We did it!
As of today, our first ever ebook is available for purchase on Amazon.com! Writing Break Free was most definitely a labor of love, and to some it might seem like a big risk publishing a book about something that not many people know about.
But that is exactly why we wanted to write it.
Why we wrote Break Free
Our long-term readers will know that we are super passionate about housesitting. Whenever we are asked how we manage to live as nomads, we explain about working online, being savvy travelers, keeping our budgets in order…but it is when we mention housesitting that we suddenly have a captive audience asking us question after question about how ‘the whole housesitting thing works’.
The idea to write this book came on a train feeling inspired after our great housesit in Italy and we started taking it more seriously in Thailand last winter. As we traveled and housesat our way through South East Asia, India and then the U.S. this year, we became more determined to write it, to put the answers to all the questions people were asking us in one place and spread the word about the housesitting movement.
That’s why it seemed so fitting that we ended up outlining the book during a housesit in Mexico, writing the bulk of it during our Costa Rican housesit and now publishing it while housesitting here in Santiago, Chile.
Our goal was simple: inspire and inform others how to get involved with housesitting. Our second goal was to create an ultimate guide, a one-stop shop where anyone can go to get all the information they need about housesitting. To do this we broke housesitting down step by step based on our own knowledge gained from over a dozen housesits across four continents, plus interviewed owners of three of the world’s leading housesitting websites (there are over 20 in total) and spoke with other experts, like a couple that has been running a housesitting business for seven years straight.
The real reason we love housesitting
On the most basic level, it works like this: a homeowner wants to go away for a few weeks or a few months and needs someone to care for their house and likely a pet or two. A housesitter is anyone who agrees to come in and keep that house safe and the pets happy and healthy until the homeowner returns.
But housesitting is so much more than that, for everyone involved.
It solves so many problems that people see as barriers to travelling for longer and ultimately to living a more fulfilling live. Let’s say you’ve been thinking about a career break, but don’t know how to afford accommodation – housesitting in your own city is a perfect way to eliminate rent payments before you set off and even better way to cut accommodation costs as you travel.
With the money we save by housesitting, we are able to eat in better restaurants and opt for organic food, pay for nicer transportation, rent cars more often and sleep in higher quality hotels during our travels.
Our passion for the housesitting movement, however, has to do with the incredible experiences you can have and the fascinating people you meet through housesitting.
In Italy, we lived in a gorgeous old stone farmhouse, converted into a bed and breakfast by the owner, a former British Royal Air Force pilot and leader in the worldwide Esperanto organization. He enveloped us immediately into the Dolce Vita lifestyle, with white wine and pasta lunches, afternoon cheese plates and walks along rows of the tall, thin Cypress trees lining the centuries’ old countryside paths on the outskirts of his tiny Tuscan village.
During our two-month housesit on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, we worked every day from hammocks, and when we wanted to take a break, we could literally put our flippers on and walk right into the water to snorkel the reef area that started not 100 feet from the shore.
In Germany, we housesat for a former model whose house in the foothills of the Alps was incredibly refreshing – our drinking water literally came straight down from the snow caps above, and we went on hikes in the fresh spring air almost every day.
It’s not just about the beautiful locations, however. Housesitting also offers (long-term) travelers the creature comforts so often missed on the road. In Chiang Mai, Thailand, instead of a small hotel room or vacation apartment, we had a two-story house with our own kitchen and a master bedroom with a huge TV and sound system. You have access to little things that even luxury hotels don’t have, like blenders, maybe waffle-makers, comfy couches, washing machines and dryers, and often even Jacuzzis, infinity pools and home theaters.
And then there are the animals! For many people, keeping their pets happy and at home is the main motivation to having housesitters. This works out great for us, as we are huge animal lovers but as long-term travelers can’t have pets of our own. We shower the pets with love and often get a little emotional when leaving our furry friends at the end of a housesit.
• Stick to a tighter budget by reducing the cost of accommodation and restaurants.
• Get more work done thanks to a comfortable, private atmosphere.
• Experience each place in a more authentic way, not just zipping through.
• Keep fit with our own kitchen and ample space for our workouts.
• Meet more people by getting involved in local events.
Housesitting is not the only way we travel, instead it is something we only do when it fits into our travel itinerary. For example, we didn’t expect to housesit at all in South America, but when we spotted an ad in our TrustedHousesitters.com email alerts for one in Santiago de Chile over the holidays, we jumped at the chance and we were accepted. As I write this I am looking out a wall of windows of the fourth floor condo in one of the most exclusive areas of Santiago. Dani and I are in charge of two awesome Scottish terriers while their owners spend time with family back in Europe.
The way we see it, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t do this, too!
If you own a home, finding a housesitter allows you the freedom to travel longer as well, without having to deal with arranging friends and family to check on the house and care for your pets – or worse, having to pay someone to do it, instead. The entire process is on your terms. You just say how long you need a housesitter for and what the responsibilities are, and you will get plenty of responses – in fact homeowners are often overwhelmed with the number of applications they get!
So, what is Break Free all about?
Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting has over 100 pages packed with everything you will ever need to know about housesitting, such as:
• How to find housesitting opportunities
• How to write a stellar profile
• How to get a housesit, even with no experience
• How to find the right housesitter
• How to get your housesitter up to speed and in charge before leaving for your trip
• How to deal with issues of homeowner’s insurance, contracts and emergencies
We include an entire section of samples for you to model your own profiles, applications and housesit ads after, plus provide full checklists that both housesitters and homeowners can use to make sure everything is covered before, during and after the housesit. We also share more of our own experiences so you can get an inside look at what housesitting is really like, too.
The last section is an in-depth analysis of over 20 housesitting websites including membership rates and pros and cons of each site so you know which ones you want to sign up for to get started.
What’s more, we have partnered up with TrustedHousesitters.com, who are offering a membership discount to everyone who purchases Break Free, which means that the book could practically pay for itself. Keep your eyes peeled for the special Break Free promo code in the book, which entitles you to:
- 25% off a housesitter membership
- 25% off a 6-month homeowner premium membership
- $40 off the combined premium membership
The ebook will be available exclusively for Kindle at Amazon.com for the special launch price of $9.99. You can pick up a copy here for anyone looking into how to afford their trip of a lifetime, as early as in 2013! (Please note that you can also read Break Free if you don’t have a Kindle, using the free Kindle reading app by Amazon.com)
What readers of Break Free say on Amazon:
Break Free is a comprehensive guide that will tell you everything you could want to know about house-sitting. – Tina
The book is full of practical information like what questions homeowners and housesitters should ask each other before committing and during the “handover.” – Kate
Break Free was exactly what I wanted in the housesitting guide–and then it went beyond and offered information and samples beyond what I expected. When I read Break Free, I loved how the book took me patiently through every step of the process (steps that were more painless than I had been imagining), and detailed the how and why of each part of the process. Then, they added in personal anecdotes, stories and photos throughout the book in just the right dose to keep the material engaging and interesting alongside all of the information they manage to pack into the guide. – Shannon
Break Free really deserves its subtitle as the ultimate guide to housesitting. It answers every question or concern you could possibly have about housesitting–both from a sitters and a homeowner’s perspective. - Erin