A Day-In-The-Life of House-Sitting in Tokyo (VLOG Ep. 20)

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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.

Housesitting in Tokyo - here's a day in the life of my 2-month house-sitting gig in a suburb of Tokyo! Humour included. #travelstories #housesitting #TheProfessionalHobo #Japan #Tokyo #humour #longtermtravel

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.

And all that is on top of everything I did in my business.

  • I had a little business crisis meltdown.
  • 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.

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10 thoughts on “A Day-In-The-Life of House-Sitting in Tokyo (VLOG Ep. 20)”

  1. Wow, your Tokyo outings are great. We just spent two weeks in Japan as the first stop on our RTW family travel adventure.

    We thought Japan was hot too. But now we’re melting in Vietnam. Looking back, Japan was balmy.

    I wrote to you years ago to compliment your site. After years of orchestrating early retirement we are finally travelling the world with our three kids.

    • Hi Colleen,
      WOW – Congratulations for hitting the road! Japan was one heck of a place to start your RTW travels. What other highlights do you have scheduled? Or are you going wherever the wind blows you?

      • Turns out we spent just over $1,600 Canadian for the five of us.

        We have a rough itinerary laid out but I’m open to change. We’re using quite a bit of geographic arbitrage and some travel hacking.

        Since you asked, our rough plan as it is:

        Japan and a month in Vietnam are both done.

        Two weeks in Cambodia are in progress.

        A month in Thailand up next with a week or so in Laos tucked in there.

        Italy in November followed by a repositioning cruise to South America (ports in Spain, Moroccco, Canary Islands and Brazil).

        We disembark in Buenos Aires and explore Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador.

        We head up to Colombia, Nicaragua and Guatemala. A good month in Mexico. Back to Europe for more of Spain and then Portugal.

        We’re in South Africa in May for an ultimate road trip where we’ll fit in Zambia, Lesothos and Swaziland.

        Up to Greece and then back to Canada for summer 2018.

        Lots of things are booked already to maximize deals, air or hotel points or to secure high demand time like the Lantern Festival in Chiang Mai.

        I’d love to be as flexible as you!

        Short question. Sorry for the long answer. I can’t help myself!

  2. I have to say, you were productive!! Despite losing 3 hours, it’s amazing that you managed to go out for lunch, finish all your work, drink, make dinner, and watch OITNB! Slow clap! Good day.

  3. After reading your latest posting, I think you should change your name to The Frugal Traveller, or maybe create a second website with that running theme. I’m amazed how you kept your expenses so low! The tough nut to crack are the air fares… still shocked you managed to find a cheap ride from Florida to Japan via Toronto! I would have thought it would be less expensive via LA.

    Thanks for the tips and info, and the video link to house sitting. It’s something I’m definitely in to trying!

    Cheers from Montreal

    • Hi Frederic,
      I assume you are referring to my annual expense report (https://www.theprofessionalhobo.com/10-countries-20k-what-i-spent-in-2017/), where indeed, I managed to travel through 10 countries for less money than even I thought I’d manage! It helped that the first five months were spent in one place with a low cost of living, followed by two months of free accommodation in Japan (house-sitting)!

      But other years weren’t so cheap. Sometimes, life happens while we’re busy making plans. And for me, financially sustainable travel is not synonymous with budget travel. If you’re making lots of money, then you can spend accordingly. For some people, $20K is a lot for a year of expenses. For others, it’s a pittance. To each his own! 🙂


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