Do you envy me, with my house-sitting and volunteering and living in glorious forms of free accommodation around the world?
Do you think my life of full-time travel is glamorous, adventurous, and exciting?
Do you dream of creating a life like mine?
I’m here to crush that dream.
This post was originally published in 2017. It has since been updated for accuracy of links and content.
House-Sitting in Tokyo: Daily Life
I’m being dramatic; I’m not here to crush any dreams. But perhaps, after watching my utterly gripping (utter sarcasm intended) video below, you’ll have a different idea of what full-time world travel actually looks like on a day-to-day basis.
I remember when I was house-sitting in Switzerland (a three-month gig); after a couple of weeks one of the neighbours came over to check in on me. She was puzzled by the fact that I hadn’t done much more than take the train 15 minutes into Zurich to walk around and snap some photos.
“You mean, you haven’t visited Museum X, swum in Lake Y, and climbed Mount Z?” She asked incredulously.
“Nope,” was my unapologetic answer.
But I was apologizing. I felt bad. She was almost offended that I hadn’t played the tourist by seeing and doing everything any other visitor to the area would have done by then.
My Trip to Tokyo: Context
Every country is different for me. Since travel is so contextual, it depends on the five Ws:
- WHO I’m with,
- WHAT I’m doing,
- WHY I’m there,
- WHERE I am, and
- WHEN I’m going (or more operatively, how long I’m staying).
The answers to these five questions dictates what my daily life looks like.
So, to plug this contextual formula into my recent trip to Japan:
- WHO: Going solo (Here’s how I travel alone as a woman)
- WHAT: Spearheading some major work projects, after ignoring my business for the last three years
- WHY: House-sitting in Tokyo (and unable to leave the house for more than 24 hours due to animal care responsibilities)
- WHERE: A house in a quiet suburb, which meant it took some effort (and money) to get into the city centre
- WHEN: Seven weeks in the height of (hot drippy) summer
So, since I couldn’t leave the house for more than 24 hours, you might now understand why I didn’t conquer the country of Japan as a whole, but rather stuck to the Tokyo area.
By knowing I had some major work projects to do (with my first taste of fast internet in six months), and that the summer temperatures in Tokyo were regularly 37 degrees (PLUS the humidity factor), you might sympathize with my desire to remain indoors and work.
By seeing that I was traveling solo (after spending five months at a retreat centre and living constantly with people), you get why just chilling out on my own without any firm commitments was a treat.
And, by knowing I had seven weeks, you’ll see there was no rush to see and do everything in the first two.
Although I seem to be setting the stage for a dormant two months of house-sitting in Tokyo, in reality that was far from the case.
- I visited Shibuya Crossing (the world’s busiest intersection) within days of arriving.
- I strolled the crowded old-world alleyways of Harmonica Alley.
- I met up with a travel blogging colleague and chatted about life in Japan.
- I researched and discussed with many the art of intercultural love in Japan.
- I wandered around Tsukiji Fish Market with a local Tokyoite.
- I became completely overwhelmed (and disgusted) by Akihabara and hid underneath my bed for days.
- Once I recovered from Akihabara, I discovered all kinds of other reasons why I could never live in Japan.
- I went shopping. A lot.
- I got lost looking for an Okonomiyaki restaurant with a friend – which ended up being one of the best meals I ate in Japan once we eventually found the place.
- I went to an owl cafe, before deciding I wouldn’t do that again.
- I almost died on Mount Takao.
- I danced in a kimono at New Bon Odori.
- I visited Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant, which really is the greatest show in the history of entertainment.
- Out of all that, I formulated 16 random observations about Tokyo, and what it’s like to live there.
And all that is on top of everything I did in my business.
- I had a little business
- I changed my web host to a managed hosting plan.
- I created a profile and got busy on Quora, which turned out to be a lot of fun and a relatively effective way to drive traffic to my site. (And a total time suck).
- I re-started my vlog, kicking up my frequency to weekly videos. (Please subscribe to my channel, and like my videos!)
- I got even busier on my other social channels like Facebook, and breathed new life into my Instagram account.
- I designed, edited, and published a 10-day course about Long-Term/Full-Time Travel on the popular site Highbrow. (Even though it’s a premium course, you can do it for free with the free trial).
- I even completely redesigned my website, so readers can now navigate my 10 years of content with more ease.
So, yeah. I was busy. Not just with house-sitting in Tokyo, but with everything.
Creating This Video
While I was busy discovering the wonderful world of Instagram, I created a “story” of a day-in-the-life of house-sitting in Tokyo. The story was really popular, which inspired me to edit it together and make it available to everybody here.
(That’s why you’ll notice the video below is in portrait mode, instead of landscape mode – Instagram is all about portrait photography/videos).
You’ll also notice in the video that my day gets hijacked by searching for an “error fare”. (I’d recently audited a course on error fares and now I receive timely alerts of such fares to my phone). It was the deal of the century: return airfare from Saigon to Europe in business class for less than $500 on Qatar airways. I had a few good reasons to go to Europe for the fall season and this was all the motivation I needed.
You’ll also notice that it didn’t work out. (These things happen). But it certainly put a spanner into my day. Although I’d like to tell you that such unexpected time-sucking spanners are anomalies, these things find their way into my days regularly, so as uncharacteristic as my day in the video below was, it was also kind of standard fare for me.
A Day-In-The-Life of House-Sitting in Tokyo
But enough of me telling you what you’ll see in my video. Just watch it! It’s fun, and ends with me getting a bit drunk and cooking dinner like one of my favourite YouTube vloggers does (except she gets paid to do it. I just get wine on my shirt).
Click here to watch on YouTube.