When Rachel Horne went on a solo holiday to Spain, she was desperately unhappy with her life.
She was working in dementia and end of life care – a job she says left her feeling “trapped and helpless”.
But the trip ended up changing her life as she met “love of her life” Florian Roquais – and just three days after meeting him she quit her job and uprooted everything to embraced a nomadic lifestyle.
Rachel and Florian, both 26, now live completely off-grid in the French mountains in an old converted van with solar panels and a solar shower.
She said: “When I met Florian I had recently finished university and was working in dementia and 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.
“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 they met, Florian was a seasonal worker and would often help out on farms in return for food and board.
During his six years travelling, he had been living in a tent and hitchhiking around Europe.
The pair immediately hit it off and just three days after meeting her new beau, Rachel returned back to England, quit her job and embraced a nomadic lifestyle.
The couple spent the next three months living in a tent in Scotland, where wild camping is legal as long as you leave no damage and spend one or two nights in each place.
The couple loved their new lifestyle so much that they decided to live off-grid long-term – but needed to make their surroundings a bit more comfortable.
And so, they bought and converted a Peugeot Boxer for €9,000 (£7,852) and transformed it into a cosy transit van, complete with solar panels and a solar shower.
They now live an isolated life in the French mountains and spend their days hiking, doing yoga, swimming and reading – which Rachel documents on Instagram at @vertlevoyage.
Quitting her job and moving away with a man she had known for just a few days was a big step – one that left Rachel feeling anxious.
She said: “I was worried I was making a mistake.
“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.
“I was desperately unhappy, and I couldn’t see how things could get much worse.
“There’s always going to be a million reasons not to go for things, so I tried to trust my intuition.
“I felt in my gut that Florian was a good man and I knew that I’d regret it if I didn’t at least give this a go.”
Thankfully, her parents were both supportive of her decision and even met Florian before the couple embarked on their tent adventure in Scotland.
Rachel said: “They knew that I was unhappy and they hoped that a different life would suit me.
“They wanted to meet Florian first, so he got a bus over to England to spend a couple of weeks in my family home.
“He soon got the seal of approval and we set off to Scotland.