A few years back, at the age of 62, Sherry Goodloe decided it was time to retire and ‘to start really living’. Four years earlier she’d had breast cancer, which made her think hard about her future.
That’s when she began to plan to retire early. She worked out that she could retire if she downsized and cut her expenses.
Born in Chicago, she had spent most of her working life in southern California. On retiring, the first thing she did was take a train trip across America. Then there was the one-way cruise to Europe.
That’s when she discovered TrustedHousesitters.com. She sold a lot of her stuff and gave notice on her condo in California. Now her home base is the second bedroom of her best friend’s condo in Chicago.
‘I travel the world, house- and pet-sitting through TrustedHousesitters,’ she says. ‘It’s almost like an Airbnb that you don’t pay for.’ In a sense, she’s become an international-travelling pet-sitter.
She has to pay her way to the locations where she housesits, but once there, she stays for free. And sometimes the homeowners allow her to use their car.
To fulfil her travel dreams she says, ‘I got a world map and I started mapping out places I wanted to go.’
To date, she’s been a house-sitter in England, Italy, Australia and the Canary Islands. She says that Kent, ‘the Garden of England’, ‘was the ideal location for me to start drafting my book about travelling solo (specifically as a woman)’.
Late last year she says she was ‘blessed’ to find a 2 1/2 month sit in Tasmania, Australia, for two indoor cats.
‘I applied, but the owner was looking for a couple. Well, in less than 20 hours, the owner contacted me again and said the couple had changed their plans. But I was still available and happy to oblige!
‘And why was this such a blessing you ask? Well, my granddaughter lives there! I [was] able to spend time with her over a 2 1/2 month period!’
TrustedHousesitters says nearly 40% of its sitters are over the age of 55, and they allow anyone up to age 84 to apply.
Her friend in Chicago has noticed a big difference in Goodloe since she’s been travelling the world. It’s ‘almost like a rose that was closed, and it just opened up’.
‘I just love my new life journey,’ says Goodloe.
Not everyone will want to do what Sherry Goodloe does, but her retirement experience is a good illustration of what some thinking outside the box can do.
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