Got any Route 66 and/or Grenada Recommendations?

Got any Route 66 and/or Grenada Recommendations?

Paul and an Arizona Saguaro on a 2010 Road Trip

Paul and an Arizona Saguaro on a 2010 Road Trip

October 1, 2013 marks our New Mexico departure date.  We are busy firming everything up and I can’t wait to share with you a couple of epic New Mexico blog posts I have in the works.  In the meantime, I have a question or two for you.

We will have a few weeks off between sits and you know what that means…ROAD TRIP…and some possible flights, as well.  Our road trip will start here on Route 66, which we will follow across Arizona and into California (our next sit destination).  From there, we are thinking about flying to Grenada for a week.

So, here are my questions to you…

Do you have a favorite place, either along Route 66 (in NM, AZ, or CA), or in Grenada?  And, if you haven’t been yet, are there any places you have been wanting to go to?  If so, what is it about those places that appeals to you?  We have all kinds of ideas to share, but I want to hear yours first.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY to you and yours!

Got any Route 66 and/or Grenada Recommendations?

Pros and Cons of Caretaking or House and Pet Sitting

When Paul and I tell people that we have been taking care of properties and pets across the US since 2009, the response is oftentimes an enthusiastic one, followed by lots of questions.

Meet Sam and Pinto, Friends and Neighbors of Caretaking Couple.

Sam, curious to know if I have any more carrots for him.

One of the most popular questions is “What are some of the pros and cons of this lifestyle?”. Listed below are a few of my typical responses. These usually lead to a more in depth conversation, and I am happy to elaborate here if any of you would like more specifics (you can leave your questions in the comments section and I will reply).


  • We get to experience new places in a way that most tourists don’t (we live like locals, if only temporarily).
  • We meet people from all walks of life and form beautiful friendships along the way.
  • We get to care for and enjoy a variety of pets, knowing that they will be just fine when it is time for us to move on.
  • Our living expenses are much less than that of the average homeowner/renter.
  • The possibilities are endless and pondering our next locale is part of the fun.


  • Caring for someone else’s loved ones and belongings is a huge responsibility.  There will be stressors.
  • Some places and people (and pets!) are harder to leave than others.
  • Some people are harder to caretake, or sit for than others (we’ve learned to respectfully decline ridiculous requests).
  • Setting up house in a different state every few months to a year comes with it’s own complications.
  • Sometimes, there is “amazing opportunity” overlap and the decision making process can be tricky.

So, there they are, off the top of my head.  Again, if you have any questions, feel free to ask.  If you share a similar lifestyle, and have something to add to the list or comment on, we would love to hear from you as well!

Settling In to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Settling In to Santa Fe, New Mexico

Binks says Goodbye to the Brit

Caretaking Couple officially moved to Santa Fe in October.  We are here on a long-term sit (a year or longer).  The drive from Oregon to New Mexico was an adventurous one, and we arrived just in time for me to help unload and clean before heading off to spend three weeks with family in Connecticut (stay tuned for a separate post).

Our New Neighbors

Sadly, I don’t have many photos to share.  My beloved Canon G12 is now beyond repair.  It was never the same after having broken a fall I took back in Oregon (lots of cracked and uneven sidewalks in Portland), and it finally kicked the bucket for good.  So, the few pictures I have are from my i-Phone.

Original Appliances

We are actually living on a reservation on the outskirts of Santa Fe.  It is full of peace and quiet and we are smitten.  There are horses and cows in the backyard, along with rabbits, roadrunners, lizards, and the occasional coyote.  The house is a 1950’s ranch with an open floor plan and a fabulous fireplace.

Keeping Warm

Our social lives are much different here than they were in Portland.  We had so much fun there, living right off Alberta Street and being able to walk everywhere.  Now, we are doing a whole lot of hunkering.  It feels right.  We’ve been out on the town (in Santa Fe) twice so far, and both times were great.  I will talk about our favorite spots to go and some of the cool people and pets we’ve met soon.

In the meantime, Happy Holidays to you and yours!  Love,

Valynne & Paul


Got any Route 66 and/or Grenada Recommendations?

Announcing Our Next Sit Location, and the Sale of the House at 2314 NE Wygant St (SOLD)

***UPDATE as of 9/9/12 – The house sold.  No Open House today. Congrats, Annette & Scott!***

It is official. We accepted a year-long sit in Santa Fe, New Mexico while vacationing in Florida this past week. We were setting our sights on something coastal, but this was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. Santa Fe is one of our favorite places, and the coast can wait. That is how it works with this go with the flow lifestyle.

Things are happening fast. As soon as we gave our landlords here in Portland our one month’s notice, they put the house on the market. So, we are packing away between showings. I am confident that this beautiful house will sell soon. It sure has been a pleasure to live in! Here is the listing, if you are curious.

Open House on Sunday From 1pm - 3pm

I am spending this weekend at a client’s house. Paul is in and out between showings. We have met so many great people and pets here in Portland…it will be difficult to leave. It seems that the pets know that we are moving on. Animals are amazing, aren’t they? Maybe it is me projecting, but I don’t think so. Sigh.

There is so much more to share with you (like how I am going to be in Connecticut for most of October), but it is going to have to wait. I have been sans laptop for two weeks now (My MacBook Pro has been in the shop), and have a lot of catching up to do. Of course, I took a LOT of pictures while in Florida and want to get them all downloaded and labeled so I can share them with you.

If I sound a little overwhelmed it is because I am : ) In a good way! What is your fall shaping up to look like? We would love to hear from you.

Got any Route 66 and/or Grenada Recommendations?

How To Find Long-Term House and/or Pet Sits (Top 10 List)

Most of you know that Paul and I have been caring for properties and pets across the US for just about three years now.  We sold Paul’s house in Colorado, along with most of our belongings in 2009 .  Since then, our sits have consisted of a year in Cape Cod, MA, two weeks in Cambridge, MA, six months on Signal Mountain, TN, three weeks in Lake Charles, LA, and three months in Portland, OR.  We liked Portland so much that we ended up renting a small house and have done several short-term local sits since then (October marks one year of living here on NE Wygant Street).

Hiking in Sedona, AZ Between Sits

As Caretaking Couple, we have had a total of (almost) four months off between/during sits.  The majority of that time has been spent on the road (visiting over thirty states), with the exception of one delightful month in an old Victorian just seconds from the Atlantic Ocean in Provincetown, MA.  I have posted just about all of our travels in the past three years right here on this blog.  You can enter a place in the “Search” box to the right and if we have been there, there will most likely be a blog post about it.

A lot of people ask us where we find these sits and how we end up being chosen for the job.  This has been mentioned before here on the blog, but since it is such a popular question I figured I would bring it up again and go into more detail.  The following is a list of my top ten suggestions on finding house and/or pet sits:

1.  Subscribe to a couple of websites that match people who need help caring for their properties and/or pets with people looking for properties and/or pets to care for.  The two sites I chose were Caretaker Gazette and Housecarers.  Since then, I have tried different sites, but these are the two that I keep going back to (I do the research and then run the interesting opportunities by Paul).

2.  After spending some time perusing opportunities on the sites listed above, come up with an ad (Caretaker Gazette), or profile (Housecarers), of your own.  I made sure ours conveyed our personalities and let people know the basics about us and what we have to offer.  It doesn’t have to be long ~ a paragraph or two at the most.  Be sure to add a picture as well if that is an option.

3.  Compile a list of references.  You will be asked for one 100% of the time.  When we were just starting out, I included sits I had done on my own over the years and personal references that could vouch for our character (friends, business associates, and neighbors).  A written reference is great ~ ask for one.  We haven’t received written references from everyone we asked, (some people are busy, some aren’t big into writing) but all have given permission to be contacted via phone/e-mail.

4.  Go after interesting opportunities instead of waiting for them to find you.  Especially in the beginning (like any business, it can take a little while to get established).  Let everyone know what you are up to – word of mouth works wonders : ) Try not to take it personally if you aren’t given each and every sit you go after…just keep looking for that perfect (sit) fit.  And don’t just take anything that comes along…if you are afraid of Chihuahuas, don’t commit to a sit that includes them just because you have been offered it.

5. Start a blog and post on it on a consistent basis.  This is a great way to get a name for yourself in cyberspace.  You can get a free account with WordPress.  This will make you so much easier to find, connect you with like-minded people all over the world, and establish you as an expert (just be sure to post relevant information).

6. Answer all inquiries, whether interested or not.  Sits come and go constantly and matching sits with sitters can be tricky.  Communication is key (i.e. nobody likes to be left hanging).

7.  Print up some business cards.  We are currently using Moo and get compliments on our cards all of the time.  Most people are online these days, but cards serve to remind potential clients where to find you.

8.  Let everyone know what you are looking for.  For example, we are now interested in finding a long-term sit in Northern California, and I am putting out an APB (All Points Bulletin).  You never know who might know someone who is looking for someone just like you!

9.  Join a professional house and pet sitter organization.  We recommend National Association of Professional Pet Sitters.  Establishing a rapport with other sitters is interesting and fun, and you will learn about your field ten times faster than going it on your own.

10.  Get bonded and insured.  I suggest you do this through a professional organization like NAPPS.  Most homeowners will make sure you are covered in their policy but it is worth the $ to have that extra piece of mind.  We have had no problems and you probably won’t either but I have heard a few horror stories and am not willing to risk it.

*Bonus Suggestion* Go old-school and place ads in local papers where you want to live.  Disclaimer – we are doing this for the first time.  We just placed an ad in the Carmel Pine Cone as we are both hoping to find something in that part of California (the Oregon/California coast is calling to us both).

If you would like me to go into more detail on any of the above suggestions, just leave a comment here on this post.  Best of luck in finding your next sit, and be sure to keep us posted on your progress!



Got any Route 66 and/or Grenada Recommendations?

Where To Next?

Paul and Valynne at The Smallest Bar in Key West ~ 2008

Paul and I aren’t wandering much farther than Portland this summer, aside from an occasional drive to the Pacific or train ride to Seattle.  This is because Portland is absolutely gorgeous in the summer and we have local pet sits lined up through August.  In late August, Paul is spending a week in Orlando, Florida with his boss and co-workers from around the globe.  I will meet him there the first week of September (yay!).  Yes, this is a hot time to be in Florida.  That is why we are renting a convertible and heading for the Florida KeysKey West, to be exact.  But not before visiting The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.  Cannot wait and am actually wearing a Muggle shirt as I type this.  Feel free to call me a nerd.  Don’t care.

I'm a Muggle

OK, back to Key West.  Key West is one of our favorite places here in the US.  Nothing is set in stone, but I will be keeping an eye out for a potential long-term sit of the island variety beginning in late fall/early winter. Both Key West and Northern California are on our radar at present.  We love Portland and would be happy to stay here, as well…it is just that yours truly has a serious case of Wanderlust (by the way, have you seen the movie yet?  I got a total kick out of it) and it is true what they say about Portland being a bit…soggy for a good several months of the year.  And the tagline for Caretaking Couple is “Caring For Properties and Pets Across the US”, after all.

Have you been to Key West?  If so, tell us about it.  If not, where have you been that you would love to get back to?  Or, where haven’t you been that you would really, really like to visit?  Leave a comment on this post or any other for a chance to win a prize (details here) and I will draw a name on Monday, 5/28.  Thanks for keeping in touch!

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