The Professional Guest

Voilá!A miracle happened the other day. I sold my home within one week and without listing it, in an economy where I wasn’t sure I’d even get enough to cover my mortgage. I’d seen sales of other comparable homes in my area and although they’d come up some, they were still low compared to before the crash of 2008.

In the past couple years it was becoming evident that I could no longer afford to live in this darling little town home, my very first home purchase, where I raised my son, planted gardens, and lovingly updated. That’s okay. I’ve moved around all of my life. Putting down stakes for too long is always uncomfortable to me, like shoes with too-narrow toes. I grow out of homes like birds grow out of nests. This past year especially, the nest has been stirred up. It was time to flap my wings.

Then this month, it happened. The numbers didn’t lie. Time to call my realtor. Only I never got that far. The day I decided to call, I received a call from the woman who sold this very home to me fourteen years before. Out of the blue, she rang me just to say hi and ask how I was doing. I told her about the house and she felt bad for me but understood. That night, she sent me an email saying, “Don’t talk to anyone! I’m talking to my husband about the house! We’re interested in buying it back!”

Two days later, she and her husband came over, looked at the house, loved it and made me an offer for more than I owe on my mortgage. Within three days they were at the lenders getting the ball rolling for a loan. That’s a God thing. Even they thought so.

Naturally the next question everyone is asking is, “Where are you going?”

“I have no idea,” is my mystified response. I’m supposed to sell this house and move somewhere but where? My thoughts have been scampering wildly. What about a tropical island in the South Pacific or a gorgeous three-story gabled home in Winter Harbor, Maine? Or a writer’s loft high on a bluff overlooking a river? I feel young again, unfettered, free—well, after I go live somewhere dirt cheap and work feverishly to pay off all my debts for awhile—free.

I’m selling most of my furniture and donating or tossing everything else. Just keeping a few mementos, photos, and family heirlooms. If I ever have another home to decorate, I’ll start over with a clean slate. That’s the fun of it. It’s the thrill of the hunt I miss, prowling through occasional shops, garage sales, consignment stores and bringing home things from my travels. I had recently redecorated my living room and when it was all done, I sat around glumly all winter long because I didn’t need anything. This was a sad state of affairs for me!

I’m a professional guest. Maybe I could figure a way to make a living doing that? I enjoy traveling, going to visit friends and family, staying just long enough to enjoy some good meals, conversation, local architecture, gardens, museums and shops. I love to encourage people, laugh with them, listen to their joys and heartaches, support them if needed.

My niece suggested I drum up business cards and list all my qualifications: Professional Guest, Travel Companion, Gift Buyer, Concierge, House Sitter, Pet Walker, Social Gadabout… I’m sure there are more. I’m comfortable in luxury homes and rustic campers. I can live lavishly or simply. Everything and everywhere is an experience to be savored and enjoyed. But I don’t do basements. Cannot live in the dark with stale, unmoving air.

I’ve got it all figured out. Here’s how it works. You fly me out to your home or hotel or vacation rental. I arrive with a couple options of clothing and lots of enthusiasm and off we go. No one likes to go sight-seeing alone. Who to call? Voilá. C’est moi!

Or perhaps you have a home somewhere with a pet you adore but your business requires that you travel? You need a Professional Guest to come stay in your home, manage your affairs, feed and love the dog (or monkey or parrot. I don’t do snakes…). I’ll water the plants, and keep the place looking “occupied” until you return. I can do my graphic design from your location and stay as long as needed. It’s all settled!

Wanted: Professional Guest. Must be adaptable, clean, socially and culturally aware, trustworthy, confidential, mindful, polite, resourceful, fearless, have a good sense of humor and be fairly laid back. Possibly well read.

That’s me! Business cards and website are in the works. I can provide references.


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