- How do you know when you've met the one? This is a fairly short question that can attract long-winded answers that often mean nothing as love is a very personal journey for each person.
- For Rachel Horn, it took three days after meeting her partner to know she wanted to build a future with him, even though it meant overhauling her life and moving to another country.
- It also meant changing the way she was accustomed to living and moving into a tent with him. Here's her story.
Two years ago Rachel was struggling with her palliative care job and decided to take a trip to Spain, where she met Frenchman, Florian Roquais. The Frenchman had spent six years travelling, living in a tent and hitchhiking around Europe.
“When I met Florian, I had recently finished university and was working in dementia in the end of life care while I worked out my next step. I loved building relationships with so many interesting people with stories to tell, but I was so devastated each time someone passed away. Seeing people in their final moments made me realise how short life is, and I had been really struggling with the emotional drain of working in care,” Rachel told Metro UK.
“He was so free and happy, showering in rivers every day and waking up to chase new adventures – I was fascinated by his approach to life.”
It took just three days of meeting, and Rachel decided to overhaul her life and quit her job to join him; despite having some doubts about making this drastic decision about her life.
“I thought about how humiliated I’d feel if I left everything for him just to come home two weeks later with my tail between my legs, but I knew that I had to change something drastically. There’s always going to be a million reasons not to go for things, so I tried to trust my intuition,” she adds.
To calm her nerves down, Florian flew to England to meet Rachel’s parents and friends before heading to Scotland. The coronavirus hit, and the couple had to make changes, or they would not be allowed to live together.
“I realised we wouldn’t have the right to live together anymore, and that was unthinkable. He is the love of my life, and I couldn’t bear to be limited to three months together then nine apart,” she says, referring to visa and Covid regulations.
The couple decided to tie the knot last year in November in the Mayor’s Office; Rachel’s parents and friends weren’t able to attend due to the country’s restrictions. “I was missing my family so much after a year apart because of Covid, and it hurt so much not to have them there, but on the day, the sun was shining, and I just felt grateful to be marrying such a wonderful man. It was just us and the witnesses, in the Mayor’s office, then we ate pizza and went for a long walk.”
At the beginning of the adventure, the couple shared a tent before upgrading to a converted van, where they now live. As the pandemic became challenging for them to travel, they settled in the French mountains and spent their days hiking, doing yoga, swimming and reading.
“Now, I live as close to zero waste as possible, and I use plant-based shampoo and laundry detergent that doesn’t pollute the water. I have stopped taking flights, stopped buying clothes etc. Once we take the time to reconnect with nature, it just becomes so much easier to live a simpler life,” she says, pleased with how things turned out.
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