Madolline Gourley has been traveling the world for next to no cost, jumping from house to house, babysitting people’s cats and homes. “It’s not really a job—it’s more like an opportunity to see places on the cheap,” says Madolline about her experience with online platforms Trusted Housesitters, Housesitters America and Mind My House.

Just like applying for a job, Madolline finds an ad online she is interested in, writes an application, and waits to be contacted by the owners. After a quick Skype meet and greet, the pet lover is hired for the job, and receives a home guide from the owners. “When you arrive at the house, you’ll have a quick chat and talk about anything that wasn’t clear in their guide and get introduced to the cat(s). Then everything is your responsibility until the person gets back. If anything goes wrong, there’s always an emergency contact listed or a number for their vet. But nothing has gone wrong for me yet.”

Madolline first became involved with home and pet setting through a friend at work. Some of the ladies I worked with told me another lady in the department didn’t pay rent in Australia—she house sat for accommodation. I thought if she could do it, I could do it.” On a mission, Madolline signed up to the online platforms and found her first posting. While sitters do not get paid for their jobs, Madolline says the free accommodation really adds up. “I had a two-week house and cat sit in Boston in May 2018 and if I was to book a simple-but-basic private hotel room somewhere central, that would have cost me more than $3000 AUD. But my favourite part about the experience… all the cute cats I’ve looked after. And discovering all the fun cleaning products and household goods other people use to maintain their homes!”

Between sitting jobs Madolline runs a small editing and writing business, but is hoping to start a travel blog soon to document her cat sitting adventures to empower other women to give house sitting a go.

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