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

Rob Fox, 37 and Mareike Strahl, 33, gather on a farm in California in 2014. They now live in a vegan parish 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 nutrient and accommodation in exchange for work ,” he explains. After a short trip to Death valley, he returned to find a brand-new employee at “the farmers “.” I was telling everyone about my movements and she seemed totally unimpressed ,” he recollects.” I thoughts she was a bit spiky at first, but I later discovered she is just direct and honest .”

Mareike holds she found Rob’s floors “very funny” but wanted to know more.” I asked him lots of questions about his expedition. 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 farmers “. She was so free-spirited and just lived in the moment. She was different from everybody else .”

The pair speedily became inseparable. Like the rest of the young volunteers, they were living in shared caravans.” We determined a tiny area of cavity following the completion of a caravan with a kitchen in it ,” withdraws Mareike.” We asked 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 reached me like a ton 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 letter arrived, Rob didn’t hesitate.” I knew we’d connected, but when I hear it written down on paper it abruptly 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 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 acquired handiwork as a graphic designer; a few months later Rob got a job as a content manager for an interior design website. They expended the next two years exploring the city, preparing friends and inspecting 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-fashioned ambulance to refurbish.” 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 colonized at an eco-glamping site in the Algarve.” We volunteered there and improved a vegetable garden. It was meant to be a short stop, but we terminated up remaining for 11 months .” The duet had now been moved their van to a vegan parish, where the government has befriended like-minded parties. They both is currently working on a pizza eatery in the summer, while Mareike likewise sells fruit and vegetables at a local market.

They love nature and “ve discovered” a shared anger for climbing.” In future I’m hoping to run cycling and climbing tours for tourists ,” says Rob.” It’s what I’m heartfelt about .” The duo are working hard to build a home for themselves continues its sustainable life-style.” It’s going to be a little yurt ,” says Rob.” We’re making everything by hand .”

Mareike passions her partner’s sense of humour.” He always stirs me laugh and I know that whatever happens, things will never be assuming .” He adores her glass-half-full attitude.” She’s such a happy, positive being. 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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