My Fabulous House Sitting in Fiji Assignment
I awoke to this (above) amazing, luxurious view from my plush private bedroom every morning for two weeks in, of all places, tropical Fiji! A vibrant orange-pink-golden sunrise would be unfolding as I’d gaze out across the pool to distant mountains.
Then I’d shift my gaze inside and say good morning to my two furry companions, Rosie and Teddy, who were keeping me company throughout my stay.
I couldn’t help but smile brightly, glowing from within, at this fabulous situation I’d landed myself in. Then I’d immediately grin even more vibrantly, recalling that this daily wake up routine was merely the beginning of yet another incredible, perfect day in paradise.
First call – out to the pool deck where I enjoyed my morning yoga stretches under a beautifully-ripening sky beside the turquoise swimming pool.
Next I’d make my way up the interior spiral staircase to the spacious kitchen and prepare a healthy breakfast: a smoothy made with fresh, Fiji-grown bananas and pineapple; gourmet bread from an upscale bakery; eggs and cheese.
Breakfast complete, I’d carry it out to another open-air veranda, where I’d eat while listening to tropical bird calls and gazing at Fiji’s coast, inland mountains and a slim river winding its way through dense forest down below. The luxurious house was situated in the plush residential hillsides of suburban Suva, capital of Fiji.
After breakfast I’d sit a while absorbing the serene, peaceful atmosphere and feeling immensely grateful for this amazing opportunity.
Then it was time to take the cute dogs on their first walk of the day. I took great pleasure in getting them all wound up with anticipation, asking them over and over again if they wanted to go for a walk, while throwing my arms in the air and exclaiming, “Let’s go!”
Of course it took me a while to get ready. I’d wash up the dishes, grab my sunglasses and keys, put on my shoes and climb up the second spiral staircase to the entry way. By then Teddy and Rosie would be frantic with excitement, practically chomping at the bit when I snapped on their leashes and unlocked the front door. They’d go bounding out to the gate, dancing in circles and hopping about. I enjoyed it immensely.
Our walks were always adventurous, with more than a dozen neighbor dogs to contend with along the way. Everyone got a good morning barking and adrenaline charge, each and every morning as we passed their gated homes down the road, then back up again. I always got a kick out of the raucous shenanigans.
Morning walk completed, we’d return home and my ‘day proper’ would begin…
How did I, a budget traveler, end up staying in such a luxurious home?
I was enjoying a fabulous two-week house & pet sitting assignment, looking after the property and charming pets of a wonderful Australian couple who were living & working in Suva. They had been desperate to find a trustworthy person to take care of their place.
For several years they had dealt with various local Fijians taking care of their home, which always ended in a mess. No matter who they’d have look after the house, be it friend, colleague or hired staff, they would always return home to a completely naked kitchen and pantry. Every single food item, down to the salt and pepper, would be gone. Bare cupboards, bare fridge, bare freezer. Luckily the marauding did not extend to their electronics or home interiors.
Strange as it sounds to westerners, a long-standing Fijian custom is to ‘helpfully remove’ peoples’ food, and maybe their possessions as well, when they have gone vacationing. Don’t ask – it’s Fijian thing, which I can’t begin to understand.
But as a result, my lovely Australian hosts were over-the-hill with happiness and relief at finding an experienced western traveler and dog lover to look after their home and pups. And that’s where I stepped into the picture.
My main duty was to take care of Teddy and Rosie. Just the usual pet care: feed them, walk them, keep them company and give them plenty of hugs and pats.
I don’t know about you, but I can hardly call any of that ‘work’ or ‘duty’. I love taking care of pets! It was more like a bonus than a task, I can tell you.
Otherwise, I was living at their home mainly for property security, so the house was lived in, not unoccupied. I did not have to clean – they had a house keeper come in weekly to sweep, mop, dust, wash, iron and so on.
But I did have a few other small tasks. I let the pool maintenance men in & out and paid them, using the money left by the owners. I also paid the maid weekly. And once while I was in town I popped into the internet provider to pay the monthly bill, also out of money left by the owners. That was it.
Aside from those minor jobs I was free to explore Suva and to luxuriate in the plush home, along with two cute furry companions.
So after our morning walk I would do just that. Some days I took the 10-minute bus ride down into town to explore. I visited Fiji Museum, strolled along the sea side promenade, admired colonial architecture, indulged in delicious Fijian cuisine, sipped espressos at an upscale cafe, and generally enjoyed a spot of island city life.
I also bought lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, super cheaply, at Suva’s massive produce market. A heap of bananas cost $1 Fiji ( 50 cents), a heap of papayas was $2 Fiji.
Other days I just stayed at home enjoying the plush surroundings and gorgeous vistas from the balcony and pool. Some days, truth be told, I was ‘forced’ to stay in due to cold rainy weather. But I hardly minded.
If I was going to be caught in rain while in Fiji, I was certainly in the best possible place! An ultra comfortable, luxurious house, complete with affectionate dogs, a stock pile of DVDs, free wifi, and all the food I needed. Who wants to go outside in cool rain when they can immerse themselves in that kind of luxury?
But before I knew it, my fabulous house sitting gig came to an end. Sigh. The owner returned home from Australia and we swapped stories about our two weeks of adventures. We de-briefed on the house situation, the bills and the dogs.
Then he graciously invited me to stay on a few days longer. We got along well. And since he was furiously busy at work that week, he was happy to let me continue walking the dogs & keep them company. Soon I was going to leave Fiji and fly to Australia. I ended up staying at the house until my departure.
All in all, I spent two full months exploring Fiji. I stayed at beach-side resorts and the country’s oldest colonial hotel. I took ferries to remote islands, visited national parks and participated in several other adventures.
Out of all that, my house sitting assignment in Suva was one of my very best experiences in Fiji.
And just two months later I enjoyed an equally luxurious house sitting assignment at Sunshine Coast, Australia.
In fact, I’ve been enjoying many house sitting assignments since 2012. All in luxurious houses. All with minimal duties and responsibilities. All in exotic, wonderful places: Fiji, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore.
I’ve had such great assignments, one after the other, that I’ve become very enthused about House Sitting. Honestly, I can’t say enough about it.
In fact, I’m so excited about House Sitting that I’m going to continue talking about it, writing about it and promoting it. I have a whole series of posts about house sitting lined up, so stay tuned.
I’ve already written about my amazing house sitting assignment at Sunshine Coast, Australia here. I will soon be writing about my great gigs in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I’ll also be sharing house sitting stories from other travelers I know. We’ll be talking about our best, our most exotic and our most quirky house sitting gigs as well as our favorite pets. So get ready for more adventurous & glamorous tales from the road!
Does house sitting sound like something you’d enjoy? Because you can do house sitting too!
You can also check out three major house sitting websites. You can scroll through their lists of house sitting assignments to see exactly what’s available right now, and decide which organization you’d prefer to join. (Note that to see the full listings and be able to contact the home owners, you have to join the site. )
And if you have any questions about House Sitting, feel free to contact me and ask away. I Love house sitting. And I’d love to see you out here in the world enjoying it too!
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