Homesickness, hostels and house sitting

Monday, Oct. 18

Today has been one of those days. We miss home – a lot.

We miss our family, friends and jobs. We’re actually going insane without working, but we’re taking it as a sign that we’re in the right careers.

Matt even said, “I’m more well rested after a full day of work than after a day of backpacking.”

We’re not complaining, but travelling as cheap backpackers is starting to wear us down.

Here’s a few things that really grinds our gears:

– Rude people. We were warned that Europeans can be rude (this is a very broad statement – obviously we know that doesn’t apply to everyone) and that it’s just a part of the culture. We have learned to not get offended when we’re body checked by an old person on the sidewalk.

– Staying in crappy hostels. Especially ones with bed bugs. Yesterday I woke up and saw a spider crawl out of my bed. One of Matt’s arms is covered in bites. Both of my hands and feet are itchy. I’m holding onto the, “They’re just mosquito bites,” for as long as I can.

– Staying in places that are supposed to be better than they are. Every hostel or hotel we have stayed in has had at least one thing wrong. The dryer is broken (we were told after our clothes were soaked), the stove is out of commission, there’s no hot water past 8 p.m., the showers either flood or don’t work, the transit in the area is down and the power is out for 24 hours. In our current hostel, we’ve witnessed the owner walking around with no bra and arguing with her sons until 11 p.m.

– Being ripped off. It’s one Turkish Lira here and two Euro there – but it starts to add up. It’s also the principle. We don’t like having the price of our meal change when we’re done eating. And we don’t like being charged extra for something that was “included,” like gas on a moped or a “free” upgrade.

These are just some of the things we’ve learned to put up with while backpacking. And we wouldn’t trade it for anything. But – we are extremely excited for the next portion of our trip, following six days in Rome.

Next Monday we are going to Le Marche (pronounced Le Marke) to house sit for two to three weeks.

House sitting has been the best discovery since we’ve left home. I paid $45 to register at a website that allows you to post a profile and apply to short and long term house sitting contracts around the world.

The deal is, you stay at their house for free and take care of the property and/or pets.

We found a six-month contract in France, near the French Riviera. It was a refurbished train station, 7 km from the closest town. It only has electricity for part of the year, and the house is heated by a single fireplace. We thought it sounded amazing, but too similar to The Shining.

Instead, we opted for the contract on the Italian countryside, tucked between the Apennine mountains and the Adriatic Sea.

The woman who owns it is English and is a travel writer. She also needs some handy work and light carpentry/construction done on the property. So we think this will be a perfect fit.

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