Publié le by NmNomador
Cultural Differences & HouseSitting: Introducing a New Series on Nomador
As regular house-sitters, my husband Geoff and I have had the pleasure of taking care of homes, plants, cats and dogs all across Europe, with plans to continue exploring the world through the lens of house-sitting whenever possible. We love meeting local homeowners and expats who live in new-to-us destinations, exploring cities and regions like locals do, and forging friendships with the people whose homes we care for. For us, being members of the Nomador community offers the opportunity to explore a place in an entirely different way than when we stay in a hotel, hostel, or short-stay apartment rental, which is why we continue to seek out house-sitting opportunities wherever we go.
And we’re certainly not the only ones that feel this way.
House-sitting Is Increasing In Popularity
In the three years we’ve been house-sitting, we’ve noticed a marked increase in popularity and interest in the concept. More frequently, many of our house-sitting engagements are for homeowners trying out housesitters for the very first time. We are also house-sitting more for local residents as well as expats living temporarily in a country.
A combination of increased comfort with sharing economy and collaborative consumption business models, openness to online relationships and communities, and a move toward small-scale, local experiences while travelling has given rise to a rich and active house-sitting community that continues to grow every day.
We think this is great news for the Nomador community, as it creates a larger pool of house-sitting opportunities around the world and a broader selection of house-sitters to choose from. As the concept expands, the house-sitting community is able to welcome homeowners and house-sitters from countries that haven’t been significant participants in the past, and Nomador is able to introduce new and unique models that benefit the community, such as the Stopovers program.
Why Is It Important To Consider Cultural Differences?
Despite the overwhelming positives associated with a growing, multilingual and multicultural community, we also realise it comes with challenges.
While our lifestyle, experiences, country, culture and language shape our reasons for house-sitting, so too do these factors affect homeowners’ reasons for engaging a house-sitter, and expectations before and during a house-sitting assignment.
- In the United States, many people refer to their pets as “fur babies” and to themselves as “pet parents” such is the degree to which many Americans consider their pets to be a part of their family. This contrasts greatly with many other countries, where pets are kept as much for utility as for love; a barking dog makes a great home security system, after all!
- In Portugal, many rural house-sitting assignments are focused on caring for pets and watering orange and lemon trees, but the situation is quite different next door in Spain. As squatting continues to be a problem in Spain, some homeowners need house-sitters to occupy their property against the legal threat of squatters.
- In some regions, hiring local staff to help clean, garden and manage a property is common practice. However, some expats still engage house-sitters from a similar cultural or linguistic background to look after their pets with the same love and care as they would personally give.
- In countries with tight family ties and a tradition of multigenerational living arrangements, locals are more likely to rely on a nearby family member than a house-sitter when in need, explaining why house-sitting is least popular in the countries with very strong family ties, such as in many countries in Asia.
Introducing A New Series On Nomador: Cultural Differences & Housesitting
As the first house-sitting platform to operate across two different languages (French and English), and with equal member representation from each, Nomador is uniquely positioned to bridge these differences.
At the heart of it, Nomador’s mission is to build a multinational community of people who share values of trust, commitment, generosity of spirit, curiosity about other cultures, open-mindedness and global awareness.
And part of that means recognising our differences, understanding how they impact our experiences and community, and moving forward with an open mind.
The Cultural Differences & House-sitting series will explore themes related to the social, cultural, economic and legal differences across countries. It will also offer practical, hands-on tips to understand and effectively communicate as a homeowner or house-sitter across cultures.
This blog post is the first in a new series on Nomador outlining the country-specific and cultural differences impacting the house-sitting experience, from the very first interaction with a house-sitter or homeowner, through completion of an engagement.
Culture Extends Beyond Country And Language
Beyond the country-specific and linguistic differences that shape interactions between homeowners and house-sitters, the series will also tackle how individual backgrounds, motivations and subcultures within the housesitting community can impact house-sitting experiences.
Afterall, a local homeowner who wishes to welcome a foreign house-sitter to their city and
country - to share their culture, language, and way of life, will likely have vastly different expectations than a home-based owner who simply needs help running things while he or she is away.
Similarly, the considerable diversity among house-sitters hints at the different ways in which house-sitters may approach an assignment:
- Retirees who housesit occasionally as a means to travel and experience different places, especially in regions that offer cost-effective and convenient travel such as Europe.
- Occasional house-sitters, who look for a housesit during their holidays from work or school.
- Perpetual travellers or “digital nomads,” who work online and bring their career with them around the world.
- Families who want to give their children unique childhood experiences, and may be occasional house-sitters or perpetual travellers that homeschool or un-school their children as they go.
- Professional petsitters who housesit and pet-sit for a fee, often within a set geographical market such as their home city.
Coming Up On Cultural Differences & Housesitting
All of these differences from local habits, customs, and languages to the motivations and backgrounds of homeowners and house-sitters themselves can impact the housesitting experience, starting with making a strong first impression with a message of introduction through Nomador.com, and continuing all the way through the house-sitting engagement.
Our aim with the Cultural Differences & Housesitting series is to bridge these differences, and ultimately, help facilitate even more successful housesits for our community.
We hope this introduction has served as a helpful reminder about the diversity in our community, and the need to consider others' cultures and backgrounds in our interactions.
Be sure to read the first country guides:
House-Sitting in France: A Cross-Cultural Guide for Anglophones
House-Sitting in Canada: A Cross Cultural Guide to English vs. French Canada
House-Sitting in Australia: A Cross Cultural Guide to Specific Considerations for Australia
House-Sitting in Latin America: A Cross Cultural Guide
House-sitting in Asia: A Cross-Cultural Guide
House-sitting in Spain: A Cross-Cultural Guide
House-sitting in Italy: A cross-Cultural Guide
As full-time travellers, Katie Matthews and her husband Geoff frequently housesit as a way to gain a deeper interaction with different cultures, meet like-minded people, and spend some time with furry animals. They have been housesitting since 2013, and spend their days spoiling pets, creating travel-themed adult colouring books, and writing on their blog, wandertooth.com.Holding a Master's of Arts in International and Intercultural Communication, Katie has a keen interest in how culture shapes communications.