A Manhattan woman has figured out how to traverse the country living virtually rent-free — by working as a pet and house sitter in her dream destinations

Jena Chambers, 42, has a home in the East Village but has been subletting it regularly since 2012 while she lives it up pampering pups and kitties across the US.
“Pet-sitting is what has allowed me to start up a business and live rent-free,” says the bubbly blonde.
“I rent my apartment here, and then I go, and I live for free in inspiring places.”
Before 2012, Chambers says, she worked at a private equity firm but now covers her day-to-day expenses by selling lollipops for adults called Pandora’s Pops.
The rest of her time is spent living in coastal cities, mostly in California, caring for dogs, cats and other pets, even hermit crabs.
“I only like the coasts,” she explains.
“For three summers, I stayed at a house and took care of a rose garden, and it was like living in the garden of Eden,” she says.
“I would go out in the garden naked and prune the roses because no one could see you.”
“Nesting in a house, it has this feeling of a whole new chapter about to begin, like a canvas you’re going to paint on,” Chambers says.
She doesn’t charge for her services, beyond the free housing, even though pet-sitters rake in up to $150 a night.
If she were to accept payment, she explains, “I would feel like I was on the staff of some of these people . . . That’s not my thing.”
Chambers has also had pet-sitting gigs in the Big Apple, giving her a taste of different neighborhoods.
“It’s like playing tourist in your own town,” she says.
But it’s not all sunshine and kittens. One dog went blind while she was walking him, and she was in a house in Northern California when a wildfire came close.
“This is the practice and the reality of being a pet sitter” she says. “You do get involved in intense situations in people’s lives.”
Now she has joined the online listing service Trusted Housesitters with the hope of expanding her horizons.
“I want an apartment in Paris with a cat,” she says, “and the south of France, with a cat or two.”
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