Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Stephanie Perry | Founder, Professional House Sitter School
The Black Expat: House Sitting Allows Me To Travel For Next To Nothing
When Stephanie Perry left the United States, her original plan was to take a one-year sabbatical. When she returned to the US from her time off, she realized her old life was no longer satisfying.
“I changed during my travel. To go back to a life where your life is all work, and then you have to squeeze in the things that you actually enjoy was not for me anymore,” Perry Travel Noire. “I decided that waiting for retirement to actually live was just a scam, and it was not the only option.”
So, she started to research.
“I started googling, ‘how do I travel with no money?’ and Google told me to house sit,” said Perry,
Perry is now a professional house sitter who is teaching others how to explore the world on a budget through her Professional House Sitter School. In an interview with us, she talks more about her gap year and why house-sitting is the best option for people looking to become expats.
Travel Noire: What did you learn about yourself in a year?
Perry: I was a different person outside of the United States. Number one, I got treated differently as a Black woman. A lot of the world lets Black women just be.
You can just live in peace. You don’t have to be the workhorse. You don’t have to be the person who is responsible for everyone else’s happiness. You don’t have to be the person who’s responsible for everyone else’s comfort. Black women do a lot of emotional labor in our day-to-day lives and I got to be out in the world where that wasn’t the thing.
There were parts of me that I didn’t know existed because I was just always busy. I found out that I like talking to strangers. I was never the kind of person to just start a random conversation.
When I left the United States, I wasn’t stressed out, tired, exhausted and angry because I was carrying around a day full of microaggressions. I found that random people would start conversations with me and I enjoyed it.
Being able to do whatever you want is a freedom that we just don’t get as an adult and being abroad showed me the parts of me that I never knew were there and never would have been able to nurture.
Travel Noire: What does house sitting entail?
Perry: My first international house sit was in Mexico. I booked it for one month in Lake Chapala, Mexico— a place I’d never heard of. I got down there in 2018 and those house-sitting clients introduced me to their friends, and I ended up being booked for six months straight.
House sittings are not paid so, I started out as a virtual assistant. I did work for coaches online. If they needed a ghostwriter to write some blog posts for them and send some emails, then that’s what I did. I made money so that I could eat because the accommodation was covered.
Travel Noire: Why do you feel house sitting is the best decision?
Perry: I feel like a genius. House sitting means that I can travel as much as I want. I can do it on pennies and I can work as little as possible. When you take out having to pay for accommodation, you don’t have to work as much and you no longer have to let work dictate your life.
Travel Noire: Now you are helping people move abroad with house sitting. Can you talk more about that?
Perry: I started a YouTube channel because I knew, like maybe five or six women who I thought needed to take a break from work. I thought house sitting would help them and I wanted to have a place where I had some information, so I could point them to it.
You don’t have to have thousands of dollars a month to live in a lot of the world. I’ve done it for as little as $600 per month.
I just calculated last month’s food expenses I’ve been getting UberEats, for example, and I spent $350 on food last month and that was without budgeting.
Travel Noire: What advice would you give our readers looking to move abroad through house sitting?
Perry: House sitting works for people in a lot of different stages of life. You don’t have to just be the 22-year-old “carefree person” or the 75-year-old retiree.
You can be a family. People house sit as a family, with spouses, their parents or partners. House sitting clients are generally pretty chill people. They just want someone who’s going to take care of their home, take care of their pets, and take care of their plants.
Follow Stephanie’s YouTube by clicking here.