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 meat and adaptation in exchange for work ,” he excuses. After a short trip to Death Valley, he returned to find a brand-new work at the farm.” I was telling everyone about my travels and she seemed totally unimpressed ,” he remembers.” I imagined she was a bit spiky at first, but I later detected she is just direct and honest .”
Mareike holds she found Rob’s stories “very funny” but wanted to know more.” I asked him lots of questions about his trip-up. 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 farm. She was so free-spirited and only lived in the moment. She was different from everybody else .”
The pair quickly became inseparable. Like the rest of the young volunteers, they were living in shared caravans.” We learnt a tiny area of seat at the end of a caravan with a kitchen in it ,” recollections 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 made 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 word arrived, Rob didn’t hesitate.” I knew we’d connected, but when I investigate it written down on paper it unexpectedly felt right .” He emailed her to say he wanted to prepare the move, and in December, a few daylights after he returned to the UK, he flew on to Berlin.” I wasted 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 felt labor 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, reaching friends and visiting the neighbourhood countryside. But they knew city life was not for them in the long term.” We both adoration 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 renovate.” 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 decided at an eco-glamping site in the Algarve.” We volunteered there and improved a vegetable plot. It was meant to be a short stop, but we resolved up abiding for 11 months .” The duet have since moved their van to a vegan community, where they have befriended like-minded parties. They both work at a pizza eatery in the summer, while Mareike too sells fruit and vegetables at a local market.
They love nature and “ve discovered” a shared passion for rise.” In future I’m hoping to run cycling and climbing tours for tourists ,” says Rob.” It’s what I’m passionate about .” The couple are working hard to build a home for themselves continues its sustainable lifestyle.” It’s going to be a little yurt ,” says Rob.” We’re making everything by hand .”
Mareike cherishes her partner’s sense of humour.” He ever makes me laugh and I know that whatever happens, things will never be abiding .” He adores her glass-half-full attitude.” She’s such a joyou, positive party. I would never be living this amazing life without her- but it feels so right .”
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