It will not be uncommon for Richard to spend just a few weeks in Jordan, then pop over to Egypt, then fly to Mexico, Micronesia, the Maldives or Indonesia to immerse divers within the magic of the underwater world.
When it got here to her love life, the divemaster imagined herself assembly a scuba teacher or maybe somebody within the journey sphere with a equally nomadic life-style. In spite of everything, she was laser-focused on her mission to empower ladies within the male-dominated scuba trade.
Certainly, nothing might derail her — not even the pandemic — however Richard was mistaken about one factor. The love of her life wouldn’t be an teacher she met on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat or a resort on Socorro Island. It will be a passionate asparagus farmer from southwestern England.
Off the tracks
It began with a mid-December go to to her hometown of Hastings, on the southern coast of England, for Christmas in 2018.
After dwelling and diving in Mexico for 4 months, Richard was on the town for just a few days and had a schedule stuffed with vacation occasions. One morning, she took the train as much as London for the day to reconnect with pals she had met whereas dwelling in Hong Kong just a few years prior.
“I by no means normally go to London … ever,” recollects Richard. “That was the primary time in like absolute years.”
After a day trip with her pals, Richard needed to return to Hastings, about 90 minutes southeast by train, for a vacation social gathering at 9 p.m.
However when she arrived on the metro station, it was closed for repairs. She rushed to get an Uber to the London Bridge station in central London in hopes of catching the subsequent train however missed it resulting from heavy visitors.
Richard sat on the station for about an hour. By then, her phone battery had died, and she couldn’t replace her pals in Hastings.
“Lastly, I bought on the train, and it’s heading out of London, and I’m so excited to get to the social gathering. However then, a couple of half-hour out, an announcement says the train has to cease as a result of it’s damaged down and everyone has to get off. And I used to be like, come on…”
Her lengthy night of transit woes continued — and she needed to make her manner all the best way again to London and sit on the platform as soon as once more for 90 minutes. This time, she was ready for the final train of the night.
“Since my phone was lifeless, I had no approach to entertain myself on the train,” she recollects. “I simply stated to myself, ‘What would you do when you have been on a train out of the country? You’ll simply discuss to anyone.’”
And that’s when Joel Gostling walked on and sat down.
Love on the rails
Sarah Richard traveled continuous to host dive journeys and occasions earlier than the pandemic.
“When Joel walked onto the train, I used to be identical to… ‘Hello.’”
The pair hit it off immediately, chatting the entire experience to Hastings. He made a powerful first impression — “an actual English boy” who was down-to-earth and straightforward to speak to, says Richard.
“He had his personal asparagus area, which is rare, and actually enjoys simply being exterior. I bought the impression right away that he’s not materialistic,” she recollects, including that he didn’t over-romanticize her nomadic life-style.
“Joel thought all my touring and the locations I’d been is cool, however he additionally thought the life he constructed for himself together with his farm is cool, too — and it’s.”
Gostling grew up in a village known as Dalwood within the southwest England area of Devon, the place his main college had 30 children, and he felt at house on a farm, within the fields or hanging out at an area pub.
After working at a celebrated farmhouse restaurant and cookery college, River Cottage in Devon, Gostling turned considered one of his mother and father’ fields into an asparagus farm in 2015 and bought the hand-picked asparagus to eating places across the area.
Towards the top of the journey, Gostling requested Richard for her quantity, however she had no thought what it was. She had simply swapped out a Mexican SIM card for a UK quantity, and her phone battery was lifeless.
“I genuinely didn’t know my quantity however needed him to have the ability to attain me. So I stated, ‘That is going to sound egotistical, however when you simply Google ‘Sarah Richard’, you’ll be capable to discover me on Instagram and discover my e-mail.’”
Gostling had each intention of contacting her.
“She was fascinating, lovely, mysterious, partaking. I used to be greatly surprised by how nicely we bought on right away, and I knew I couldn’t depart the train with out asking to see her once more,” he recollects.
Richard ultimately made it again to Hastings, solely to fly to Finland the subsequent day to spend Christmas with her brother and his household.
She hoped to listen to from Gostling however didn’t dwell on it. In spite of everything, Richard had a full calendar forward, with plans to fly backwards and forwards between Mexico and the Center East for scuba journeys.
Gostling didn’t hesitate to look Richard up on-line. One e-mail later, their relationship began to take form.
They began retaining in contact long-distance, with Richard making pitstops within the UK between journeys for 2 to a few weeks.
“I used to be fairly targeted on staying on my observe. I used to be like, ‘If you wish to come alongside, come alongside for the experience, however I’m not coming off,’” she says. “My journey schedule was actually intense. And he knew right away that that was my life-style. And that’s type of what it was at all times going to be.”
The dynamic labored nicely for them. They each targeted on what they have been most keen about whereas valuing their time collectively. In 2019, Richard and Gostling moved in collectively, which solely deepened their connection.
“I spotted that having somebody who’s the exact opposite of me is definitely what I needed. So I can nonetheless do my factor and then come again and wish to have one thing completely different to speak about,” says Richard.
“Actually, the one factor that modified was that he was there to select me up on the airport. It was so cute as a result of each single time, he had a special signal with a special phrase on it.”
Gostling didn’t thoughts both, and all of the whereas, he was cooking up a plan to indicate Richard simply how a lot she meant to him. “When you realize, you realize,” he provides.
A shock proposal
On December 15, 2019, precisely one yr after they met on the train, Gostling orchestrated a shock proposal.
Richard’s greatest buddy, Lucy, invited her to go see the “Lion King” musical in London.
“On the identical [route], the identical platform, Joel popped out on the train and bought down on one knee and proposed to me.”
All of the whereas, Gostling says it was totally “nerve-wracking”. It took a number of effort and time to coordinate — “I began planning on October 6, then proposed December 15. It took that lengthy!”
After they bought engaged, Richard continued to journey whereas Gostling targeted on his farm. In early 2020, Richard turned her ambitions to Jordan, the place she hoped to ascertain a Center East arm of Women that Scuba.
The couple moved to Jordan and began establishing their lives there. Gostling deliberate to work remotely, returning to England throughout harvest season. They have been there simply 4 days earlier than the nation went into lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The UK embassy organized flights, and we ended up getting a flight house, but it surely was like £3,000 (about $3,920),” laments Richard.
It additionally meant Richard might not run her diving journeys.
“When journey utterly stopped, most of my revenue was gone as a result of it comes from taking individuals on journeys and occasions. So Joel had no revenue [because he worked in the restaurant industry]. I had no revenue. It was terrible.”
The last word check
With out an residence or revenue, they needed to transfer in with Gostling’s mother and father in Devon.
For Gostling, the transfer house ended up being a blessing in disguise. Chef Andy Tyrell, who Joel had labored with at River Cottage, invited Joel to affix him in establishing a pop-up kitchen.
The pair known as it Goose & Badger, and whereas they needed to navigate lockdowns a number of instances, they established a following for his or her multi-course menus and scrumptious burgers.
Whereas Richard’s nomadic life got here to an abrupt cease, she discovered locations to dive alongside the coast of England and continued to construct her on-line neighborhood.
“It was such an opportunity encounter, and despite the fact that there have been laborious instances, we’re each so safe within the data that we’re with the particular person we’re purported to be with. It simply makes every part so significantly better, even in these laborious instances,” she says.
Gostling couldn’t agree extra. “Even after spending all that point collectively, I nonetheless like her,” he quips. “It was an excellent check, actually — we found we might get via something.”
‘Every thing else is a bonus’
The couple, seen right here in Gostling’s asparagus area, hosted a small out of doors ceremony for 12 individuals and then a bigger celebration in September 2021.
Initially, the couple hoped to have a 200-person marriage ceremony in June 2020 in Gostling’s mother and father’ backyard, however they scrapped that plan because of the pandemic.
As an alternative, that they had a small out of doors ceremony for 12 individuals and postponed a bigger celebration till September 2021. “Mainly, we bought to get married twice and have two events — it turned out so good!” says Richard, who now goes by Sarah Gostling.
After the marriage in September, Richard picked up proper the place she left off and has been flying world wide since. “It’s identical to driving a motorcycle. It feels so pure to be touring once more,” she says.
“It’s additionally been wonderful to observe different individuals getting again into the ocean and realizing that that is what connects our [scuba diving] neighborhood, and it’s simply lovely.”
The couple additionally took a belated honeymoon, spending three weeks in Lapland, Finland, the place Richard’s brother and his household dwell, and Turkey.
The newlyweds stayed in an igloo with a sauna, rode in a sled pulled by reindeer and went snowboarding for the primary time. They traded the snowy landscapes for sunshine and implausible eating in Istanbul, then capped off the honeymoon in magical Cappadocia amongst cone-like rock formations and cave accommodations.
“As an alternative of marriage ceremony presents, we had a honeymoon fund that each one of our family and friends contributed to, so it’s very particular that we bought to go to those locations due to what our family and friends have gifted us,” says Richard.
Wanting again, Richard says she appears like they’re on the “different aspect” of the pandemic. They discovered a home to hire, Gostling’s restaurant is prospering, and Richard’s diving neighborhood is driving a brand new wave of momentum.
To this point this yr, Richard has already hosted two Women that Scuba journeys — the primary in the Galapagos, adopted by one other within the Purple Sea.
“On reflection, it’s solely been three years. However in these three years, we managed to get via a worldwide pandemic, he misplaced his job, I misplaced all my revenue, we needed to transfer again in together with his mother and father in our 30s,” says Richard.
“We’ve been via rather a lot. It simply makes us suppose that each one we want is one another, and that’s it. Every thing else is a bonus.”
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