In the past when I would think of Italy my mind would wander over the usual Italian cities and regions like Rome. Florence, Venice, Cinque Terra, Tuscany and then move on to a host of edible delights: prosciutto, vino, frommagio, espresso, panna cotta, and half a dozen others.
The other thing that would cross my mind was something like: Oh Italy, I’ll see you when I’m older, when I’ve traveled the world and climbed the mountains and seen all of the things. When I’ve done that and my knees are shot, I’ll come from an amble through your cobblestone streets and stand and drink my espresso and say Ciao to all the pretties.
I’m sure that would have worked for me. I’m sure it works for all kinds of people. But now I think this would have been a mistake. A terrible mistake.
So when we were looking for a way to extend our round the world trip, were really looking for a place to stay for a longer amount of time. Travel wears on you after all, and after 11 months of constant moving and living out of a backpack, we were ready to settle down for a spell.
This is where Trustedhousesitters comes in. To be upfront, we aren’t paid at all for writing about them, or given anything in exchange for what I’m about to say.
THS is a site that connects avid travelers such as ourselves with kind and trusting people who want to travel but don’t want to board their dog or cat for any amount of time or don’t want to leave their house unattended. Maybe they have a garden that needs watering (I can do that). Maybe they have a pool that needs cleaning (I can do that…right after a swim).
We signed up and built out our profile, asked for endorsements from people we trust. Ready to go!
But nothing happened. Nothing happened for months. Months and months.
We began to think the site was nothing but a joke. A scam. But it didn’t matter. We had our round the world tickets. Our path was determined…
But then we didn’t want to come back to the States at our scheduled and appointed time. We wanted to keep travelling. So we went back to the site and started scouring opportunities.
Our requirements were pretty simple. We knew we would be ending our trip in the UK, so searched for a house sitting gig within a relatively short distance.
Timing was important too – given the Schengen visa issues, we are allowed to stay in Europe for only 90 days in every ½ year. Knowing these few rules, we were able to narrow down our search and began applying to the opportunities listed.
There weren’t too many. Much of the site is filled with short vacation related sits. Holiday for two weeks, need you to watch our cats. The site is based in Brighton England, so many of the sits are in the UK. There are also many in Australia and New Zealand, but that was too far and too expensive.
At first nothing happened. We got close on one, but got turned down because they chose an Australian couple with more experience. So I found their. It was really well written. I took some notes and updated our profile and continued to email people. Spain. Croatia. Slovenia. You name it.
Then one day we found one in Brittany, France. Three months. In the country. One dog. A studio for painting. A loom. Fresh eggs and farmers nearby. Use of their car. So we applied and after a few emails and a few Skype’s from Manila (where we were at the time) we got the gig. Whew! Three months in France!
That left us with a gap of six month from the end of our original trip. So we hit the site again, applying for another dozen sits. Ireland, UK, Scotland…Italy. Hmmmm. Italy.
Now this could be interesting. A flower farm in remote Northern Italy for 3 months. Pick flowers for 4-5 hours a day, and the rest of the time do whatever. We applied and got that one too.
So that’s how we wound up in a town called Vermiglio, Italy. In a valley filled with trees and a river and about 1700 people who call this alpine region home.
It’s more German than Italian here. Afterall, this was Austria until 1919. There is a war museum/theater/tourist information building up the road that we have yet to visit.
The grocery store has spaetzel more often than it has gnocci. The buildings look like chalets. It snows. A ton. The higher mountains we can see while picking flowers have snow on them all year, and they are mesmerizing.
But more on what we do while we are here in another post. Because that is a story all to itself.