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How we encounter:’ I asked him to move to Berlin with me after a few weeks’

Rob Fox, 37 and Mareike Strahl, 33, satisfy on a farm in California in 2014. They now live 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 meat and adaptation in exchange for work ,” he shows. After a short trip to Death valley, he returned to find a brand-new worker at the farm.” I was telling everyone about my trips and she seemed totally unimpressed ,” he remembers.” I believed she was a bit spiky at first, but I later discovered she is just direct and honest .”

Mareike insists she found Rob’s narratives “very funny” but wanted to know more.” I asked him lots of questions about his journey. 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, caring for the rescued animals on the farm. She was so free-spirited and exactly lived in the moment. She was different from everybody else .”

The pair instantly became inseparable. Like the rest of the young voluntaries, they were living in shared caravans.” We met a minuscule area of seat at the end of a caravan with a kitchen in it ,” remembers Mareike.” We requested 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 few weeks.” After such a great time together, it hit me like one tonne of bricks when I watched her leave ,” he says.

At the airport Mareike wrote Rob a letter, 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 note arrived, Rob didn’t hesitate.” I knew we’d connected, but when I learn it written down on paper it unexpectedly felt right .” He emailed her to say he wanted to make the move, and in December, a few daylights after he returned to the UK, he flew on to Berlin.” I expended 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 noticed employment 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, constituting friends and seeing the neighbourhood country. But they knew metropoli life was not for them in the long term.” We both passion 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 revamp.” 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 determined at an eco-glamping site in the Algarve.” We volunteered there and built a vegetable garden-variety. It was meant to be a short stop, but we intention up staying for 11 months .” The duo have since moved their van to a vegan community, where the government has befriended like-minded beings. They both work at a pizza restaurant in the summer, while Mareike likewise sells fruit and vegetables at a local market.

They love nature and have discovered a shared joy 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 pair 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 adorations her partner’s sense of humour.” He always sees me laugh and I know that whatever happens, things will never be tolerating .” He adores her glass-half-full attitude.” She’s such a glad, positive person. I would never be living this amazing life without her- but it feels so right .”

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Read more: www.theguardian.com

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