We are Ken Garrett and Theresa Markle. Theresa quit/retired from her job as a psychiatric nurse at San Francisco General Hospital in August 2015. We then sold, donated and loaned out almost everything we owned so we could rent out our fabulous, newly-renovated house in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, California. In October of 2015, we began what we thought would be a year of travel that has turned into a new way of life for us.
I’ve always had trouble deciding what I wanted to be which has resulted in way too many years of education (BA, MS, PhD, RN) and a multitude of jobs; driving an eighteen-wheeler, supporting family members of people with Alzheimers, training volunteers to work with women diagnosed with breast cancer, paving roads, studying sign language use in gorillas, teaching ESL and, finally, working as a nurse in an acute, locked, in-patient psychiatric unit in a busy, public hospital. I need change and challenge in my life. One of the few constants has been travel. I love exploring new places, meeting new people and moving out of my comfort zone. Another constant is my husband Ken. Since we married in 1996, he has been my best friend and travel companion. Any place we are together is home.
Before we began our travels, I couldn’t imagine this life we’ve created. We’d vacationed internationally for years, but I always enjoyed getting back home at the end of the week or two away. Ten years ago, the idea of being in strange new places away from “home” for 4 weeks or more just did not appeal. We all like our stuff, our routines, and the world we are used to. Now our stuff and how we arrange it fits inside a roller bag and day pack. Being able to stay connected with friends and family is huge of course. Now, on the occasions we do get home for a couple weeks, we can’t wait to get back on to our next adventure.
Why “Traveling Homebodies”?
We have never been the kind of travelers that have bucket lists for every location and are intent on being able to say we saw it all. The 5-countries -in-7-days type tours send us running in the opposite direction. We much prefer settling in one place for an extended period of time and getting to know what it feels like to BE there. We nest, but our nest is mobile. Discovering house sitting as part of our adventure has made this even better. Through house sitting, we have the opportunity to live in a community, and usually, get some extra affection from the animals we care for. Whether it’s a house in the suburbs, an apartment in a bustling city or a rural farm, we learn what day-to-day life is like and get a peek at how the people in that community create a shared existence. Yes, we fly across the world only to hunker down in one little neighborhood.