A decade ago, she walked from Marseille to Jerusalem. With her dog as a companion.


We met Pascale, our host for a two-month gig in Gers, a region in France stretching from the north to south of the Great Pyrenees Mountains. She asked us to look after her dog, Noisette, and three pygmy goats. With zero goat experience, we said, “No problem.”


Wait, is being open-minded the key to the delights of travel even when you aren’t a pet sitter? 


Pascale’s stories confirmed it. Strangers greeted her during the three-month walk, fed, and lodged her often for free. The culture of hospitality is ingrained in every country on her route through Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel.


She walked the Camino de Santiago de Compostela FIVE times. I wonder what drives this passion for distance walking. We dropped her off at the bus station in Lecture. She had her walking stick, a backpack with the orange rain poncho, and was off for more adventures while we minded her home.


What exactly is being ‘open-minded?’ I believe it’s the ability to be present without judgment.

  • To be an interested witness to the energy of people, places, and events
  • To really see, listen, and resonate inside
  • To feel without reservation


Have you noticed when you take time to listen to people, you hear the most unusual stories?


Pascale introduced us to new friends, a couple not far away who owned a hazelnut farm. Do you know hazelnuts grow on trees? A machine drives through at harvest time and shakes them into nets underneath the branches. Hazelnuts are the base of Nutella. This farming couple had 35000 trees, a major operation. Pascale returned in the middle of our stay, for a couple of days, bringing her 84-year-old-friend, Janine.


I went foraging with the two of them. Whatever falls to the ground is available for friends for free, but you crawl around on the ground to hunt for them. We split up, and each took a box for our treasures.


About halfway through the afternoon, 84-year-old Janine was ahead of us. Did I mention Pascale is competitive? As for me, I have matured into open-minded behaviors, or should I say more careful ones than before. It was very amusing. I just watched without feeling the need to compete.


Could open-mindedness be a function of maturity?


I felt the delight of being a child–joyful. When is the last time you crawled around in the dirt? By the end of the afternoon, we were grubby and tired. We stepped into the studio where Mr. Hazelnut was expelling hazelnut oil after roasting the nuts. I bought a bottle of oil to use, for salad dressing and skincare. LOL. Yep, both. This quality oil is a primary component in skincare products. Oh, the things we learn.


Back home after cleaning up and before dinner, Pascale shared another local tradition – aperitive time. This one was two dried plums soaked in Armagnac, a regional alcohol. Usually, the ‘apero’ is some sausage or nuts in a small dish to hold us over until dinner.


It’s impossible to recount similar stories unless you have enjoyed the delights of slow travel. We’ve been on a cruise, as well as a tour. There’s nothing wrong  however, in exploring the world, I want you to experience the full richness of tiny details that make us both alike and different in every part of the world. You feel this when you live life like the locals.


Pet and House sitting open doors to travel experience you might never have considered. You fly to another country, meet the hosts and pets, move into their home, and they leave. It’s somewhat like an Airbnb that you exchange pet care for instead of money.


Getting assignments you want is a skill you can learn. Just message me to set up a phone call and I will share three options that help you succeed. 


I post confidence-building &

travel know-how to simplify life &

travel 𝗮𝗳𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗱𝗮𝗯𝗹𝘆 using

petsitting strategies and

personal Coaching.


Originally Published on https://www.claimingfreedom.com

SharonAnn Hamilton Lifestyle Guide

I've always loved to read. Stories invited me into adventures but left me hungry for action. Why couldn't I experience adventures for myself? At first I thought lack of MONEY was the problem. Then career came and I thought TIME was the problem. So I set out on a journey to prove that I could live my own adventures regardless of money or time. Now I teach others how.