A different kind of travel first brought me and my husband to Cyprus. Our first official housesit through the trustedhousesitters.com website was a 3 month assignment on a small island in the eastern Mediterranean. Cyprus is located 40 miles south of Turkey and 65 miles west of Syria and is the 3rd largest island in the Mediterranean. Why live in Cyprus? Well there are some resonant connections that got us there (which I’ll share about in another post), but why not?!
Having traveled the world as classical musicians and advocates for the importance of arts education for many years, we had already had many life-enhancing travel experiences. Looking back on our time in Cyprus however, it was nothing short of transformative.
Housesitting and the Sharing Economy
‘Helping pet lovers travel’ –trustedhousesitters.com
House and pet sitting is a perfect example of the sharing economy, in this case, for pet lovers and for those who love to travel. Pet sitters are entrusted with the care of home owners’ animals while they are away, and, each party has the possibility to travel– pet sitters to their new assignment, home owners to their travel destination.
Firmly grounded in the collaborative economy, or what is also called collaborative consumption, the trustedhousesitters.com website facilitates a community to connect and create mutually beneficial arrangements for the care of a home and pets. Trusting someone else to use and care for that which you can relinquish for a time and share with another is the very essence of participating in the sharing economy, and in the case of house and pet sitting, people meet and make new friends from a global network.
Being a pet sitter and committing to it’s joy and responsibility is heaven for a traveler centric, pet lover. We adore animals, and have talked about getting a pet for years. However, because of our frequent travel schedule, we haven’t had any pets together. In terms of travel pace and preference, we value slow travel. We enjoy getting to know a place and a community more deeply than a shorter stay allows. A longer 3-month house sit extends the amount of time to explore an area, get to know the community and its culture, and build new friendships– both human and animal!
Our housesit was located in the village of Maroni along the southern coast of Cyprus and we had the honor of taking care of a beautiful rescued dog, Fleurie and her two feline companions Boris and Sandy.
We flew into Larnaca airport in December 2015, with sufficient time for a lovely dinner along the waterfront after an exhausting 17+ hour travel journey. With only a few hours of sleep, we were off again to an animated introductory breakfast where we meet 12 new friends with whom we would spend many dinners and outings together over the course of the next 3 months. Thanks to Cypriot friends from the University of Maine, we were given lovely introductions to their friends in Limassol. We had an immediate bond and deeper understanding of the country we would be living in thanks to these welcoming new friends.
We enjoyed a few pre-housesit days exploring Paphos and the obligatory and fully worthwhile stop at beautiful Aphrodite’s Rock (Petra tou Romiou). Then, upon arriving in Maroni for our pet sitting assignment, we received another warmhearted welcome, this time from the homeowners. We enjoyed 2 and a 1/2 lovely days together getting to know the dog walks and needs for the care of the home and pets, and had the pleasure of being introduced to neighbors and friends in the community. We felt an immediate resonance with village life.
We are grateful for the deep and everlasting friendships we made in Cyprus and for experiencing the country’s extraordinary beauty. We look back on our time there with awe and joy for the many rich experiences. Housesitting opened a doorway for us to explore finding a place to relocate. Before choosing a place to settle, we want to live for extended periods in a number of locations, experiencing what life would be like if we made one of them our home. House sitting is the perfect medium to try out a new community and place.
Here’s a fun fact about the size of Cyprus. Cyprus is 3/5ths the size of…Connecticut! Let’s remember that Connecticut is the 3rd smallest state in the United States. The country of Cyprus packs a lot of punch in a small area, though. How many places are there in the world, where you can drive a pickup truck to the mountains, fill it up with snow and drive back to the sea to make a snowman on the beach before it melts!?