Yellow Submarines, Camel Rides and Free Stays

In less than two years, Sherry Goodloe, 62, has visited England, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Finland and Bali—and savoured many memorable experiences along the way. Especially so in her favourite destination, Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, where she explored the volcanic landscape atop a camel and marvelled at ocean-life from her seat inside a yellow submarine.

“How many of your friends can say they’ve been on a submarine dive? I just think it’s cool to say I’ve done it and it was great fun,” says Sherry. “I had thought riding a camel might be a little scary but my fears soon subsided. The most daunting part of the entire ride was getting ‘in and up’ and ‘down and out’. The 30 minutes in the middle? I just remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, I’m riding a camel in the Canary Islands!’”

When she wasn’t enjoying exotic island adventures in Tenerife, Sherry was making herself at home in a beautiful five-bedroom house with a swimming pool and sauna. “It was only a five-minute walk to the beach. The weather was perfect and the food was great,” says Sherry. “I loved it there.”

Tenerife was also very affordable. “My dollar went further there. I could get a big, full breakfast with eggs, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, toast and coffee for $5.90. I only cooked in the house twice, because it cost so little to eat out.”

Sherry finds her cost of living varies from country to country but thanks to housesitting, stays in beautiful accommodation are the norm. She’s stayed in traditional English rural cottages, villas with swimming pools and comfortable modern apartments. All free of charge.

In Kent, England, she settled into a village with only five houses and more sheep than people. “I arrived during the bluebell flowering season,” says Sherry. “It was so beautiful: white sheep and bluebell flowers. It was amazing. I spent three weeks there, writing, doing some art and just relaxing.”

As well as making the most of free accommodation, Sherry keeps her travel costs down by using public transport wherever possible and orders groceries online to be delivered to her door. “When I stayed in Lincolnshire in the U.K., the bedroom of the home I stayed in looked out over miles and miles of green fields but when I wanted to visit the nearby town there was a local shuttle service on hand,” says Sherry. “All I had to do was tell the driver what time I wanted to go and come back and the shuttle would be there waiting for me…and it only cost $3.30.”

“Housesitting is a great way to travel because you get to live like a local. You get to eat in the neighbourhood, see a different side of the place,” says Sherry. “After a few days in a new place, I start feeling at home and in the places I’ve visited, the people are warm and friendly. I’ve had the most wonderful time and made a lot of friends.”

Image: © iStock.com/neirfy

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