How could Covid-19 kill off our travelling life? A question that looms large currently and that we are asking ourselves constantly at this difficult time. It may sound a little dramatic to suggest the pandemic could stop us travelling but there is good reason to worry.
Our nomadic lifestyle means that it’s necessary for us to plan our lives well in advance and to make sure that we dot the i’s and cross the t’s with regard to organisation. Every single day has to be planned with accommodation being at the forefront of our minds constantly. We obviously can’t leave a single day blank as we need to be sure we have a bed for the night and somewhere to lays our weary heads.
Generally we try and plan our lives at least 3 months in advance, preferably 6 months though. Anything less can be a bit stressful as we then find that we are under pressure just to find somewhere, anywhere, to stay and part of our philosophy is that we like to choose which direction our lives are taking.
We published a post at the turn of the year called ‘Solving the Housesitting Puzzle‘ which described in detail how we fill our calendar with various bookings and trips and what the process looks like. We have a combination of options that we have to choose from;
- Family visits
- Meeting friends
- Backpacking trips
- Overseas trips
- Life chores (doctors, dentist, storage, etc)
Friends and Family
The most important thing in our lives is seeing our three boys and their wives and arranging to connect with them is the first thing on our minds whenever we start looking into future arrangements. It’s not easy unfortunately as they have busy lives and we always want to arrange to get together on dates months in advance which doesn’t always suit the way they organise themselves. Plus we don’t want to be the type of parents that just turn up and hang around for too long overstaying our welcome.
We also have a couple of brothers each (and sister-in-laws of course) along with elderly Mums who we determinedly try to see as often as possible although once again it’s not always easy to arrange so far ahead because of their busy lives.
The coronavirus pandemic situation has meant that we have had to cancel so many meets and stays with family this year and still makes it tough going forward. We don’t feel as if we can just ask to stay at their houses now as we are constantly on public transport and travelling and it certainly brings an element of risk. It’s the same with friends that we have previously stayed with. Doesn’t feel right to impose ourselves in the current climate.
Housesitting has been the framework for all of our travelling plans over the past three years where we have organised housesits in various locations and then worked to fill the gaps with visits to family and friends or with backpacking trips. It has worked perfectly so far.
The number of housesits available on our chosen site TrustedHouseSitters has dropped through the floor unfortunately and that is completely due to the coronavirus situation. The people that we housesit for are generally going away on holiday and that usually means overseas. With travel totally disrupted worldwide those potential housesits are no longer available and we have had virtually every sit cancelled this summer that was previously booked. It obviously isn’t the hosts fault as I’m sure they would much prefer to get away on holiday but it makes planning ahead very difficult.
Making it even more perilous is the constant changing in quarantine rules regarding different countries. With France added a couple of weeks back and now Croatia and Austria it means that every newly-booked sit is a potential cancellation.
With a lack of housesitting stays and visits organised the planning of transportation becomes almost impossible. We travel almost exclusively by train in the UK and always book well ahead to make it financially viable. That is becoming extremely difficult to do at the moment. With the chance of cancelled sits at the last minute we have to be careful about laying ourselves open to losing money on any train or bus bookings.
We love the UK and could spend weeks and months exploring and enjoying every aspect that it has to offer but we also like to venture abroad at regular intervals for little adventures. These types of trips are not at all possible currently with the risk of quarantine being added with minimal notice and us having nowhere at all to go for that quarantine.
The future of JWalking
We have a couple of housesits booked and a couple of trips away organised but beyond the first week of November we are struggling to find anything. We check new housesits every day and keep our eyes on international travel opportunities but it just feels far too risky to book anything overseas at this stage.
We were so very lucky to have been able to stay down in Devon when the covid-19 crisis exploded (Social Distancing across England) , and we were equally pleased to be offered our current 7 week housesit in Hove in East Sussex. These two stays have covered nearly 6 months and got us through the worst of the crisis but who knows what the future holds. The talk of a second wave is extremely concerning.
We are hoping that we will be able to find a few housesits to see us through until the spring when hopefully the pandemic situation will be more manageable and people will be confident in booking overseas trips once again. If not then we could be in trouble.