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My Fabulous House Sitting in Fiji Assignment

bedroom view in Suva - Fiji

my bedroom view while house sitting in Suva – Fiji

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.

Teddy in Fiji

Teddy in Fiji

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.

Fiji  house sitting- balcony view

balcony view from my House Sitting home

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.

Pet & House Sitting in Fiji - Teddy & Rosie

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.

local boats at Kadavu Island - Fiji

local boats at Kadavu Island – Fiji

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.

pool deck - Suva Fiji

pool deck – Suva Fiji

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.

produce at Suva Market

produce at Suva Market

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.

LashWorldTour pool side in Fiji

luxuriating at the pool

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.

LashWorldTour on ferry in Fiji

on ferry in Fiji

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.

LashWorldTour in kitchen - Noosa

in the kitchen of my Noosa House Sit

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!

If so, check out How To Become a House Sitter by my pals & fellow travel bloggers, Dalene & Pete Heck, the house sitting experts. Or read my review of their book here.

How to BEcome a House Sittter eBook 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. )

The three major sites are:  House Carers  –  Mind My House  –  Trusted House Sitters

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!

You might also enjoy:

My Fabulous House Sitting Gig at Sunshine Coast, Australia

 My Review of How to Become a House Sitter by Dalene & Pete Heck

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4 comments

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  1. Ryan Biddulph

    Hi Lash,

    What a weird custom. We found out the same thing; I thought it was robbing, at least in the West we’d call it that, but apparently it’s a normal thing to clean someone’s house out if they’re on vacay. We were hired to prevent the same thing. We were told that the place was robbed whenever they’d leave for vacation, or, cleaned out I guess. Charges are linked up to the windows; if we were to leave for 2 or 3 days, we’d turn them on because if it, they’d be robbed.

    Robbery, we call it but according to local custom, it’s just seen as what you do….like, if they’re not using it, we will. Different for sure, and never have I been somewhere and felt so safe in my life. Overall, the Fijians are super kind and sharing, it just seems they expect the same thing, or even a bit beyond. What a COOL house sit though Lash. You aligned yourself so well, and we feel the same with our sit, which we’re wrapping up in about a week.

    Thanks Lash, cool share! Tweeting.

    Ryan

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hey Ryan,

      Yes, a very strange custom the Fijians have! My house sitting hosts were not the only people living in Fiji to tell me about it either. Apparently the Fijians wipe out the kitchens of their neighbors, friends and relatives, too! Not just taking things from westerners when they’re on vaca.

      I’ve been to 30 countries, mostly developing ones, and I’ve NEVER heard of this custom before. The Fijians traditionally have many other unusual customs besides this one… the most extreme being cannibalism, of course. :)

      Thanks for stopping by and adding your insights, as usual. I’d love to hear about your Fiji house sit, too.

      cheers, Lash

  2. Ingrid Ruud

    Hi Lash,
    What a great read! I recall that Tony Robbins was inspired by the Fiji people for their zest for life and it changed his life.

    I went to our local library with my mother-in-law on Saturday and was looking through the BOOKS FOR SALE shelf. A lime green cover caught my eye and I bought The Smart Family’s Passport by Budget Travel. I simply could not put it down, so many good tips for traveling. I went to BT’s website and they mentioned HeckticTravels.com. I have been enjoying Dalene and Pete Heck’s many adventures.

    2015 will be the year of retirement from our decorating business and my husband and I are looking forward to traveling while we are still healthy and young at heart. Perhaps we could babysit a house and care for a beloved pet or two???

    I really didn’t want to go out on Saturday afternoon, it was -25 degrees here on the Prairies in Saskatchewan, Canada. However, that small lime green book I bought for 10 cents may be the best purchase I have ever made.

    I am truly looking forward to reading about your adventures on your Blog site.

    1. Lash WorldTour

      Hello Ingrid,

      Welcome!

      First off, congratulations on finding such a great & inspirational book. It’s so amazing when little but important things happen like that! Awesome.

      Secondly, bigger congrats on retiring and on coming out into the world to travel, esp. while you’re still young and healthy. You must be very excited!

      I’m so happy you’ve been finding so many great inspirations for your upcoming travels. I’m pleased to be part of that. I hope the stories, tips and photos here eon my site will help inspire you and give you more knowledge and destinations for your new global life. :))

      Feel free to ask for help, tips and suggestions as you plan your trip and get out on the road.

      Thanks for stopping by and for taking time to write.

      Best regards, Lash

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