Long story short, we were living with our son in Northern California, located in the low sierras. We could not have been happier. But how long can you live with one of your perfect sons, even when it is your son?
We weren’t quite ready to settle down, so we started looking for alternative living opportunities. Things like RV’s, caretaker jobs, and then we stumbled upon housesitting. In most cases, a housesitting assignment includes taking care of one or more pets, from cats and dogs to fish, bunnies, goats, chickens, snakes, horses and birds.
Our first housesit was in a town, that is a spot in the road, called Coloma in California. This is an outdoor person’s paradise – quiet, river rafting, Gold Rush history, large park, long walks… It was exciting including Tessa, a Border Collie that we took care of.
With the success of several housesits we started thinking on a grander scale – what about doing this internationally? Tom was like right – you figure it out and we will go. Famous last words. As I write this we are near London after housesitting in Norway. And this even gets better. We have housesits lined up in several more England locations, Scotland, back to Norway, down to Rome, Italy, a month near Basel, Switzerland and ending in Copenhagen.
But how did we get the ball rolling? We were living on a very small budget so getting to Norway seemed impossible. Then the power of searching the Internet came to our rescue. We found a flight on Norwegian from Oakland to Oslo that we could buy a one-way ticket, at a very affordable price. We were set and ready to go!!
After a couple of months planning and packing and repacking we were in the car with our son and his wife. We had a very nice lunch then they dropped us off at the airport. We got in the long line to check-in. Soon we were putting our bags on the scale to have them weighed at the ticket counter. Then the world went black as the ticket person said we had to have a return ticket. WHAT! It never, ever said that on the website, but arguing seemed futile.
What seemed like an eternity, we were able to show we had a ticket to leave Norway and go to the UK, which they accepted. I can not tell you how devastated I would have been, plus the people in Norway that were expecting us to housesit for them would have been in dire straights too.
The lesson learned is that you need to show proof that you are leaving the country you are going to, even if you don’t see it anywhere when buying the ticket. There are many rules and regulations when visiting other countries, like some you can only stay for 30 days, others you need a visa before you get there, so know before you book your flight. We came within a hairs breath of finding this out the hard way.