+
cat-sitter, house-sitter, australia

Cat-sitting is a job with some major perks.

A woman from Brisbane, Australia, has found a clever way to make her travel dreams come true by doing what she loves—taking care of people’s cats. Madolline Gourley, a 32-year-old writer, estimates she’s saved $28,000 in travel expenses since 2017 by cat- and house-sitting in nearly 50 homes across the U.S. and Australia.

“As a sitter, you house or pet sit for 'free' in exchange for accommodation,” she told Business Insider.

Gourley finds places to stay on house-sitting websites including TrustedHousesitters, MindMyHouse, HouseCarers, Aussie House Sitters, House Sitters America and House Sitters Canada. She documents her travels on a blog, One Cat at a Time.

She believes that she gets the gigs primarily because of her experience with cats.


"If you take out the fact that I'm from Australia, it's not that much different than a friend or a neighbor watching your pet," Gourley told NBC. "Their place is the only form of payment I get."

For Gourley, cat-sitting was a natural fit. “I’ve had cats since I was little and my mum is a big cat fan, too. She’s also had cats all her life,” she told The Animal Rescue Site. “When I found out about the whole house/pet sitting for accommodation thing, I only wanted to do it looking after cats because I’ve only ever cared for cats.”

Her most recent 75-day trip across America was her most adventurous yet. “I’ve looked after 15 cats and nine different homes in seven cities across the country. I started out in Seattle before making my way to Austin, New York City—where I got sits in Chelsea, South Park Slope and Prospect Heights—Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago and Portland,” she wrote on her blog.

The great thing for Gourley is that cats are pretty easy to take care of, only taking up about 30 minutes of her day. The rest of the time she’s free to be a tourist. She gets a lot of great sightseeing and eating recommendations from her customers.

“Traveling by way of house and pet sitting might come with a few extra responsibilities, but on this trip alone, it saved me thousands of dollars on accommodations,” she wrote. “Reserving 15 minutes of my morning and evening for pet care or house maintenance wasn't much to ask when I had the rest of the day to explore each of the cities I visited.”

Even though her accommodations were taken care of through cat-sitting jobs, the trip wasn’t entirely free. Her American vacation cost about $7,200, or around $96 per day. That included the $1300 round-trip airfare from Australia to the U.S.

Gourley didn’t need to budget for her trip because she gets around $9,000 back every year on her Australian tax returns, which she reinvests into her traveling fund.

People have told Gourley she should write a book about her incredible traveling hack but she doesn’t want to ruin the fun.

"A few people have emailed me saying I should compile a book, and that makes me laugh," Gourley said. "I'll still mull on the idea, but I don't want to invest weeks and months and putting something together ... It's been a pretty cool experience, and an opportunity to save a ton of money."

A viral video from a Little League game has people celebrating good sportsmanship.

Youth sports have gotten more intensely competitive, to the point where overeager parents and coaches have to regularly be reminded to take it down a notch. So when humanity takes precedence over team rivalries, it's extra heartwarming.

And considering how many "kids these days" laments we see coming from older generations, it's also heartening to see kids showing excellent character qualities when no one directly asked them to.

A viral video from a Little League baseball game is giving us a nice dose of both—good sportsmanship and basic human kindness from two players from opposing teams.

Keep ReadingShow less
Heroes

'I put my arms around him': Man risks his life saving a stranger during suicide attempt on bridge

"I told him whatever it was, whatever was going on in his life, it was going to be OK."

Rochester, New York.

Suicide is an emotionally fraught and complex topic to discuss. But one overlooked part of the issue that provides some hope is that even though suicidal crises are predominantly caused by chronic issues, they are usually short-lived.

An article in the journal Crisis, cited in a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health news piece, states that the acute period of heightened risk for suicidal behavior is often only hours or minutes long. Around 87% of people deliberated for less than a day. Another article in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that of people taken to the hospital after a suicide attempt, 48% considered the idea for fewer than 10 minutes.

Keep ReadingShow less

Brandon Conway sounds remarkably like Michael Jackson when he sings.

When Michael Jackson died 13 years ago, the pop music world lost a legend. However markedly mysterious and controversial his personal life was, his contributions to music will go down in history as some of the most influential of all time.

Part of what made him such a beloved singer was the uniqueness of his voice. From the time he was a young child singing lead for The Jackson 5, his high-pitched vocals stood out. Hearing him sing live was impressive, his pitch-perfect performances always entertaining.

No one could ever really be compared to MJ, or so we thought. Out of the blue, a guy showed up on TikTok recently with a casual performance that sounds so much like the King of Pop it's blowing people away.

Keep ReadingShow less