Woman Quits Job To Live In A Van With Man She'd Only Known For Three Days
Meet the woman who gave up her nine-to-five life, packed her belongings into a van, and went on the road with a man she had only known for three days.
Rachel Horne, 26, from England, met her now-husband Florian Roquais, 26, while on a solo trip in Spain two years ago.
Florian was a seasonal worker, having spent the previous six years hitchhiking around Europe, while Rachel was feeling the effects of a career in dementia and end-of-life care.
The pair quickly hit it off and decided to go on an adventure with one another, with Rachel quitting her job.
After three months of wild camping in Scotland, they bought a Peugeot Boxer for €9,000 (£7,800) and transformed it into home, complete with solar panels and a solar shower.
Looking back, Rachel says desperately needed to make a change.
"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," she said.
"When I went to Spain and met Florian, he had been working a season over there and had spent the last six years travelling.
"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."
When Rachel's parents learned of her plans to quit her job and run off with a stranger, they were sceptical, as were her friends.
She said: "My friends were worried, particularly my male friends. They told me I could be heading off with a murdering psychopath and kept reminding me to call them and get them to pick me up if it turns out Florian was a dangerous man.
"I think it was hard for them to get their head around his way of life, so it made them feel that he must be up to something."
But eventually, people came around to the idea, and last year the couple bought their home on wheels - using Florian's life savings to do so - spending 4,000 (£3,500) on fixing it up.
Rachel said: "He (Florian) started by insulating everything and then he built the kitchen, which has gas hobs and a sink.
"Then he installed the air heater, built lots of storage and created a pull-out double bed that goes back into a sofa by sawing up an old bed frame from a charity shop.
"The electrics run on solar and we have a small toilet and solar shower.
"We only carry 40 litres at a time but it can last us both a week - we use far less power and water on the road than in a house, and we recycled a lot of the building materials."
And in November 2020, they decided to tie the knot in Florian's home country, France.
The couple had planned to make their way to Slovakia, but Covid put a spanner in the works and they have spent the past year in France.
But while her new life might seem strange to some, Rachel has never looked back.
She explained: "I feel much calmer and better about my body now I'm not constantly exposed to advertising telling me to drink weight loss tea, buy clothes or wear more makeup.
"It just feels like such a relief to be me and not feel like my worth is measured by money, looks, or things."
And if you're thinking of making a change, Rachel has some advice: "Don't give up on finding the kind of happiness that you deserve, it might be just around the corner."
Featured Image Credit: Jam Press
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