An open ticket to opportunity

When the McGregors grasped the unusual opportunity to travel via pet-sitting in Goa, India and then, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, they booked a ticket to freedom.

“As we jetted out of South Africa, I had no idea when I would be back,” smiles Andrew. “We knew we would be away for at least three months, but we could easily have made it four.”

For Andrew and his wife, Barbara, their ‘golden years’ as they are known, are a time of freedom, with fewer responsibilities and numerous prospects for learning and adventure. “Don’t delay in pursuing your dreams,” urges Andrew, as he explains how he and Barbara embarked on this novel way to see the world.

Global house-sitting sites will typically include pet-sitting options, pool-tending responsibilities and other elements that make up the requirements for signing up to take the owners’ place for a time. “There are great advantages to living in someone’s home rather than in a hotel,” says Andrew, “not the least of which the authentic experience of the country’s culture and the chance to become friends with your neighbours.”

Andrew explained that they selected a possible location, compiled a profile of who they are, and put together a promotional video as evidence of their suitability to take care of a boisterous Beamer or an insouciant kitty. This is followed by a Skype interview, and once accepted, the retired couple had to decide if they would be able to step into the lives of their absent hosts. “We step into their lives, and we have to be honest with ourselves if we would be happy to do that.”


Eager for new experiences and confident in the resilience of their life experience, the McGregors embraced the adventure. “For example,” adds Andrew, “we love cooking, and Barbara is particularly adept at copying a meal that we will have tasted at a local restaurant (in fact, she makes it better!). We would buy the ingredients at the local wet market and enjoy time recreating the flavours.”

The journey spawned a whole new motivation for the McGregors to encourage a more sustainable life. They noted the almost complete absence of earth-unfriendly packaging that is so pervasive at our South African stores. Andrew has penned a blog entitled: Talking trash and you can read it by clicking here.

While such exotic and unusual travel may not be your cup of teh Tarik, take the challenge to try something out of your comfort zone – who knows what beautiful images of your life you will create.

Now enjoy the street art that the McGregors shared with us.

If you have missed the McGregor’s account of their pet-sitting stays in Goa and Malaysia, click here.

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