Around 1992, while living in Santa Fe, my friend Kirsten asked if I might be available to housesit for a customer of hers. She did various jobs that included housecleaning at expensive homes. When the homeowners went on holiday, they would get someone to stay at their home to keep an eye on everything. Tasks would include watering the plants, feeding the dog(s), and perhaps letting workmen in to do repairs. I had never considered such a thing, but the house was quite nice and I would get paid for staying there. So I said yes.
For the next two months, I stayed at a beautiful brand new house in the nicest part of town. There was a dog and some workmen still doing final touches that needed my attention. The rest of the time was my own. This was before mobile phones, so I gave my friends the house number and said it would be good for the next two months. The house was built by a local real estate developer so it had the best of everything. You might ask, why would they not be living in their own new house. He was off on a fishing trip to Alaska, and she was on holiday someplace warm. The reasons did not matter to me. It was comfortable, enjoyable, they paid me and it was fun to have friends visit this beautiful home.
The friend who arranged this great house asked if I would be interested in another when the time was done. I said yes again. And again I ended up in a very nice house a bit outside of the town. It was a remote location in an old adobe. Later I found out it belonged to a member of the state legislator.
More house offers came. I was in a large home on the west side of town that required driving on a rough dirt road for about ten minutes. This house came with three huge dogs that were happy to see me after work each day to feed them, play with them and be in the house with them. This owner was a successful model in New York and then had a rich husband who died. They had enough money to build a separate yoga studio next to the house. The studio could fit 50-60 people and came with a kitchen, changing rooms, a sauna and more. Mostly the ex-model did yoga with a few friends.
The next housesitting was unusual since I did not stay in the main house but in a guest house. I still needed to feed and walk the dog, look after the fish in the pond and turn lights on and off for security. When the resident returned, I was able to stay in the guest house for a few more months. One night during a storm, a lightning bolt hit so close the TV in my room exploded. I took this as a sign to move on.
Some stays were as short as three weeks and others up to three months. By some great cosmic design, I always had a place to go. Usually, it fell on the exact day. So a new housesit began the very day I needed to leave the last one. When there were a few open days, I would stay with a friend. I managed to keep up with the housesitting for over three years. It was incredibly freeing. My friends, however, found it quite frustrating since I had a new phone number nearly every month.
Not long after starting this adventure I let go of my apartment I had been renting with a roommate. I did keep some of my household items in a storage locker. It was like having a very large closet to keep my stuff. Depending on the housesit or time of year, I might need to get something out of the locker or put something away. It worked quite well.
This freedom allowed me to pursue other things in my life. During this time I became a tour guide. A job I truly enjoyed. It was mostly on weekends, and during the week, I taught yoga classes. One of those classes was at the local dojo. After a year the owner asked me to take over management of the dojo to rent the three classrooms and various treatment rooms. I said I would agree if he would let me change the name. He agreed. Later I stayed at a house he wanted to sell. I took care of the yard, did small repairs and would meet with prospective buyers. After a successful effort from me, he did get a buyer. I asked for a finders fee for the effort I had already begun to plan my journey to Europe and wanted a new laptop computer. It cost $3000. It was the exact amount he gave me for helping to sell his house.
It was a time of great trust in the universe. I learned how divinely guided my life can be. My friends and myself were often shocked at the remarkable timing as I moved from one house to another. Imagine ending a housesit on a Tuesday after 34 days, and having another housesit start the very same day. Now imagine this continued to happen for over three years.
As in many remarkable circumstances in life, it was not something I imagined, planned or fully understood. It was like getting a ticket to ride a rollercoaster. I just sat down, held on and enjoyed the turns and bends and the wind in my face. Occasionally screaming with delight. It was a very blessed time filling a need in my life. Thankfully I have moved on and am not trying to repeat this experience in my life. However, I did learn to keep relaxed and trust I would have a nice roof over my head. So far, it has worked out brilliantly.
Photo: typical house in area outside of Santa Fe.