Tag Archives: house sitting

Beauty of the Big Island

17 Sep

It’s a windy day in my little corner of the world on the Big Island of Hawaii. I landed here just a few weeks ago in a small island leap to begin a new housesit. I am nestled in a little neighborhood located between the mountains of Mauna Kea and Kohala. The tradewinds blowing from the northeast are known for stirring up some dust in my new temporary neighborhood so here I am watching the wind blow. I am tucked away in a little studio apartment just next door to the main house where I am caring for a tough but sweet ginger kitty and a sassy pretty calico.

When I arrived at the small open air airport on the Big Island, it felt a little more “island style” than my original more contemporary arrival in Honolulu. I was greeted by a totally new landscape and wide open spaces.

I have heard others say that each of the islands have their own distinct personality. And while this is only my second island of Hawaii to experience so far, I can say truly that it is oh so different from Oahu. The biggest difference to immediately notice of course is that… it’s Big! No more dashing from one end to the other in under about an hour. At my current location on the big island it’s about a 30 – 45 minutes drive just to get to the surrounding towns and the landscape is miles and miles of lava desert christened by the beauty of the surrounding ocean. It can be quite a thrill for me simply driving in this new landscape, the sun shining, the wind blowing and the beauty of this foreign terrain surrounding me. Like my new house sitting host said, it’s like being on the moon!

The Big Island is roughly six times larger than Oahu. From my current location I can wiz off the the city of Hilo in about an hour. Hilo is in fact the rainiest city in the United States and after a bit of reading I learned it rains mostly at night which feeds the rich and lush landscape. In about 45 minutes I am in the famous tourist town Kailua-Kona known for it’s sunny days, warmer climate and very little rain.

My new housesit is in a little neighborhood development located in the midst of the lava desert surrounded by miles and miles of this open landscape. It has it’s own little grocery store, gas station and other services. Beyond this little village, the neighbors are scattered five and ten miles away in the shape of beachside resort communities which speckle the Kona coast featuring golf courses, grocery stores and specialty shops plus beach access open to the public. It’s a little decadent to have so many crystal blue beaches conviently located like the neighborhood 7-11.

As a full-time traveling house and pet sitter, there are plenty of times when I find myself less inclined to hunt out a new adventure and content with the simpler things like preparing meals, finding the best grocery stores and tending to the day to day needs of the pets and housesit all within the beauty of a new backdrop. In my new housesit I am enjoying the comfort zone of my new place, the fresh (but windy!) ocean air and the dependable beauty of the blues skies. And of course I can’t forget the simple pleasure of the ocean which I take a dip in frequently, can see off in the distance from my current housesit and blankets most of my day to day traveling about town.

Bye for now from the quiet windy days on the Big Island as my journey in Hawaii continues!


Return to the Islands

17 May

It’s been a while since I have dropped a line to share a bit of my story and journey. The truth is for me with so much shift, change, questions and uncertainty happening in the world around us I find I have equally the same stirrings on the inside. It feels like a good time, even a necessary time, to step back a little further, reflect, and be with all the whacky feelings and adjustments on the inside as well as those whirling about in the world right now. 

The good news is that I am back in Hawaii. When I returned to Texas a few months ago, I knew it was likely I would get to return to resume my wonderful housesit on Oahu just beyond Honolulu. My time in Texas was appreciated but just the same filled with a fair share of modest discomforts, ups and downs. Some of that was merely the adjustment to “not being in Hawaii” after three months of softer energy, warm moderate weather, tropical landscapes, blue skies and rainbows around every bend. But still there were many things I appreciated about my Texas respite nestled in my sweet little temporary abode.

As my time in Texas was growing to a close, I faced once again the dilemma of what to do with my car. There was no obvious choice of a workable place to keep it long term that was also close to my current location outside Austin, TX.  So I looked about for options, drove myself a little mad and in the end just shouted a prayer out for help and let it go.

In the wake of this, as things sometimes go, I found myself at a local storage facility exploring the option to park it long term. While he didn’t have any parking space available, as “fate” would have it… he was interested in buying my car. So I just went with it, we took it for a spin and by the end of the day he made an offer to buy it. And another day later, it was done. My car was sold and I would soon be off to Hawaii again.

In the midst of this adjustment, I had just a few more things to tend to. Prior to my first trip to Hawaii I had already slimmed down my modest collection of belongings that I kept in my SUV as I drove about the country from housesit to housesit. Now with my car sold and just a very small load – a few plastic bins, some bedding and a few other miscellaneous items – I had to make some quick new choices before I departed for Hawaii. With such a modest amount of items, it didn’t make sense to rent a storage unit. So I took another small leap and got down to the nitty gritty with sorting out the last of my belongings and would only keep what I could pack in my suitcases. I sent a small box to my mom, mailed a few things to a friend and the rest went to the local thrift store.

It did my heart good to see the little tokens of my journey I kept and tucked away in my suitcases. The hand carved wooden spatula from a Christmas market in Vienna, the weathered picture map of Chiang Mai, my magnet collection from all of my destinations, and a modest bag of coins tracking my journey.

I have been back in Oahu for a few weeks now. Arriving this time around was different. It was good to return but still an adjustment to living on a small island after hunkering down in the big state of Texas for a few months.  It was a bit of an odd feeling as I still felt new, but yet also familiar. I felt like less of a tourist and had less of an urge to run out and explore everything and more of a desire to hunker down and lay low.

That said, there is certainly something in my heart and soul that is just undeniably blown away by the tropical beauty of the island. It is an unmistakable pleasure to have the luxury to just take off to the North Shore for the afternoon, sink into the sand and bask in the beauty of the incoming waves and surrounding mountains and landscape.

It does seem that traffic has returned to Oahu since I was last here.  Places that I casually went to before are now loaded with folks and it seems that this time around a little more strategy will be needed to avoid the crowds and even…. simply get a parking spot. That said, I certainly consider myself fortunate to have had a pocket of time here when there really weren’t many people around.

And today, well, it’s a beautiful day.  It’s warm but there’s a gentle breeze outside keeping things feeling soft and cool. The yellow trumpet flowers are blossoming out back.  And earlier with a practically clear blue sky, it was raining… what I have heard described as liquid sunshine.

So I will leave you for now – hunkered down and happy in Hawaii.  How are things in your neck of the woods?  It’s always good to hear from you!

In Love with Oahu

1 Dec

Well I did it. I packed up my stuff. Got rid of some of it. Managed to fit way more essential oils and supplements into my suitcases than I imagined I could and hit the road. Only this time I didn’t quite hit the road…. because I couldn’t.  Instead I boarded an airplane and was island bound. I am in Hawaii.

Recently I hit a barren patch on my house sitting journey and was grateful to be nestled for a few weeks in the midwest in my mother’s home. In the midst of this limbo time I did what I have learned and continue to learn to do… take a step back and allow things to unfold. And unfold they did. Quite unexpectedly. As it sometimes happens on my journey, in the blink of an eye I had two new housesits on my plate which brought a quick redirection. First stop, a return to Austin for a month-long housesit. Second stop, a housesit on the island of Oahu.

I knew there was a possibility out there that a housesit could come together in Hawaii. I made a connection through an on-line gathering of a spiritual community I enjoy. They mentioned they may have a need for a housesitter in the coming months. As someone with experience with things ebbing and flowing, coming and going… I was grateful for the possibility, stayed open to it but also had no expectation or attachments that it would or wouldn’t work out.

And then one day it happened. I got the word. What do you do when someone invites you to housesit in Hawaii?  You say “Yes, please! Thank you!”

Don’t get me wrong…as much as my life has gone with the flow this past decade, I did run into my share of rough currents, resistance to change and sometimes in earnest just pure exhaustion from so much packing, unpacking and driving about. Despite the “inconvenience” of it all, my heartfelt yes quickly aligned my life in a new direction.

Also, notably so, this is my first housesitting departure where I didn’t drive my little SUV packed with the essentials of this life on the go.  As I would leave my wheels behind, I started the process of hmming and hawing over what to keep, what to leave behind and what to take along.  I was fortunate to find a spot to keep my car and remaining belongings while I am away and so now here I am!

With Hawaii’s new Safe Travels program, it was easier than I imagined to get here. I took a COVID test within 72 hours of my departing flight at an Austin Walgreens and got my negative results the same day.  From there I just needed to upload my results, complete the health survey 24 hours before departure and get my QR code.

I flew Delta airlines as I read they were tops in their COVID practices. They have updated their filter system and on my flight from Austin to LAX you could see the air from the filter circulating about like a sci-fi movie. Delta is also currently keeping the middle seat open and from LAX to Honolulu I had the whole row to myself. I slept most of the way, presented my QR code on arrival and as simple as pie I had arrived.

I met with my host and homeowner in Oahu before she left on her own flight the next morning.  She couldn’t be a more kind and generous host and I count myself lucky to be caring for her home and welcomed by her. She even left a few goodies for me to use including a great beach towel and snorkeling equipment.

Since I have arrived I have mostly been “getting my island legs,” tending to the basics and exploring some of the immediate area and territory. Even with all of my traveling experience, I still get nervous when landing in new territory. So I find I am well-served by taking my time and easing into new places.

I had the pleasure of connecting with a few folks at Unity Church of Hawaii and helped just a bit with their campus cleanup. Outdoors and masked up, it was great for even just a bit to see some new friendly faces and meet some locals. I am also fortunate to connect with the Oahu Art of Living Zoom group!  I have participated with Art of Living’s spiritual practices since I took their first course (now known as Sky Breath Meditation) back in 2007. There are regular meetups around the world for graduates and even though we can’t yet meet in person, being with the local group even on Zoom is a treat.

And just this morning… I made my first venture to the beach!  Where to go?  There are so many to choose from! As this is my first time in Hawaii, prior to my plans to come I didn’t realize that Oahu is quite small!  You can get to nearly anywhere on the island in 30 – 45 minutes! So that means, from where I am just a bit west of Honolulu, I have easy access to the whole island!

For my first beach visit I chose Kailua State Beach. Just a 30 minute drive from my current location, plus a lifeguard on duty and… it’s open! (a few locations are closed at this time), it seemed like the perfect place to start.  The drive there wound me through lush green mountains and when I arrived I felt like I landed in paradise. I mean no kidding. I have been to many places but I have never been or seen anyplace quite so lovely and naturally beautiful – from the sweet inlet of water and surrounding mountains and community to the breathtakingly blue water that enticed me like a dream.

The beach had a healthy speckling of beachgoers, enough to feel safe with others around but not so many that it felt crowded at all. There was plenty of room for and respect of social distancing in the backdrop of enchanted mountains, soft sand and welcoming waves.  I took a great walk on the beach, loaded up the sunscreen and just took it in… the unbelievableness, the unexpected oh-my of my current surroundings!

I am back at home now, always happy to be out for a little adventure but equally happy to return to that feeling of home. I feel super safe in the lovely town home community where I am housesitting surrounded with an easy feel and lush greens and palm trees.  As the coming weeks unfold, I imagine I will navigate that balance between the need and desire for downtime, rest and relaxation and the joy of exploration.

So long for now from the island of Oahu – a new little leap in life and my housesitting journey.  My best in health and happiness to all of you!

Limbocation

8 Oct

Here I am hanging out in Central Texas. I wouldn’t exactly call it a vacation. But it is at least a little sweet and serene just the same. My recent house and pet sit just completed in Austin. So often on this crooked journey at the very last minute, something workable or even remarkable comes in at the nick of time to save the day. But not this time. Not so far.

After hunkering down with family for a few months, I took the leap to head on down to Texas for a house sit. In truth, I wasn’t sure what to expect in current circumstances. Wasn’t sure how long it would last and if I would find myself heading back up to the midwest with family. So I did my best to go with the flow. And flow I did… for a little bit. A great sit in Wimberley, TX. Then a long term sit in Hill Country which – due to unforeseen circumstances – was cancelled. A little shift left. A little jolt right and… I moseyed on over to rural Texas outside Austin for a bit and then a last minute miraculous sashay back to Austin. And then…. [insert cricket noise]

So here I am… on Limbocation. Still exploring options. So far my experience is similar to that of other full time travelers. The landscape has changed. Fewer people traveling. On house sitting platforms, more house sitters vying for a handful of sits.

With that said I am open… to seeing what unfolds. A new housesit? A light caretaking job? A wonderful workable work exchange? Or perhaps something else… something unexpected… If you know of any options or opportunities, at present I am available and would love to hear about them.

With that said I am open… to seeing what unfolds. A new housesit? A light caretaking job? A wonderful workable work exchange? Or perhaps something else… something unexpected

And in the meantime I am slowly making my way back up towards the Midwest doing my best to surf the rough terrain and smell the roses along the way despite the unmistakable discomfort of it all.

How is the terrain in your corner of the world? It’s always great to hear from you!

Safe at Bear Creek

28 Sep

Greetings from Texas! A few weeks ago as my rural Texas sit came to a close, I did my best to ride the current of some unexpected rearranging and landed at one of my favorite spots on the outskirts of Austin, TX.  I was fortunate to return for a bit to the location of last winter’s long-term sit set on beautiful stretches of land along a sparkling creek. Here I am hunkered down with two of my favorite kitties doing the “kittie shuffle” – you know the one… open the door, let the cat out… open the door, let the cat in… and enjoying some time and space in a peaceful and familiar setting.

Like many, these are uncertain times for me. They are heightened due to our current world and national circumstances.  But even before this all hit, I waded through years of uncertain living.  Honestly, it’s something I never fully got used to. While I might have a little more practice with the ebb and flow, when things come down to the wire it’s been a challenge for me to keep my peace and negotiate the uncertainty.

That’s why, now more than ever, it seems like a good time to practice some of the spiritual notions that have been knocking at my door this past decade and… improve in my attention to and use of them. It’s a good time to clean up some of the debris in my “inner world.” Here are a few considerations at the forefront of my traveling house sitter/pet sitter coronavirus Jedi training.

1.  Mastering My Mind. I have to admit, as much as anyone… maybe more than others… I have a very fertile and active mind.  At times this is fun and useful, but when uncertainty peaks it is at best a distraction at worst anxiety provoking!  So as my life and the world “turns up the volume” I am making an effort to pay attention to my thoughts, to indulge  “less” in mental pathways that bear no fruit, and to simple be an observer of my thoughts and my reactions to people and circumstances rather than go along for the ride!

2.  Set My Intention for the Best. While I am watching my thoughts, I am also ramping up my practice of turning my intention towards the best. When a situation comes to mind that has potential for upset, I am practicing being conscious in seeing things work out for the best and sending warm, loving thoughts to the situation. Minimally, this practice reduces my anxiety and at best sets a framework in the fertile ground of potential.

3.  Practicing Being Present. So many teachers out there remind us that presence is where it’s at!  Fearful thoughts of the past or future simply do me no good and also can limit my access to potentiality and options available. So when the uncertainty boat goes a-rockin’ in my world, I do my best to toss that aside and reconnect here in the present moment.

4.  Being Open to My Intuition. I will never forget when I was first introduced to the world of intuition and psychic ability living in New Orleans, LA. I met an interesting… yet possibly shady character at a local coffee shop who gave me a reading that blew my socks off.  Since then life hasn’t really been the same. Before then, I had never been plugged in at all to the idea that we have access to knowledge beyond our typical senses. And while my intuition and I have had our challenges along the journey, as I continue to get quieter and connect within I am making a little extra space to notice the quiet voice within.

5.  Practicing Refraining from Judgement. This topic has flirted with me many times over the years. And I would practice it from time to time. But now more so I seem to realize that judgment of others and myself really cuts me off from all the good, the flow, and limits me.  I’ve come to imagine it like I am floating down a stream and judgment is like grabbing for the branches along the way. It just blocks me and stops things up. So for my own freedom and peace of mind, I am making an effort to practice being mindful of my judgments.

6.  Spending More Time Connected to Spirit.  In addition to my favorite spiritual practices, lately I am simply taking more time to get quiet and connect with my heart and the Divine.  As so much rattles in the world around me and the uncertainty of my own life, more and more access to the infinite seems to be where it’s at. It’s the place it “makes sense to me” to park my car, reroute my address, build my home.

And of course, I call all of this practice… because that’s what it is!  I am simply just paying a bit more attention to these things daily and reaping the small waves of gentle benefit that come my way in restored ease and peace.

Where in the world are you and how is your Jedi training going?  I’d love to hear from you!

Back to the Basics

30 Aug

I am here in the Texas countryside towards the end of my current housesit.  In the midst of everything going on in the world, I’m glad to have been hunkered down for a bit caring for two sweet kitties and a whole mess of plants in the Texas heat.

As time lingers on and the world and the US face many challenges, I have to remind myself to make an extra effort to get back to the basics. For me, these are the practices, the way of life that best supports my health, wellbeing and my mental and spiritual health, development and growth. 

As we’ve been sailing through these unexpected seas for a while, I certainly have had my moments when I wanted to crawl back into familiar territory and habits that don’t necessarily serve me.  While of course it does my spirit some good to have some lighthearted breaks and treats, it also does me a world of good to continue to build my foundation on those things that truly nurture me and support an unshakable foundation when so much seems to be crumbling around us.

Reiki has been and continues to be one of the steadfast pillars in my foundation. I find sometimes in the midst of all that is happening I get restless or frustrated and want to settle things “my way” instead of leaning on my spiritual resources. Of course time and experience remind me how uncomfortable this can be and instead to lean more heavily on the steadfast ways that have served me as I have wandered around some of this planet over the past decade.

As a Second Degree Reiki practitioner, sending distance Reiki is a big part of this. This is the same healing energy experienced in a hands-on Reiki treatment but it can be sent anywhere and to anyone regardless of time and space. I remember one time I was driving with a friend who was having painful sinus issues. As she was the one driving I couldn’t very well give her a hands on treatment at the time so I asked permission to send her Reiki. She agreed and immediately she noticed her sinuses start to loosen and drain. Recently I sent Reiki to a friend who had financial and personal challenges stacking up and needed to move forward. The next day she had a breakthrough. I have to smile remembering reconnecting with a friend who is also a Reiki student. I told him I would send him some Reiki and immediately began to do so.  “Are you sending now?” he asked as he took note of experiencing that “Reiki energetic feeling.” “I am!” I replied!

As a traveling house and pet sitter, I also rely on using Reiki to clear the energy regularly and repeatedly of the places I visit.  All homes, all places are filled with the thoughts, history, and chaos of the moment and the times. I clear the energy because it helps to support a more harmonious living circumstance and honestly, just makes things feel better!  It’s also a great foundational tool to support improved mental health, emotional health and any challenges or changes that may need to happen or be addressed in the home or space.

I remember when I was just starting out in Reiki. I was crazy sensitive in the wake of slowly tapering off the anti-depressant Paxil to the tune of extreme withdrawal challenges. I had picked up a little gig working for a friend in their tent at a festival. So many people… all that energy was a big challenge for me especially in my circumstances. My Reiki teacher encouraged me to clear the energy of the tent over and over again while I worked. I was skeptical at first. But in earnest, it made a difference and made working possible in my still pretty fragile state.

I also recall one housesit some years ago where something about the energy of the place just didn’t feel right. It was palpable. I couldn’t sleep at night. My Reiki teacher encouraged me to clear the energy regularly and I did. I was there for a while and with regularly clearing the house felt great and I slept like a baby.

Would you like to explore Reiki energy in your world? A distant treatment can support mental, emotional and physical health as well as challenging circumstances and situations. Clearing the energy of your home can support a more peaceful and harmonious environment.

At a time when many of us are still spending more time at home and there are a whole slew of challenges about, I would love to support you with Reiki.

For a limited time I am offering the following Reiki treatment options:

Distant Reiki
• $35 for a 45 minute treatment
• $60 for a 20 minute treatment four days in a row.  A treatment four days in a row in Reiki is very powerful.
• $108 for a 45 minute Reiki treatment four days in a row.

Distant Reiki Home Energy Clearing
• $25 for a 30 minute energy clearing of your home or selected address

Reiki Sample
• $35 Distant Home Energy Clearing (15 minutes) and Distant Reiki Treatment (30 Minutes)

If you’d like to know more about Reiki please follow this link. It shares a bit more about my practice and experience as well as some helpful links.

If you’d like to schedule a Reiki appointment or have questions, please email me directly at gypsywomancafe@gmail.com.

These are unusual times. But also a useful time to practice shifting our attention, taking our time, going within to explore new pathways for living.

House Sitting Escape

12 Jul

In the midst of my midwest coronavirus detour hunkered down with family an opportunity recently came my way for a new housesit. So I took a little leap and here I am in Texas Hill Country enjoying some new scenery, peace and respite on a lovely property.

I was chatting with an old friend the other day who had many questions about house and pet sitting. It occurred to me that many folks out there with a heart and spirit for travel may not realize how possible and viable house and pet sitting is as an avenue to travel. So whether you’re ready for a coronavirus diversion, if even just in the next town, or you’re not ready to travel yet but your heart and soul could use a little future travel planning and daydreaming, read on!

Before I started house and pet sitting I had done quite a bit of travel relying often on work exchanges via personal connections and the website helpx.net. I had always been curious about house and pet sitting but hadn’t yet taken the leap and honestly, wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to “get my foot in the door.”  But it was certainly on my mind.

A few years ago while living in Asheville I met a full time traveling house and pet sitter at a local meet-up group. She was generous enough to share her experience. It was so helpful to simply have a conversation with a real person who was doing it and to be reassured that yes, it really was possible and accessible.

I didn’t jump in right away and continued with life as usual. Then over a year ago life “gave me a push” as it sometimes does. My apartment unexpectedly flooded and I had to hit the road. Sometimes in the midst of uncertain times lies an opportunity to take a leap and do something new. For me, this led to my latest adventures in house and pet sitting.

Whether you’re a full time traveler or simply curious about embarking on the occasional diversion, house and pet sitting is worth exploring.

Choose a House Sitting Platform, Join and Set Up a Profile
Some people may be unaware that there are many house and pet sitting websites where you join for a modest fee and have access to apply for house sits all over the world. Typically homeowners post their house and pet sitting opportunities, interested subscribed house sitters apply, and the chosen house sitter cares for their home and pets in exchange for a place to stay. There are many sites out there including Trusted Housesitters, Nomador and HouseCarers

After you choose and join your site, you begin with setting up a profile. When I set up my profile, there were a variety of things I paid attention to:

  1. I chose photos that reflected my experience caring for others including people and animals. I also selected photos that reflected my experience traveling.
  2. In my written profile I highlighted all of my personal and work experience that demonstrated I was a reliable and trustworthy professional. I also focused on all of my experience caring for pets and animals and caring for houses.
  3. I shared information about me that was unique and distinct.
  4. I included external references as the system allowed since I didn’t yet have any reviews within that house and pet sitting community.
  5. I took my time writing my profile to present myself well.

Diving In!
After I set up my profile, getting started was as simple as applying for sits. I had received some advice that it can be helpful when you’re just beginning to apply for local sits to get your foot in the door. This may make a homeowner more comfortable plus you have the possibility of meeting them before they leave which is often appreciated.

When applying for sits I did my best to present myself well, address the homeowner and their pets personally and by name, and highlight my enthusiasm and the ways I felt I was a match for their needs.

I was fortunate to find a wonderful two-week sit for a sweet little dog in a laid back coastal town as my first sit. From there for me, things continued to flow. I applied for sits that felt like a match for me with homeowners, home and pets plus responsibilities. I chose locations that weren’t too far from my current sit. As I got additional sits and started receiving internal reviews, it made it easier for me to apply for sits with more applicants and be considered as a contender.

When you apply for a sit, some home owners may choose to interview their top candidates.  When discussing the opportunity on the phone or Skype, I would do my best to have some prepared questions, to learn about the temperament and needs of each animal, and be thorough in my responses and inquiries.

As I continued with my house sitting journey, an important piece of the puzzle was to leave the house in great shape, better than it was left to me, with a little token of my appreciation, often a note with some flowers or a plant.

It’s fair to mention that of course house and pet sitting has been impacted by our current national and worldwide circumstances with COVID 19. House sitting websites do currently have opportunities, but for now those numbers are certainly reduced from the typical fertile field.

What Now?
So how about it? Do you want to hit the road? Maybe even just a safe escape to a nearby location? If you’re ready to jump in now or down the road, follow this link to save 25% on a Trusted House Sitter membership.

Whether it’s in the coming months or future plans, house sitting is a wonderful opportunity to be of service to home owners and their pets while offering you an opportunity for a little escape or adventure. Full time travelers and part-time explorers alike can benefit from the opportunities of house and pet sitting.

How about you, what are your house and pet sitting stories, adventure and advice?  If you’re curious to know more, feel free to ask any questions about house and pet sitting!

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