We are a couple of digital nomads. “Nomads” because we have no permanent base: instead of having a mortgage and living in the same place all the time, we have chosen to travel and see more of the world whilst we’re still young (cough, cough) and healthy. “Digital” because we work online, meaning all we need is our laptops and an internet connection to make a living.
Maria was born in Spain (if you need a Spanish speaking house sitter, you found one!), but has lived in English speaking countries for the last 20 years, so is perfectly bilingual (albeit with her own unique accent which often makes people wonder where she is really from). She also speaks a little German.
She is a website developer and the techie person behind this site. She promotes her services via www.ignitewebsites.net (WordPress websites) and www.freediywebsites.com (website builder). She also dabbles in photography and you will rarely find her without her camera. A real animal lover, she’s had a variety of pets over the years and now particularly enjoys observing and photographing wildlife.
People say she’s quite a chatterbox (true to her Spanish roots), but that she’s also a good listener with a big heart. She often gifts her technical skills to charities, and is always happy to do some “hands on” volunteering for worthy causes when the opportunity arises (from tree planting and beach cleaning to animal rescue).
She also co-admins the very popular House Sitting World Facebook group, a community of more than 4,000 (and growing daily!) sitters and home/pet owners worldwide who share tips and experiences on house and pet sitting, as well as offering support and advice to one another.
Mark is a true technophile and loves anything to do with gadgets, electronics and technology. He is a software developer for a UK company.
He is also an adrenalin junkie and has zero fear of heights. He’s been known to jump off planes, go paragliding, and for his first bungee jump, he chose the highest one he could find in New Zealand – The “Nevis bungy”, a 134 metre plunge near Queenstown. Now that he’s getting older though, he seems to be finding enjoyment in more sedate activities like cycling and sea kayaking (much to Maria’s relief!)
Everyone thinks he has a cheeky sense of humour (he’s a Brit after all!), and despite his love of crazy pursuits, is a pretty chilled guy.
He is also an animal lover, an avid reader and great conversationalist.
As a Team
We met in the UK in 2002 whilst Maria was living and working in London and Mark in Leeds. 6 months later, Maria quit her job, packed her bags and moved to Leeds to start a new life together.
In 2005, we felt stuck in a rut and unhappy with the daily grind and in what felt like dead-end jobs. A couple of our friends were travelling the world at the time, sending regular emails with amazing pictures and stories, which helped us realise we wanted some of that for ourselves! So we sold the house (and all its contents), 2 cars, a motorbike… you name it! and spent the profits on a 21 month backpacking trip that took us to 16 countries from Argentina to Singapore.
We got married in New Zealand’s South Island during this trip, on top of a snow-covered mountain overlooking Aoraki/Mt Cook (New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3,724 metres). It was the first time we flew in a helicopter and it was so chilly that Maria wore long johns under her dress!
After this epic trip, we emigrated to New Zealand where we lived for the next 6 years, only to do it all again and set off travelling in April 2014! This time we’re doing it at a more sedate pace however, and have chosen house sitting over staying in backpacker hostels (we reckon we’re getting on a bit for that!).