takes her commitment to pet care seriously. She wants her customers to feel comfortable leaving their home and fur babies with her, and she tries to go above and beyond to be a good houseguest.
“A house and pet sitter’s main responsibility is to care for the person’s pet or pets. My Seattle sit was very light in terms of home and pet care — I was asked to feed the two cats twice a day, change their water, and clean the litter box every day or two,” she said.
“I always ask questions like, ‘Do I need to collect the mail?’ and, ‘What day is trash day?’ and most owners are responsive to text messages while they’re away,” Madolline continued. “I usually send the owner two or three photos or videos each day of their pet plus a little update on how the pet is doing.”
Her next trip will be in Canada, and she’s currently looking for places to stay in Toronto or Quebec City. She’s even considering writing a book about her adventures.
What a fantastic idea! Not only is Madolline providing a valuable service to pet owners, she’s re-inventing what it means to be a world traveller in modern times.
Don’t forget to share this story to encourage other travelers and pet lovers.
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