What Makes Housesitters Extraordinary?

“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” ― Pascal Mercier

Our housesitters left fresh flowers, homemade chocolate banana bread, and a mesh covering over our shower drain because we thought the cane toads were hiding in the shower drain during the day and hopping around the bathroom at night. Two weeks after returning from Fiji and New Zealand, I still find little remembrances of them.

Meet Doug and Johanne our housesitters extraordinaire.


What makes housesitters extraordinary?

It is the little things that mean the most to us. We look for people who will not only tend to our pets lovingly, but will also enjoy our home and the unique culture in which we live. Doug and Johanne spread their love throughout our neighborhood and for that we are so grateful.

Doug read to the children in my elementary school library. Johanne made delicious loaves of banana bread from our new stock of bananas and gifted them to our neighbors and friends. When I told them about the very poor family that lost their father in a ferry accident, they asked if they could take food and candy to the family. Doug watered, staked, and weeded the tomato patch. Most importantly, they took the time to get to know our community and were greeted with “Hola vecinos” on their daily walks.

You see, we look for people who will fit into our neighborhood and leave a little something behind…nothing material…but friendliness and a joy of living. That they did indeed.

We look for people that will go with the flow of life on Ometepe Island and expect the unexpected. When we were in New Zealand experiencing the earthquakes, they were preparing our house for Hurricane Otto that was predicted to pass over Ometepe Island as a category two storm. They dug ditches around the house and laid old roof tiles around the back of the house in case the water rose and flooded the house.

We stayed in constant contact. I was worried, but they were calm and collected in their preparations, took photos of the ditches they dug, and sent pictures of our spoiled dog and cats, sleeping peacefully or watching them play scrabble at the kitchen table.

queenieWhen Hurricane Otto entered southern Nicaragua, it lost steam and veered further south. Then, the same day as Hurricane Otto raged, a 7.1 earthquake occurred off the coast of El Salvador triggering a tsunami warning and evacuation of San Juan Del Sur…more on the weather events in the next post. Yet, Doug and Johanne remained calm..waited for the storm, which never appeared…and reassured us that all was well.

Housesitters extraordinaire! We couldn’t have asked for a better match for our pets, our community, and our home. They are truly joyful travelers.

If you would like to know more about Doug and Johanne, check out their blog Joyful Travellers. 


17 thoughts on “What Makes Housesitters Extraordinary?

  1. Pingback: This is Why We House Sit | Sharing the Joy Of Travelling

  2. Pingback: House sitting – luxusní bydlení zdarma po celém světě

  3. Loved the poinsettias in your first picture which, along with the little snowflakes drifting across your page, gave your post some holiday cheer! So glad you had such a lovely arrival home and peace of mind that all was well-cared for so that you could relax and enjoy your time away. You had an unbelievable amount of drama during this time (earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis not to mention a plague of toads) but how amazing to have some real “grown-ups” to reassure you that they were taking care of the home place. Merry Christmas, Deborah! Anita

  4. We agree! We love Johanne and Doug. They took exceptional care of our home and pets. Nothing seems to ruffle them. I’m especially grateful for the care they took of our terminally I’ll geriatric cat!

  5. Hogar, dulce hogar! It is so good to learn that you made it home and were greeted by a secure home which, thanks in part to your sitters, dodged the storms and was ready for your return. We are glad you are safe and sound and espeically glad that you had such a good experience with your house-sitters. Have a very merry Christmas!

  6. ” we look for people who will fit into our neighborhood and leave a little something behind…nothing material…but friendliness and a joy of living. ” — You nailed it! That’s a description of a true world ambassador! So glad that they kept a sense of calm, and that you had a lovely welcome home!

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