Laura Cartledge catches up with a couple who are combining their love of travel and animals.
Living the dream will mean different things to different people.
However, Becky Streater and Christopher Thompson must be close to epitomising it, as their lifestyle will make most people jealous.
Some might envy the fact they’ve spent the last two years travelling for free
For others it will be the way the duo have done it while petsitting around the world.
While the concept will also appeal, to those who are brave enough to admit it, purely because it has offered a glimpse into people’s homes.
“The blessing of being able to house-sit means that we are able to stay in areas that we would never normally visit but end up being such a wonderful experience,” admits Becky. “We delight in the opportunity to spend time in a homely environment and simply relax and cuddle up beside cats, dogs and even reptiles!”
The adventures have been all thanks to TrustedHousesitters, founded in Brighton, just along the coast from the couple’s home in Bognor Regis. Founded in 2011, the website offers incredible locations in more than 140 countries in exchange for caring for the resident pet.
So far Becky and Chris have ticked off three months in India, travelling Europe in their beloved camper van and sitting dogs and cats in France and Switzerland.
And that is only the beginning.
Other trips have also seen them explore closer to home, including the stormy west coast of Ireland and Scotland with its dramatic country side.
Following a stop in Sussex over Christmas, the new year brings plans for further travelling through Europe – of course taking the trusty van with them and meeting plenty of animal friends along the way.
Speaking of which, the list of four-legged and feathered friends is almost as varied as the stamps in Becky and Chris’ passports.
Rabbits, hamsters, birds, chickens, tortoises, along with an ‘abundance’ of cats and dogs have made their acquaintance.
Despite the number, when asked if any stand out, the answer from Becky is definite with the vote going to ‘cheeky’ Micky – an adorable pooch who repeatedly insisted on running off with her business cards.
Bonding experiences like this are uniquely immortalised in the resin jewellery Becky creates.
While, as the name The Library of Flowers suggests, her pieces usually feature wild blooms collected ‘from all corners of the globe’, special bespoke items see fur from the pets transformed into keepsakes for their owners.
If that doesn’t appeal, the more conventional options – currently available via Becky’s Etsy page – feature the likes of forget me knot with feathers, real shells from Thailand, or meadow geraniums. It is a creative coupling, just like the pet-sitting and travel, which makes for a perfect match.
To see Becky’s creations visit www.etsy.com/shop/TheLibraryofFlowers
For more information at www.trustedhousesitters.com