Life on the Ranch, Part 1
The past two months have most definitely been a whirlwind, and I mean that in the best sense possible. From truck stops to rest areas to residential streets and everything in between, we never would have imagined we would have ended up here.
However, this experience is a perfect example of the magical things that can happen when you will something into the universe.
Getting the Most Out of Car Camping
It’s crazy to think that just three weeks ago we were pulling up to the Walmart parking lot in Anderson, CA getting ready to turn down for the night. We start with the usual routine of going to the bathroom and checking out the situation.
Obviously, having to make sure we get the best parking spot. We always scope out the corners – as those have the most privacy.
We want to be near some light for security but not directly, otherwise there’ll be bugs flying and light shining. Also, it’s good to be close enough to the entrance since I have a convenient tendency of having to pee two hours before the sun comes up.
After more than two months of car camping, you become pretty well versed in areas that might not even come to mind in a different situation. For those who have done it, you understand. For those who haven’t, it’s really a lot better than you would imagine.
You get the luxury of a clean bathroom open 24/7 with security (after traveling all over the country in your SUV, trust me that becomes a luxury). Also, most of these Walmart stores across America actually have some pretty nice parking lots.
There’s plenty of open space, tall trees, and fellow wanderers to make you feel right at home. To be honest, companies like Walmart, aren’t exactly on our list of favorites, but in order to balance out the negative, it’s pretty awesome they allow travelers to stay there.
It’d be a shame otherwise. Although, to make it clear, not all Walmart stores do this.
Unfortunately, due to certain local regulations, some Walmart stores do not allow overnight parking. However, if you call ahead of time and ask, they will usually tell you yes or no, or give you a break for a night even if they don’t.
That all depends on the location. But, it’s definitely worth a try!
The Unexpected Twist in Our Adventure
On a recent trip to Alaska last month, we met a charmingly interesting couple from New Zealand. During drinks one night, as we were exchanging travel stories, they were telling us about how they were traveling with one of their friends a while back when he got a call to go to Monaco.
It was an emergency. He needed to watch someone’s cat.
So off they all go to Monaco to stay on this beautiful property and watch a cat while some guy goes gallivanting around Europe.
He was a house sitter and clearly he was very sought after. “Hmm. . . a house sitter”, we thought.
We Could Do That
So naturally, when we got back to Seattle, the first thing we did was made a profile on TrustedHousesitters.com. There is a fee of $120 for the year, but we felt the ultimate benefits would outweigh the cost and the fee would end up paying for itself (we were right!).
We figured that we are traveling anyway, and even though we love the freedom of life on the road, it’s nice to experience the local life with a home front from time to time.
Also, the best selling point of all is that pretty much every listing involves an animal of some kind. And, anyone who knows us knows just how much we love animals.
We have always been crazy about animals of all kinds, but recently it increased exponentially. Becoming non-meat eaters and leading a mainly plant-based lifestyle has deepened not only our love but appreciation for all creatures.
Everyone Hates Flies, Right?
Two years ago, if I saw a spider, I would’ve shrieked, killed it, flushed it and washed my hands three times. A year ago, I would’ve just killed it, threw it out and washed my hands once. Today, I look at it, admire it’s web, and give it praises if there are any dead flies in it (because c’mon everyone hates flies).
It has been an incredible transformation that has led to a strong desire to have many animals. However, one of the very few downsides of life on the road, aside from the lack of indoor plumbing, is the inability to have a pet.
We don’t even have room for an extra tissue in the car, let alone another being. So, the amazing thing about house sitting, is that you also get to experience being a pet owner.
So, if you love animals, are responsible, and reliable then this might be a great option for you. It turned out it was for us!
Willing Things Into Existence
For a while now, Boris and I have longingly talked about having a farm of some sort with animals, an enormous eco-friendly, organic garden, and all the self-sustaining amenities.
As the conversations continued, the picture got clearer and we absolutely knew that no matter what we wanted goats and a llama. We had a wonderful time with llamas in Portland, which inspired us to write the article, 10 Reasons Why You Need a Llama. However, our experience with goats was few and far between: a farmer’s market, a petting zoo, driving by them on the highway, the usual. Yet, not nearly as much as we would’ve wanted…until now.
Less than a week after making the profile, we see a listing: “41-acre ranch with goats, a llama, and a neurotic cat.”
Boris brought it to my attention in eager excitement. It was everything we had talked about, and thought about, and researched and desired: a ranch property, semi-off-grid with solar-power, well-water, pesticide-free garden and animals!
It felt surreal and to be honest, even after three weeks here, it still does!
We had a new profile so the chances of us getting such an extreme assignment our first time around was pretty slim. We knew we were perfect for this, but just needed someone to take a chance on us.
Thank the universe, they did!
So after several emails later, it was settled. We were going to rural Northern California Trinity Alps to house sit a ranch!