Rob Fox, 37 and Mareike Strahl, 33, fill on a farm in California in 2014. They now lives in a vegan community in the Algarve with their two rescue dogs
In 2014, Rob left the grey skies of the UK to travel around Canada and the US.” I started volunteering on an avocado and olive farm close to San Diego, where they offered food and adaptation in exchange for work ,” he excuses. After a short trip to Death valley, he returned to find a brand-new laborer at the farm.” I was telling everyone about my wanderings and she seemed totally unimpressed ,” he recollects.” I speculated she was a bit spiky at first, but I later detected she is just direct and honest .”
Mareike insists she found Rob’s narrations “very funny” but wanted to know more.” I asked him lots of questions about his excursion. He seemed interesting and I wanted to get to know him .”
It didn’t take long for Rob to be won over.” By the second day I noticed how at home she seemed outdoors, attending for the rescued animals on “the farmers “. She was so free-spirited and only lived in the moment. She was different from everyone else .”
The pair soon became inseparable. Like the rest of the young volunteers, they were living in shared caravans.” We learnt a minuscule area of room at the end of a caravan with a kitchen in it ,” remembrances Mareike.” We questioned everyone if they’d be happy for us to stay there together. Luckily they said yes .”
Rob says things” moved fast” because Mareike was only staying for a week.” After such a great time together, it punched me like a ton of bricks when I watched her leave ,” he says.
At the airport Mareike wrote Rob a word, inviting him to Berlin.” It was a six-page letter about what a great time we’d had ,” she says.” I said that if he was serious about a future, we could go to Berlin together. I knew it was a place we could live and work without him needing to speak German .”
When the letter arrived, Rob didn’t hesitate.” I knew we’d connected, but when I view it written down on paper it abruptly felt right .” He emailed her to say he wanted to build the move, and in December, a few cases days after he returned to the UK, he flew on to Berlin.” I spent the next few weeks getting to know the city and then we went to stay with her family in Hamburg for Christmas .”
Mareike had already procured handiwork as a graphic designer; a few months later Rob got a job as a content director for an interior design website. They wasted the next two years exploring the city, realise friends and seeing the local countryside. But they knew metropoli life was not for them in the long term.” We both desire being outdoors ,” says Mareike.” But the winters are so cold in Germany. We wanted to settle somewhere warmer .”
In March 2017, the couple bought an old-fashioned ambulance to renew.” We drove it to Barcelona and a friend of ours from California helped us to turn it into a campervan ,” says Rob. After several months touring Portugal, they set at an eco-glamping site in the Algarve.” We volunteered there and constructed a vegetable garden-variety. It was meant to be a short stop, but we terminated up remaining for 11 months .” The duo had now been moved their van to a vegan parish, where the government has befriended like-minded people. They both work at a pizza restaurant during the summer, while Mareike also sells fruit and vegetables at a neighbourhood market.
They love nature and have discovered a shared infatuation for rise.” In future I’m hoping to run cycling and climbing tours for tourists ,” says Rob.” It’s what I’m enthusiastic about .” The duo are working hard to build a home for themselves to continue their sustainable lifestyle.” It’s going to be a little yurt ,” says Rob.” We’re making everything by hand .”
Mareike adores her partner’s sense of humour.” He ever shapes me laugh and I know that whatever happens, things will never be bearing .” He adores her glass-half-full attitude.” She’s such a happy, positive person. I would never be living this amazing life without her- but it feels so right .”
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