Rob Fox, 37 and Mareike Strahl, 33, fill 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 accommodation in exchange for work ,” he excuses. After a short trip to Death Valley, he returned to find a new employee at “the farmers “.” I was telling everyone about my advances and she seemed totally unimpressed ,” he remembers.” I believed she was a bit spiky at first, but I later detected she is just direct and honest .”
Mareike holds she found Rob’s fibs “very funny” but wanted to know more.” I asked him lots of questions about his errand. 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 swine on the farm. She was so free-spirited and merely lived in the moment. She was different from everybody else .”
The pair soon became inseparable. Like the rest of the young voluntaries, they were living in shared caravans.” We find a minuscule area of space 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 week.” After such a great time together, it smacked me like one tonne 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 note arrived, Rob didn’t hesitate.” I knew we’d connected, but when I investigate it written down on paper it suddenly felt right .” He emailed her to say he wanted to make the move, and in December, a few days after he returned to the UK, he flew on to Berlin.” I wasted the coming few weeks getting to know the city and then we went to stay with her family in Hamburg for Christmas .”
Mareike had already determined handiwork as a graphic designer; a few months later Rob got a job as a content director for an interior design website. They spent the next two years exploring the city, constructing friends and calling the local countryside. But they knew metropolitan life was not for them in the long term.” We both enjoy 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 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 reconciled at an eco-glamping site in the Algarve.” We volunteered there and improved a vegetable garden-variety. It was meant to be a short stop, but we intention up staying for 11 months .” The duet have since moved their van to a vegan community, where the government has befriended like-minded people. They both is currently working on a pizza restaurant in the summer, while Mareike likewise sells fruit and vegetables at a neighbourhood market.
They love nature and “ve discovered” a shared fervour for climbing.” In future I’m hoping to run cycling and climbing tours for tourists ,” says Rob.” It’s what I’m passionate about .” The duet are working hard to build a home for themselves maintaining their sustainable life.” It’s going to be a little yurt ,” says Rob.” We’re making everything by hand .”
Mareike affections her partner’s sense of humour.” He always stimulates me laugh and I know that whatever happens, things will never be boring .” He adores her glass-half-full attitude.” She’s such a glad, positive being. I would never be living this amazing life without her- but it feels so right .”
* Want to share your story? Tell us a little about you, your partner and how you got together by filling in accordance with the arrangements here .
Read more: www.theguardian.com