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Living the Dream: "Globe Squatters" Jolene and Patrick Dames

Jolene and Patrick Dames (a.k.a. The Globe Squatters) spent years working behind-the-scenes on movie sets, where they would joke around and claim that they were “living the dream.” But one day they realized that their actual dream of seeing the world was taking a back seat to their everyday work. They downsized their space, started focusing on their own creative projects, and traveled to Ireland to house sit.

For weeks, they lived in a cottage by the Atlantic Ocean, watching ducks, chickens, and a little dog named James. Jolene and Patrick realized that house sitting allowed them to instantly become locals, and to see the world in a way that most traditional vacations do not afford. Now these two artists/ filmmakers are house sitting their way around the world, with the mission of revolutionizing the way people travel. 

What does “the good life” mean to you?

As artists and filmmakers, for us, the good life is about the art of living and the adventure of being alive. It’s about designing your life the way you imagine it can be, seeing the beauty of the world, making art, and having the freedom to travel.

And how did you come to this vision?

We are both in the filmmaking business, an equally demanding and rewarding industry. At first we were okay with it consuming most of our time because it offered us a way to travel even more when we were between shows, but after a year went by and we hadn’t been anywhere we decided it was time to make a change. We completely downsized into a space a quarter of the size, began focusing on our own creative works, and looked for more economical ways to travel. That is when we found out about house sitting and became The Globe Squatters: Two artists on a little adventure house sitting our way around the world.

What’s the one thing you enjoy most about your lifestyle?

Seeing things we have never seen before and seeing things we have seen before, just a little differently. For example, the house sit in Ireland was in a remote location and it was just minutes away from the Ceide Fields, a Neolithic field system of world importance. Then there were the 33 rainbows we saw (and photographed) over the course of three weeks. It was pretty amazing. We also really enjoy being house sitters because it is a non-conventional way of traveling, you instantly become a local, you aren’t consuming any more than you would if you were at your own home, and you get a sense of purpose by caring for the homeowner's property and pets. It’s really a great exchange.

Is there anything at all about your life these days that you really wish you could change or improve?

We are always looking for new ways to improve our home's efficiency and lessen our carbon footprint. In addition, we have been transitioning out of the film business and becoming more independent artists, which I think has really helped us to be happier and healthier.

Tell us a little about the work that you do. 

We are all about the art of living and being present in daily life, no matter where it takes us. If we are on a movie set or at a house sit, we value our time in each location and try to take the moments as they come. Our work as creative people (filmmakers, painters, photographers, writers) is to revive imagination and reveal the perpetual astonishments in life, whether they are around the world or in our backyard. We enjoy sharing all that we experience through our various creative outlets, especially photography and painting.

Describe some ways in which you are involved in your community.

As artists we enjoy getting involved with non-profits for children to inspire hope through creativity. Interactive murals, painting projects with children, photography for special events, and donating artwork for fundraisers are some of the ways we have been involved with our community. We also design the shirts for our local film crew, and, recently, while filming The Fault in Our Stars, we were able to donate the profits to Children’s Hospital. 

For many, your lifestyle is considered “outside the mainstream.” Does this present any challenges, and, if so, how do you deal with them?

I think one of the main challenges is that people have a difficult time understanding that we really don’t fall under one thing. For example, when we say we are house sitters, we usually have to explain about traveling in this unconventional way, or when we explain that we are artists they usually want to know what kind. The way we deal with them is to explain that we see our life (and everyone’s) as your main work of art. Every choice then becomes a part of your unique artistic footprint, and that is the way you design your life.

Please describe any new skills or hobbies that you’re really excited about or that you would love to learn if you had the time and resources.  

We would love to implement even more energy-efficient items into our space, for instance solar power. We also would really enjoy learning Spanish, and we really want to learn how to fly drones so we can film even more amazing time lapses. I guess this is a loaded question! 

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

Make today amazing. 

Read more interviews in our Living the Dream Series.

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