Travel Often – Stay Longer – Experience More with Slow Travel – Our Story

Hi, we’re Terry and Maura – TravelKiwis – International Housesitter Travellers.

Having recently entered our 50s, we enjoy rediscovering travel to find inspiring destinations.

We have visited over 60 countries with Slow Travel, allowing us to explore slow travel Europe, Asia and Oceania with housesitting and road trips.

We found staying in small French villages; the locals gave us insights on places to visit, like Collioure.  And taking the challenge to spend time exploring Nanjing in China by ourselves with no guide. Or deciding to use freedom camping to explore our own backyard in New Zealand.

A different experience from our younger travelling days.

Soon after getting married at 20, we travelled to the UK, as many young New Zealanders do.

We spent the next three years living and working in London and Leeds and taking every opportunity we could to travel.

We travelled to the UK, Ireland, Europe and Eastern Europe, visiting countries like Russia, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany.

This period impacted us so much that we knew we would travel like this again.

We didn’t expect it would be nearly 30 years later!

Raising a Family

Wellington Harbour View
Wellington Harbour, New Zealand

We raised our three wonderful sons between times, so our travelling times were put on hold.

Maura studied to become an Accountant while raising the boys; Terry pursued a sales and business management career.

As we approached our 50s and our sons were all in their 20s, our desire for travel was reawakened.

We are from Wellington, New Zealand, a country far from the places we wanted to visit.

Travel to those far-off places had always been our desire, but with only a handful of weeks of holiday each year, our options were limited.

We wanted to experience other countries’ lifestyles, history, food and beauty.

But we were stuck – our material possessions and security were holding us back from achieving our dream. We had financial commitments like the mortgage, questioning do we renovate, perhaps buy a new dress, or have dinner out tonight.

We didn’t want to wait until we retired at age 65; we wanted to travel while still feeling young, confident and adventurous.

And we wanted to travel slower.

What could we do?

Stone building with water in front
Museum of Popular Arts and Traditions, Seville, Spain

How we started to Slow Travel

Each year we would take a two-week break to a remote location on the shores of Lake Taupo, NZ. We would bring enough food and books and stay off-grid from the town city.

As a result, we found we could live with so much less “stuff.” It got us thinking …

Could we live like this permanently?

For us, it was time to let go and be free. 

Subsequently, we decided to sell the house and many possessions, only keeping a small portion of what we once owned. Decluttering each room in the house and the garage was liberating.

This is an option we chose. Other slow travellers have kept their homes as rental income to fund their travels. But for us? Now what?

How would we sustain our slow travel lifestyle?

We chose House Sitting

Four people and two dogs
Our first European housesit was in the lovely village of Fontenoy-le-Chateau.

One of the things we are often asked is: “What made you become a House Sitter?”

For us, housesitting allows us to slow travel with affordable accommodation expenses.

It’s how we can spend time in small villages, engaging with the locals in their language and exploring nearby areas.

It’s how we found this beautiful gem Arcomagno in Italy. Enjoyed the hospitality of villagers in Fontenoy le Chateau, France. And spent four months travelling throughout Asia.

For instance, in one year, we saved more than US$14k on accommodation (based on US$60 per night we may have spent on other accommodation).

Without this major accommodation expense, you can:

  • Enjoy that baguette and coffee as you watch the world go by in a little French village,
  • have a late breakfast in sunny Spain,
  • explore Italy’s local wines
  • wander the small towns in the UK.

Your options to experience world travel have just expanded.

This is why we chose Slow Travel

Small boats in a harbour with colourful house
Selce, Croatia

If you’ve been thinking of how you can spend more time exploring Europe, Asia or Oceania. Maybe it’s time to consider a slow travel lifestyle.

Let us help inspire you to let go of the 9-5 (even for a few months each year) and realise your slow travel dream.

Help show you how we explore a new destination we visit during our house-sitting assignment or small breaks between assignments each month.

We can also help you with advice on the following:

  • How to become a house sitter
  • Create a great house sitter profile
  • Essential items to pack
  • What new mobile device apps to use to make your travel easier
  • Learn how to travel more cheaply between housesitting assignments
  • Why an unpopular city may be the heart of so much more

Our blog aims to help you to realise your dream of quitting the 9-5 (even for a few months each year) and living a slow travel lifestyle.

We do this by sharing our own stories and experiences as international house sitters.

We truly believe you can follow the same path as us.

Our experiences are a way to help you achieve your freedom to slow travel without you having to pave the way yourself.

Therefore, we would love you to join us so you can learn how to have a slow travel lifestyle too.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest to stay updated on our travel journey.