These Calgarians are Professional International House-sitters
Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift travel the world by offering their house-sitting services.
Dariece Swift and Nick Wharton in Grenada.
In 2008, Nick Wharton and Dariece Swift took spring cleaning to the next level when they sold most of their possessions, put the rest in storage and left Calgary to travel the world for as long as they could afford to. In an effort to save money where they can, the couple engages in house-sitting – an increasingly popular craze among travellers. We talked to Wharton and Swift about seeing the world on the cheap.
How did you get into house-sitting?
Nick Wharton: There’s a real buzz going around the travel blogger community, so that’s where we got the idea. There are a few different sites, but we used trustedhousesitters.com because it has the largest network. We set up a profile with some photos and a description and people gave us references. We can look at a list of homeowners who are looking for sitters, or sitters looking for homes, and we can contact them or they can contact us. It seems too easy; it’s almost too good to be true.
Where have you done house-sitting?
Dariece Swift: We’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, and the first one we did was in Grenada for seven months. It was in this little cottage right on the beach. [The couple had planned to house-sit in Guatemala in 2015, but this has been cancelled – “Something that happens from time to time,” says Wharton. They are planning to return to Grenada later this year, he says.]
Are there lots of opportunities to house-sit?
NW: There are so many of them in Canada, the United States, Europe and Australia. Every day, dozens of new places come up. There are penthouse condos in New York, vineyards in Italy and mansions in Dubai.
DS: We get an e-mail almost every day asking us to sit. We kind of have our own itinerary right now, so we keep an eye on the site for opportunities in our area.
What are some of the benefits of house-sitting?
NW: We save a lot of money. If we had paid the average price for a hotel every night we stayed in Grenada, it would have cost $24,000.
DS: Our travels can be extended, which is nice. It’s such a great way to live like a local and really get to know the community. A lot of the sits come with a car, and most with a pet, which we can never really have because we’re always travelling.
To learn more about Wharton and Swift’s travels, visit their blog, goatsontheroad.com.