Circling Planet Earth: Property Caretaking Jobs

I was still contemplating my next move when I remembered a resource that I used to order and tell Stanford students about at the Career Center. It’s called “the Caretaker Gazette,” and it lists caretaking jobs all over the world. I used to read that publication on a regular basis, and the idea of caretaking really helped me when I first moved to California during the dot com boom. A studio apartment was ridiculously expensive, over $1200 per month, and I couldn’t see paying that longterm. So I moved to a small northern CA town, and for reduced rent, I had a place to stay, a piano to use, and a whole house to myself most of the time. I moved on from that caretaking job to a different town, where the owner lived in a very interesting Eichler house, had another one further up north and traveled a lot. Again, reduced rent, lots of space, a garden with a koi pond and nice neighbors. I found my next caretaking job at a condo where a retired Air Force colonel and his wife lived when they weren’t traveling. They traveled a lot because they sometimes could get free airfare because of the Colonel being retired Air Force. I had the upstairs master bedroom suite with my own bathroom, den, bedroom and sitting area. It was very quiet, and the owners weren’t there a lot. Added bonus: next door neighbor was a talented pianist with a concert grand in his living room. Concerts in CA are expensive, so this was a nice freebie to be able to listen to him play.

All of this has made me realize that I have gotten set in my ways and am getting restless. I’ve lived in the same place for eight years, and I now think it’s time to shake things up. Get rid of accumulated excess, and start looking for that next caretaking job. These jobs are pretty flexible; it can be for a few months or a few years. You can live with the owners for short periods of time or be on your own for years at a time. You can be the sole caretaker or have your spouse or partner along for the fun. You could end up at a ranch, a farm, an estate, an arts foundation with facilities that need a caretaker, a nature preserve or even just someone’s one family house. The choices seem endless. I once saw an ad for a caretaker for a little deconsecrated chapel out in the country. If you are an introvert, that would be perfect.

However, you need to be flexible with this type of job. While it’s great that I could still write from home while caretaking, sometimes you get stuck with duties you’d rather not do like mucking out stalls or other icky cleaning jobs. If you are interested in a caretaking job, find out exactly what you need to do before you commit. The owners are relying on you, so once you start, you cannot up and leave until the job is finished. You may also find yourself living with owners that are less than flexible or agreeable. But they aren’t there all of the time, they are usually willing to train you, and you many times get lots of space and beautiful surroundings rent free as compensation.

Interested in checking out this nomadic career some more? Read Modern Day Nomads post, Top 10 websites to find a property caretaking job.


6 Responses

  1. What a very cool idea!! Any openings for lighthouse keepers??? (Yup, I am THAT introverted)

  2. You know a lot of those lighthouses are automated, but I bet you could find one somewhere. And, you say you are introverted, but girl, you do more entertaining than I have in the last 11 years!

  3. Thanks for the link!

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