A Taste of the House Sitting Dream
Tom Land, a former Engineer and Lisa Benson, a former Research Assistant have the most impressive travel track record with 50 countries travelled!
The pair inspired us in taking the leap to venture on our overseas experience two years ago and we’ve never looked back. Tom and Lisa have sailed the Galapagos Islands, sung Merry Christmas to thousands in China, lived in Korea, spent four months exploring the depths of India, tackled the mountains of Nepal and Patagonia, travelled the States, mountain biked down the infamous Death Road and slept in the Amazon jungle in Bolivia.
Since the pair returned to New Zealand, their love for adventure, travel and living an enjoyable and fulfilling life followed them back. Tom and Lisa could both easily slip back into a 9 to 5 job, however they say they wouldn’t get the time and freedom to focus on doing things they love and which make them happy. So they’ve simply chosen not to.
How are they able to live this lifestyle you ask?
A huge chunk of living costs go towards rent or a mortgage for many. Tom and Lisa have managed to eliminate this by house sitting. This means no rent and the opportunity to live in gorgeous places, take care of awesome pets and see different parts of New Zealand.
“It’s a fun and rewarding experience and you get to live a lovely lifestyle where you can save on rent and utilities and feel like you’re always on holiday!” – Tom Land.
Continue to be inspired by reading the full story below…
What gave you the idea of house sitting?
We had come back from overseas and Lisa’s mum was unwell so she needed to spend a lot of time with her in Christchurch so we were never sure how long we would be in Auckland. I did not want to get a full time job and Lisa was unsure whether she would stay in Auckland, or go to Christchurch in order to be closer to her mum. I heard about house sitting through a person that I was doing some team building with. I investigated online, put together a profile and applied.
Where are a couple of awesome places you have house sat?
Our favourite place that we have house sat for is in Scott’s Landing. We looked after a black Labrador and a cat that thinks that he is a dog! They have a pool, spa pool and direct access to the sea.
We also look after this Spanish styled mansion on the Tawharanui Peninsula. The owners have three dogs; two greyhounds and a staffy that is 16 years old. They also have six sheep and two miniature horses. The dogs are real characters and the view is incredible!
What has been your most memorable house sitting experience?
We arrived at one house sit and they had left us champagne, oysters, chocolates, oyster mousse and the spa was left running. There was a little note that said thank you and that there was a great spot for watching the sunset on the property. Awesome!!
Do you have any tips or recommendations for others that want to house sit?
It helps of you have somewhere to stay between sits and it is also more ideal if you have an income source that is location independent. The key thing is to be well presented and have an affinity for animals. We always take special care of the pets and the places that we are entrusted with. We try to leave the house tidier than when we found it and always leave a little gift and a note saying thank you. When the owners of the property are away we will email them to let them know that their pets are happy and well. We started house sitting through a company called housesitters.co.nz and they are superb.
How have you managed to sustain this amazing lifestyle?
I am lucky in that I have been working in selling renewable energy solutions and have had team building and facilitation work to keep the cash flow coming in. Lisa and I have also started up an online business called Elayyt (formed from the word ‘elation’, being happy and appreciating the magic of this planet). Elayyt focusses on travel and photography – two things we are very passionate about.
When Lisa and I came back from our Round the World trip in December of 2013 we were unsure about what we wanted to do. Lisa’s mum was unwell in Christchurch and I had plans of living north of Auckland. This caused a dilemma because we were not likely to be in one place for long. We could not commit to a flat and we were restricted with the type of work that we could do.
My mum had started an online business and she was making really good money. She suggested that we look into the idea. So we did and I ended up purchasing a programme that taught people how to establish a business selling physical products into Amazon. Lisa was initially dubious about the course but since I had already set it up and mum was doing so well with her online business, Lisa got involved too. This business has been a real learning experience and it is now starting to pay for itself. This year we hope to expand the business and add more products.
I love the creative aspect to running the business. We do everything from designing our brand, logo, writing press releases; developing a website and our social media channels. In addition to this, sourcing and developing our products, working with suppliers and giving excellent customer service.
The biggest challenge is working out where we should be focussing our attention in order to grow the business. There is so much that needs to be done, from Google AdWords and refining our advertising to improving our images and our packaging. We are very new to this and it is a steep learning curve.
We absolutely love our lifestyle, house sitting, being creative with our online business and the time freedom that we have. We hope to be able to inspire others to try out housesitting and investigate setting up an online business. It is a real blast.
Support Tom and Lisa by checking out Elayyt below: