The path of service seems to be calling.
My mother’s health continues to decline and I want to help her. I’ve offered to move back to the Northern Virginia and help her take care of the house, daily living, yard work, etc. The challenge for me is how to support myself in a very expense area. The challenge for my mother is giving up her independence. We’ve discussed the idea of me living in her house as one possible solution. Then she could stay in the house (and gardens) that she loves and I could help with daily tasks and live affordably.
So far, my mother has not been willing to let me move in with her, and I have not been willing to move across the country to a very expensive area with no clear way to support myself. Thankfully, my brother lives in the area and provides some help, but not as much as she needs or wants given that he has a very busy career and family life.
Meanwhile, the notion of offering various caretaking services feels inspiring to me. I enjoy being of service and doing simple domestic things like cooking, cleaning, organizing, and yard work. I’ve considered starting a business to offer those services, but haven’t taken action so far. This might be the motivation that I need.
This glimmer of new work/ life direction would involve offering my help to people on a gift basis. I could offer cooking, cleaning, organizing, simplifying and general caretaking services, asking for a donation of whatever someone can afford. I’m also considering offering these services to people around the country (or the world) in exchange for room and board as a way to combine travel and service. And I’m open to property caretaking in exchange for room and board. The challenge might be the expense of getting to the locations if I’m not earning any income. Once I’m on site, there would be no money involved, but rather a simple exchange of goods and services.
I like the idea of living in service, focused on giving, rather than making money. The gift economy is a growing model for living and working that aligns with my values. It feels like a good way to offer my time, skills and love to people who might just need a helping hand.
I’m asking for feedback on this idea about whether it has merit, sufficient demand, and provides a valuable service.
Is it reasonable to ask people to pay my travel expenses one-way, plus provide room and board in exchange for providing a variety of caretaking services? Are there enough people who need help and would be willing to pay or provide room and board?
What do you think?