Who is Mike?



Who is Mike, Generally Speaking

Good day and welcome to Travel Thru My Eyes.  I’m Mike Hopkins; a dreamer with a passion for travel, and a man who was tired of being told when I was hungry and "you're too young to retire".  Already retired from the US Air Force, I knew the part about "too young" was bogus.  So now I had to find a way to keep my dreams alive.

So, what’d I do?  Gave up the air conditioned office with a view and built this blog to share my views of this world we call home.  Now my ‘office’ view is always changing; today it may be home in Florida, but tomorrow it may be someplace else in the Americas, Caribbean, Europe, or some other country.

Traveling has been a major part of my adult life, now I’ll share these experiences in this blog and through print and online publications with words and photos. 

My travels will be a combination of leisure travels and as a house/pet sitter.  As a house sitter, I stay in one location for extended periods of time, thus living like a local, seeing things not normally seen by tourists.  On many of my journeys I travel solo and in doing such, some of my stories may be of familiar places, but have a solo traveler twist.

So it doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a freelance travel writer and photographer to write about some exotic or not-so exotic place or a house/pet sitter to take care of your property and pets while you see the world through you own eyes; you’ve come to the right place.

 
Mike
Travel Thru My Eyes, Let's GO!!!


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   Mike - Then & Now


THEN

After twenty years of service in the US Air Force, which allowed (required) me to travel throughout the US and internationally, I retired in 1996.  I had a goal to beat the “normal” retirement system and travel when and where I wanted.  But as life would have it, I had to forgo my travel plans, and work a few more years.
In 2000, after buying my childhood home I returned to Florida.  It was here I realized I life without travel was passing by, and that was unacceptable.  Traveling is simply a part of my life; a part of who I am.

With my goal of beating the retirement system, I made a career change and worked a few more years as an independent contractor, specializing in logistics.  As such I worked in South America, the Caribbean, and the Middle East before finally beating the system and retiring at the age of 55 in August of 2011.


 

  NOW


Not wanting a ‘real job’ and living on a pension, how can I continue MY travels?  By no means am I rich, so instead of limiting my trips I had to figure out a way to extend them.  That’s when I ran across house/pet sitting, later adding travel writing and photography.

Basically I equate house/pet sitting as watching your neighbors’ house while they’re on vacation.  It can be done either in your home country or internationally; me, I do both. 

I've watched million dollar homes, homes by the ocean or a lake, homes with pools, and with and without pets.  The owners of these homes were people I knew and people I didn’t know until a few days before they left on vacation.  In all of them, my priority was, and still is, to take care of their property and pets as if they were my own.

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Mike, As A House / Pet Sitter

For those not familiar with house/pet sitting, basically a house sitter is there to provide security for your home and personal possessions and care for your pets.  Wikipedia has a more detailed definition of house sitting.

Mainly I see house/pet sitting as an opportunity to meet and help others as well as allowing me to travel and experience life as a local, where ever it may be.  As a house and pet sitter I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many people that I now consider friends.  Some are home owners and others are fellow house sitters; as we continue traveling, we share our experiences through photos, blogs, and emails. 

You may be asking yourself why you need a house/pet sitter.  Please take a few minutes to follow this link “Why Do I Need A House/Pet Sitter”.

A few things you, as a home owner can count on from me are reliability, integrity, responsibility, respect, cleanliness, security, privacy, and communication. I'll immediately notify you of major issues.  In addition to our regular communications via email and telephone calls, simply visit this blog, where I post the routines of daily life.

I’ve sit homes in the middle of town and rural areas where I couldn’t see the neighbors through the forest or down the hill.  Some have been lifelong homes where the owners reared their children and others have been downsized retirement homes.  The locations range from the Caribbean Islands, to Central America, and the Southeast U.S.; some are as close as 5 miles from my own home.

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  Mike, As A Travel Writer and Photographer
  


I'm a guy that explores the paths less traveled, searching for those hidden treasures.  At times they’re found in exotic places; at other times, not-so-exotic places.  I go to places that offer excitement and relaxation.  Slept 5 star resorts, family operated inns, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, and hostels.  Many times, my travels have taken me to places my native language isn't widely spoken.

Sounds of nature and living life as it comes my way are common themes throughout my travels.  Most of the time life is predictable, but on occasion, it throws us a wild pitch involving risks.  I embrace both with open arms, but when the pitch is wild, I step back, evaluate, and go forward with caution.

  
  
 
I’ve hiked jungles of South and Central America to watch monkeys swing in the trees.  Jumped from cliffs into pools at the bottom of waterfalls or the ocean; walked secluded beaches, stopping to sit beside dogs waiting for the return of their surfing owners.  I’ve partied with locals on Caribbean islands, and watched local sporting events, just enjoying the day.



As a writer and photographer, I’m affiliated with American Writers and Artists Inc. (AWAI), and the International Travel Writers and Photographers Alliance (ITWPA).  Through these alliances I have access to current and growing trends and advice from other professionals.


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