Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

Tu casa, mi casa

If you’ve been picturing us savouring the Latin night life, discovering the underground bars of Cordoba, and meeting fabulous people from all over the world, you’d be very wrong. We’ve actually been doing the complete opposite – big fat nada (nothing). It seems our greatest success has been taking the word ‘house-sit’ to a new level. Literally.

Considering it could be our last house-sitting gig for months, I’m going to gloss over some of the highly exciting daily pleasures that we’ve been making the most of. Like enjoying a kitchen with a fridge that doesn’t magically eat all the food you left there. A television with international news and full control of the remote.
A washing machine that’s not coin hungry. The option to walk naked to the bathroom without lugging all your toiletries or wear your ‘communal grime protecting thongs’. But the real treat is using a large, textured towel that covers a respectable amount of flesh, instead of a 30cm square, quick dry shammy. Yeah, I can feel your travel envy peaking right now.

Just to reassure those friends suffering from a little Monday-itis; long term travel is not all about exotic landscapes, tango shows and good times. You often spend a lot of time doing nothing in preparation of reaching the really cool stuff and keeping costs down. It’s not like a few weeks holiday when you usually have a bulging itinerary, a job to return to and money to burn. The main difference seems to lie between the words ‘long term travel’ and ‘holiday’. Kind of like slowly reading a cook book compared to scoffing down a whole cake.

If you’re a long term traveller though, don’t pass up the chance to house-sit if it comes your way.
You can make your own cake and eat the whole thing when you get settled. Minding a friend’s apartment has been the ideal time to reassess where we are going, and get to know a place really well while living in comfort. You also get to help someone out while saving money and taking a break from hostels and communal living.

If you want to give it a go by swapping homes, try Home Base Holidays, or get Googling for endless options like this one. Most websites charge a joining fee to register as a house sitter and offer placements around the world. Usually you are expected to pay utilities bills but no rent, either way it works out cheaper than Hostels and Hotels when travelling.

The main downside to house sitting compared to Hostels, is probably the reduced opportunity to meet people. Usually the best thing to do in times of low cash flow is to bunker down with friends and eat at home. We’ve been doing the cooking thing, we’re just pathetically low on the friends to invite. Hanging outside Hostels waiting to meet people was quickly ruled out as creepy.

We’ve formed over the counter friendships with people at the local shops, spent enough time in Cordoba to find our favourite bakery, and also discover where the farmer’s markets are – no surprise to realise that most new acquaintances are food related. We may have even smashed our average daily pastry consumption compared to Buenos Aires. That’s a notable achievement. We’ve also watched a tonne of international movies and had enough sleep to last until mid year. Exciting huh?

It’s also been bloody hot, so having an apartment with a constant cold shower, fan, and ice on hand have been luxuries you don’t always find on the road. I’m talking ‘too-hot-to-do-much-movement’ kind of hot. The combination of steamy weather, a low budget, our own apartment, and access to good food, has meant that our ‘Fatten up before Bolivia’ plan is well on track. The ‘Get fit for high altitude hiking‘ plan has somehow been neglected.

Another upside to our time in Cordoba has been planning. We’ve researched the hell out of Bolivia and our path through Northern Argentina. Not that we actually have a solid plan, but we know a lot more about the places we are heading to, so we can now make educated last minute decisions on where we want to go. For those with time to waste, this is a link to the map of our direction out of Argentina. Multi-coloured desert landscapes, barren stretches of highway and a distinctly different culture of peoples awaits. Our first stop in Bolivia is likely to be this surprisingly beautiful salt flat.
You can look forward to multiple photos of white landscapes by March.

If you’re still reading (thanks Mum) from your office desk, you can be content to know we’re not setting the world on fire from Argentina while your working hard and enjoying an abundant social life. In fact I have a little ‘steady life envy’ right now. But not for long, we hit the road heading North in a week!

Kris

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