When a nomadic family acquires…

It’s been less than a week, and it’s all I can think about.

A pet.

I’ve never had my own pet before. The last time I lived with an animal, I was 17 years old, half a lifetime ago.

I always assumed I’d have a dog one day…well, Jacob and I are almost to 10 years of marriage and it hasn’t been possible. When Ryder turned five, I decided I’d get him a pet. I chose a guinea pig due to his size. I’m not sure we’re actually allowed pets. But, as I’m learning, guinea pigs are actually quite neat little animals. Their poop comes out in perfectly packaged plastic pellets.

Instead of doing my readings, I’m on my hands and knees chasing him around from behind the furniture, or tempting him with new vegetables, or cuddling him on my lap and reading about how to take care of them. It’s just like having a baby!


Guinea pigs can’t fly on airplanes. This means we’ll probably have to leave him with a friend in a year or two, because I don’t intend to stay in South Africa forever. I’m already trying to imagine how to carry him across country lines. Ryder, unprompted, also thought like me; he asked me to smuggle him through security and hide him on the airplane.

He’s so cuddly and cute and pathetic—he’s frightened of everything. Ryder named him Sweetie Pie and Cutie Pie. He gets called both.

I am a bit allergic to him, I think. I wasn’t expecting that; perhaps I’m allergic to everything with fur. Stinks when you love animals like I do. I bought gloves to handle him.

Ryder likes to introduce him to his favorite songs and movies on the ipad. He rushes straight to him when he gets home from school. The guinea pig, meanwhile, shoots like a rocket into a corner and cowers inside the yogurt cup tunnel we made him.IMG_20170924_091837

Jacob also adores the guinea pig. We’ve gone pet crazy over here.IMG_0411IMG_0414

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 377 awesome articles for us.

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