A closed tube station and broken-down prepare introduced this unlikely couple collectively



(CNN) — For 33-year-old Sarah Richard, life has lengthy revolved round scuba diving. Because the founding father of Ladies that Scuba, billed because the world’s largest scuba group for ladies, she traveled nonstop to host dive journeys and occasions earlier than the pandemic.

It could not be uncommon for Richard to spend a number of 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 way of life. In spite of everything, she was laser-focused on her mission to empower ladies within the male-dominated scuba business.

Certainly, nothing might derail her — not even the pandemic — however Richard was improper about one factor. The love of her life would not be an teacher she met on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat or a resort on Socorro Island. It could 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 a number of days and had a schedule stuffed with vacation occasions. One morning, she took the prepare as much as London for the day to reconnect with mates she had met whereas dwelling in Hong Kong a number of 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 along with her mates, Richard needed to return to Hastings, about 90 minutes southeast by prepare, for a vacation celebration 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 following prepare however missed it because of heavy visitors.

Richard sat on the station for about an hour. By then, her cellphone battery had died, and she or he couldn’t replace her mates in Hastings.

“Lastly, I obtained on the prepare, and it is heading out of London, and I am so excited to get to the celebration. However then, a few half-hour out, an announcement says the prepare has to cease as a result of it is damaged down and all people has to get off. And I used to be like, come on…”

Her lengthy night of transit woes continued — and she or he 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 prepare of the night.

“Since my cellphone was useless, I had no strategy to entertain myself on the prepare,” she recollects. “I simply mentioned to myself, ‘What would you do when you have been on a prepare in a foreign country? You’d simply speak to anyone.'”

And that is when Joel Gostling walked on and sat down.

Love on the rails

Sarah Richard traveled non-stop to host dive trips and events before the pandemic.

Sarah Richard traveled continuous to host dive journeys and occasions earlier than the pandemic.

Sarah Gostling

“When Joel walked onto the prepare, I used to be identical to… ‘Hello.'”

The pair hit it off immediately, chatting the entire trip to Hastings. He made a robust first impression — “an actual English boy” who was down-to-earth and simple to speak to, says Richard.

“He had his personal asparagus area, which is rare, and actually enjoys simply being exterior. I obtained the impression right away that he’s not materialistic,” she recollects, including that he did not over-romanticize her nomadic way of life.

“Joel thought all my touring and the locations I would been is cool, however he additionally thought the life he constructed for himself along with his farm is cool, too — and it’s.”

Gostling grew up in a village referred to as Dalwood within the southwest England area of Devon, the place his main faculty had 30 children, and he felt at residence on a farm, within the fields or hanging out at an area pub.

After working at a celebrated farmhouse restaurant and cookery faculty, River Cottage in Devon, Gostling turned one in every of his mother and father’ fields into an asparagus farm in 2015 and offered the hand-picked asparagus to eating places across the area.

Towards the tip of the journey, Gostling requested Richard for her quantity, however she had no concept what it was. She had simply swapped out a Mexican SIM card for a UK quantity, and her cellphone battery was useless.

“I genuinely did not know my quantity however wished him to have the ability to attain me. So I mentioned, ‘That is going to sound egotistical, however when you simply Google ‘Sarah Richard’, you’ll discover me on Instagram and discover my e mail.'”

Gostling had each intention of contacting her.

“She was attention-grabbing, lovely, mysterious, participating. I used to be shocked by how nicely we obtained on right away, and I knew I could not depart the prepare with out asking to see her once more,” he recollects.

Richard finally made it again to Hastings, solely to fly to Finland the following day to spend Christmas along with her brother and his household.

She hoped to listen to from Gostling however did not dwell on it. In spite of everything, Richard had a full calendar forward, with plans to fly forwards and backwards between Mexico and the Center East for scuba journeys.

Lengthy-distance romance

Gostling did not hesitate to look Richard up on-line. One e mail later, their relationship began to take form.

They began holding in contact long-distance, with Richard making pitstops within the UK between journeys for 2 to 3 weeks.

“I used to be fairly centered on staying on my monitor. I used to be like, ‘If you wish to come alongside, come alongside for the trip, however I am not coming off,'” she says. “My journey schedule was actually intense. And he knew right away that that was my way of life. And that is sort of what it was all the time going to be.”

The dynamic labored nicely for them. They each centered on what they have been most captivated with 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 wished. So I can nonetheless do my factor after which come again and prefer to have one thing totally different to speak about,” says Richard.

“Actually, the one factor that modified was that he was there to choose 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 did not thoughts both, and all of the whereas, he was cooking up a plan to point out 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 12 months after they met on the prepare, Gostling orchestrated a shock proposal.

Richard’s greatest good friend, Lucy, invited her to go see the “Lion King” musical in London.

“On the identical [route], the identical platform, Joel popped out on the prepare and obtained down on one knee and proposed to me.”

All of the whereas, Gostling says it was completely “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 obtained engaged, Richard continued to journey whereas Gostling centered on his farm. In early 2020, Richard turned her ambitions to Jordan, the place she hoped to ascertain a Center East arm of Ladies that Scuba.

The couple moved to Jordan and began organising 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 as a result of Covid-19 pandemic.

“The UK embassy organized flights, and we ended up getting a flight residence, but it surely was like £3,000 (about $3,920),” laments Richard.

It additionally meant Richard might now not run her diving journeys.

“When journey fully stopped, most of my revenue was gone as a result of it comes from taking folks on journeys and occasions. So Joel had no revenue [because he worked in the restaurant industry]. I had no revenue. It was terrible.”

The final word take a look at

Teaming up with chef Andy Tyrell, Joel Gostling opened Soulshine in May 2021.

Teaming up with chef Andy Tyrell, Joel Gostling opened Soulshine in Might 2021.

Rob Coombe

With out an condo or revenue, they needed to transfer in with Gostling’s mother and father in Devon.

For Gostling, the transfer residence ended up being a blessing in disguise. Chef Andy Tyrell, who Joel had labored with at River Cottage, invited Joel to affix him in organising a pop-up kitchen.

The pair referred to as it Goose & Badger, and whereas they needed to navigate lockdowns a number of occasions, they established a following for his or her multi-course menus and scrumptious burgers.

The pop-up was so profitable that in Might 2021 Gostling and Tyrell opened a restaurant in Bridport referred to as Soulshine, specializing in seasonal, farm-fresh dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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 group.

“It was such an opportunity encounter, and regardless that there have been laborious occasions, we’re each so safe within the information that we’re with the particular person we’re imagined to be with. It simply makes the whole lot so a lot better, even in these laborious occasions,” she says.

Gostling could not agree extra. “Even after spending all that point collectively, I nonetheless like her,” he quips. “It was a very good take a look at, actually — we found we might get by something.”

‘Every part else is a bonus’

The couple, seen here in Gostling's asparagus field, hosted a small outdoor ceremony for 12 people and then a larger celebration in September 2021.

The couple, seen right here in Gostling’s asparagus area, hosted a small out of doors ceremony for 12 folks after which a bigger celebration in September 2021.

Rob Coombe

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 as a result of pandemic.

As an alternative, they’d a small out of doors ceremony for 12 folks and postponed a bigger celebration till September 2021. “Principally, we obtained 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 all over the world since. “It is identical to using a motorcycle. It feels so pure to be touring once more,” she says.

“It is also been superb to observe different folks getting again into the ocean and realizing that that is what connects our [scuba diving] group, and it is 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 lodges.

“As an alternative of marriage ceremony items, we had a honeymoon fund that every one of our family and friends contributed to, so it is very particular that we obtained to go to those locations due to what our family and friends have gifted us,” says Richard.

Wanting again, Richard says she looks like they’re on the “different facet” of the pandemic. They discovered a home to hire, Gostling’s restaurant is flourishing, and Richard’s diving group is using a brand new wave of momentum.

To this point this 12 months, Richard has already hosted two Ladies that Scuba journeys — the primary in ​​the Galapagos, adopted by one other within the Purple Sea.

“On reflection, it is solely been three years. However in these three years, we managed to get by a world pandemic, he misplaced his job, I misplaced all my revenue, we needed to transfer again in along with his mother and father in our 30s,” says Richard.

“We have been by lots. It simply makes us suppose that every one we want is one another, and that is it. Every part else is a bonus.”

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