A RETIRED Otley couple are about to embark on a year-long adventure around the world - without paying a penny for accommodation.
Bryan and Jeanette Ferneyhough have been combining the benefits of house and pet-sitting with their love of travel for years now.
It was after taking early retirement (Jeanette was a former dental receptionist while Bryan was a police sergeant)in 2012 that the couple spotted a magazine article that was to prove life-changing.
The piece was about how, through a company called TrustedHousesitters, you could apply to stay in people's homes for free in exchange for looking after the resident pet.
As huge animal lovers the Ferneyhoughs jumped at the chance - and have already enjoyed rent and bill-free stays through the scheme in Canada, the USA, New Zealand, Singapore, Australia and Denmark, as well as the UK.
In May, however,they will take the whole experience to the next level when they begin a year-long series of house-sittings while they rent out their own home and travel.
Bryan, 55, said: “When most people retire they take up golf or go on cruises.
"We’re swapping our home life for a nomadic year of house sitting, moving all around the world but doing this authentically by living within real communities and doing so with the company of pets, which we adore.
"It feels way more adventurous than staying where we are and feels like we’re moving forward, seeing the world in a way that often only younger people do, by exploring cultures and meeting new people."
The couple, who have two grown-up children, have planned a route that begins in Hong Kong and then moves to China, Japan and the Philippines, with a house sit booked for Adelaide, in Australia over Christmas.
They will apply for house-sits as they go and let the jobs dictate their exact path.
Fifty three year old Jeannette said: "If I get a little home sick and want to see the grandkids I will pop back to the UK and take a local house-sit near the family for a catch up.
"We do lots of house sitting in Gloucestershire enabling us to do 'nanny and grampy' stuff without imposing on our daughter, Devon.
"Our friends think we’ve gone mad but they love it.
"Our children think this is a great idea, and with our son working in Cambodia we also use house sitting as a way of catching up with him by visiting nearby countries.
"It’s given us a new lease of life - we feel daring and young and ready for new challenges and we look forward to all the new friends we’ll make along the way, two and four legged!"
They rank their time with a Labradoodle in Singapore, over Christmas, and comforting a Bernese mountain dog during an earth tremor in New Zealand's earthquake-stricken South Island among their favourite experiences so far.
TrustedHousesitters operates in 140 countries and works on a trust basis where members build their trust profiles through references, recommendations and police background checks.