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We are writing today from the shores of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, just three days in to a two-month house-sit. These are views from just about everywhere on the property:
The sun has burned away most of the morning cloud cover, and the wind rustling loudly through the palm leaves makes for a perfectly cooling sea breeze despite hot and humid temperatures. I alternate between typing and gazing out at the shallow water just barely covering the barrier reef that stretches 200m out to sea. I watch the waves crash way out there where the shelf drops off starkly and the deep blue of the ocean begins. We can snorkel right in our own backyard among the shades of azure, cobalt, sapphire, teal and navy blue water. The house-sitter staying a few doors down says she tries to go everyday. I imagine we will too, but the homeowner is still here and we have a lot to learn before he leaves us to our own devices for eight weeks.
Living out here in some of the most remote reaches of Mexico isn’t exactly just a day at the beach, and the level of responsibility is higher than other housesits we have had (this is our 11th housesit in two years). But the pristine beauty of the area is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and once the wheels were in motion, we could not turn the opportunity down. We applied for this through housecarers.com, with the application process beginning as they always do – on a whim; just a glimmer of possibility.
“Hey, wanna go down to Mexico for two months for a housesit after Tracey’s wedding (my best friend got married in Denver in June)?” Dani asked one day a few months back. She was going through the Housecarers notification emails – as she does every day – and out of the 30 or so choices that day, this one understandably caught her eye. She explained that it was a beach house, it was very remote, the ad mentioned snorkeling right off the private beach and that the house was almost entirely off the grid.
“Well, we have experience with solar power from our Bavarian housesit last year,” I answered, “and we do need some peace and quiet to get a bunch of work done…” As we looked back and forth between the ad and each other, there was no flooding of excuses, no ideas why we shouldn’t at least apply… Cut to two weeks later when we received an email and it turned out, of all the potential housesitters who applied (and this time, like all other times, there were dozens if not hundreds who had) Dani and I were chosen. Emails went back and forth, references were checked and plane tickets were purchased. We were committed to spending the summer months in Mexico.
Normally, a two day handover is required before the owners leave, but this case is different. Here, we’re learning how to maintain a house that runs almost entirely with solar energy in a very remote location. Though we didn’t step into this blindly, the word ‘remote’ can be a relative term. Someone from Manhattan might consider Iowa City remote, while a cowboy from Montana would apply the word to a 10 hour ride into the mountains reachable only by horseback. We are somewhere in between, but much more to the side of the cowboy. Several times on the ride down here, the owner would turn onto another perfectly straight road, flanked on either side with miles of sprawling green trees and mangroves and we would mutter another exasperated ‘Wow’, mesmerized by just how much wide open space laid behind, in front and on the sides of us.
“Didn’t Angela* tell you how remote it was?” Tom* asked each time. “Yes of course,” we would reassure him in unison. Truth be told, however, there was no way to know just what we had gotten ourselves into until we finally pulled in to the drive and brought our bags in to our temporary abode.
Luckily, it is better than we dared to imagine. The beach house has hot water (even a rain shower head, my favorite bathroom accessory), a full kitchen with a stove, fridge and freezer, a double bed, plenty of closet space, a couch and two tables inside, and a set of beach chairs on a patio outside, all with a clear view of the ocean, obscured only by palm trees. The property is kept clean and neat and seems much newer than its nine years. There is an outdoor palapa off to the side with a table, chairs and even electricity sockets to plug in and work, plus another gorgeous table and chairs fashioned out of driftwood down at the water’s edge.
“The hardest part of your morning,” Tom jokes, “will be deciding where to have your coffee…”
So far, we couldn’t be happier with the prospects of spending two months here alone with our guard dog and the three or four fellow housesitters in neighboring houses along this strip of beach. We will post about the highs and lows of housesitting and all our beach house adventures over the next few weeks, so stay tuned and please feel free to ask us any questions you have about housesitting worldwide in the comments below.
*Names of homeowners and certain details of our location will be changed to respect their privacy and maintain anonymity during our stay.
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