love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
Jake Snow was a seasoned traveler. He’d been all over the world. He knew how to travel smartly and safely. He knew not to just give a bunch of money and his passport to a strange man to get a last minute visa to Vietnam. At least, not if he didn’t want to get his passport stolen. But Jake also wasn’t thinking smartly, safely, or rationally. He was thinking that he’d let the love of his life walk out the door, and he needed to see her again. So, he took the risk.
“I literally was going crazy for love,” he says. “I just thought I had to try it.”
He had only known Marie Fe for a few days, just two travelers crossing paths on an island in Thailand, but he got the sense, as she headed to Vietnam and he to Cambodia, that if he didn’t risk it all to find her again he’d be making the biggest mistake of his life. So, as Marie arrived at her hotel in Vietnam, she looked up to see Jake, standing across the street, holding all his bags, deliriously in love with a woman he barely knew.
It was a leap of faith, one that could have ended up disastrously, but instead, was the start of the biggest adventure Snow or Fe had ever taken. And 19 months later, they continue to leap — together now, holding hands as they jump into the unknown.
After the hotel meetup, the duo spent the next month traveling around Vietnam. When that swing came to an end, they didn’t know how they could stay together. They both had lives, responsibilities. Marie was from Germany and just traveling for a couple more weeks before starting business school in Barcelona. Jake was born in Australia, and was supposed to head back to play football. How could they make it work?
They decided that they’d take a couple months apart. They felt certain they could handle being away from each other for that long.
“We were gonna meet up after his football season so like… what was that five to six weeks?” Marie says.
“Yeah, we kept saying five to eight weeks,” Jake says. “If we could just get through five to eight weeks of being apart, then we would be good.”
After seven days away, Jake couldn’t stand it anymore.
“I told my coach I couldn’t play because I was in love and I had to go see a girl,” he says with a laugh. “He laughed at me. Everybody on my team did. Australian football is a really rough sport and here I was telling my coach I couldn’t play because I had to go and see about a girl.”
Jake burned through his life savings, flying back and forth to Europe to visit Marie. As hard as they tried, they couldn’t seem to continue any part of their lives without being together. It was like they’d been navigating through the dark, and a light bulb had been turned on. They couldn’t imagine, now knowing what it was like to be together, trying to find their way through alone. So they decided not to risk it all once again… for love.
Since then, Jake and Marie have built a life based on their love of each other and adventure. It hasn’t always been easy, and it’s required some pretty significant risks, but, they tell Uproxx, anyone can make the same choices and find the same happiness. Here’s their wisdom for adventurous couples:
Don’t be afraid to reject the conventional.
Jake: On that last time in Indonesia, we sort of said, “okay, let’s just jump”. I was flying to the US to play football in a league there and so Marie …
Marie: I changed all my plans. I went home to Germany, told everyone that I wasn’t moving to Barcelona anymore. I used all my money that I had saved up to then travel with Jake.
Jake: Marie had a master’s degree lined up and she had already paid the deposit. But we weren’t worried ’cause we were so in love and we didn’t really care about anything else. Everyone around us was telling us how crazy we were. I gave up football and my job and Marie quit her job and then gave up university to just travel the world. I think the way we both looked at it was that if this doesn’t work out, it’ll still be the best four or five months we’d ever had.
Marie: Jake had been traveling for four or five years and I had always wanted to do that but, I don’t know. It’s probably a German thing, but we always are all about being safe and having a good CV. Suddenly, I was like why am I doing that masters? I didn’t need it for my job, I just wanted to do something. But when we got together and I had the money to travel, that was the only thing I could think about. It was the best time ever and it still is.
Trust that pursuing passion will lead to opportunities.
Jake: One of the major things that we decided early on was that whatever was going to happen for us, the opportunities that were going to open up, weren’t going to happen if we were in one place.
So we thought, we don’t really know what we’re going to do or where we’re going to go with this but the further we go and the more people we meet, and the more we can learn and experience, the more doors that are going to open up. We were confident that in our path, something would open up for us if we just kept pushing forward and looking forward.
We never thought we’d end up doing Instagram, or having an online shop. I never thought any of that would happen but because we’ve done it together, it’s just a path that opened up that we never would’ve expected.
Find what makes you happy. Even if no one else understands.
Jake: (Going to visit Marie’s family in Germany) was a decent challenge for me because, obviously, they all speak German. Trying to portray my personality and my humor without being able to speak their first language was quite tough.
Marie: The hardest part were the grandparents because …
Jake: …they’re old school. So we talk about Instagram and how we are building a bit of a social media market and we’ve got an online clothing store and they’re just like, “No, no. You need to have a solid job.”
Marie: “What are you doing? You quit your job, and now you’re moving to Australia? Also, your boyfriend has long hair.”
Jake: They were tough to win over, but we have.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Concentrate on the big picture, the beautiful life you’re creating.
Jake: Every time you have a new experience together, you’re creating a history of stories together. Every new country, every new experience is strengthening that bond that we have together.
Traveling is fantastic.
Marie: But it can be stressful as well. You have to deal with missed flights and accommodations that are really, really low budget. No hot showers, no running toilets. Sleeping with 8-10 other people in the room.
Jake: Every trip we lose something valuable. Without a doubt. We’ve just got our whole lives in our backpacks. And when you’re moving from place to place all the time, you’re bound to forget something. When we first got together, we didn’t know how the other would handle it, but the more that we’ve stayed together, the more that we see each other. We see each other’s worst, best, and in-betweens.
Marie: We always say the worst is when we’re have our back packs on, are hungry, and don’t know where to stay.
Jake: That’s when something’s bound to happen. There will be some sort of argument. But I think traveling has just built us such a strong bond. Just being together in the thick of the crazy. In your normal life, you’re always sort of your best self. Or if you’re not your best self, you can get away and recover and then come back and present yourself to that person again, fresh.
In traveling, you can’t get away. You have to deal with it in that moment. You learn everything about a person in a fraction of the time that you would learn about the person in everyday life. After four or five months of knowing Marie, I felt like I’d seen every single part of her. And it just strengthened our bond.
Live simply and make sure you’re adventuring in a way that leaves the world a better place than how you found it.
Jake: Before I met Marie, I’d decided that I wanted to be plant based for the environment’s sake. I learned, when I did my dive master, that some of these animal factories are the biggest pollutants of the ocean. And we love the ocean.
When I met Marie, she asked, “What if I kept eating meat, would we still be together?” And I said, “yeah, yeah, of course we’d be together.” But it just shows Marie’s character that she was willing to learn about and understand something that was very important to me. In the end, it’s become very important to her too. And she’s made that choice.
In terms of our possessions, we decided that our time together was the most valuable thing we had. If we wanted to buy a house or if we wanted to have a car each, we would have to give up the most valuable thing. We would have to both have a different career, which would mean we would have to spend less time together. We weren’t willing to give that up that for those other things. The height of our happiness and joy comes from those times when we’re just together in a really beautiful place just experiencing something amazing.
The minimalist lifestyle is all about simplifying your life. Decluttering everything. Once you’ve decluttered your possessions, it declutters your mind and you can concentrate on what’s really important.
Marie: It was a big change. I was working at a fashion company before and I had so many clothes and so much stuff. But living just with a backpack for 17 months, you have to minimize everything. So I went down to flip flops and sneakers and that was it. That was the first time I understood how sometimes it makes you so much happier to not have many things.
A good way for me to find that out was when we were traveling and living in a van. Last year, we worked here in Australia for three months. So, we bought a van, and did the east coast for seven weeks. That was the first time that I lived in a van. And packing for those seven weeks was very hard because we knew, okay we’re going to need things for cooking, living, toiletries, whatever, but it’s gotta fit in that van.
Jake: It showed us what we need and what we don’t. Gradually, along our journey, we’ve come to the conclusion that the minimalist lifestyle is the best lifestyle for us.
And when you find who and what you love, leap into the unknown.
Jake: Marie is my first girlfriend. My parents were together very young and then got divorced. My dad told me to make sure not to date someone too early just because it felt comfortable. But when it’s right, you’ll know. When you know, you know, he said.
When I met Marie I just, something felt very different. I didn’t know what the feeling was. I didn’t even know what love was at that point, but that was the risk.
So we gave up the material things. Career, university, just things that like, really, when you get down to the nuts and bolts, are not that big of a deal.
Because with Marie now, I can travel the world or live on a beach in a hammock and be happy because I’ve got her. And you know, if I didn’t have her, I would still be wandering around not really sure of what I wanted to do. Now, it doesn’t matter what we do. If we have each other, then something will work out.
Taking that risk, was, by far, the best thing I’ve ever done.
Marie: I think happiness and love always go together. I think being able to find your true love is just the best thing you can do in life. There’s nothing that you should not do to find that person.
Jake: It’s scary to think what we would have missed out on if we didn’t take a risk. So, we’re always telling our followers that if it feels uncomfortable and you’re nervous about it, it generally means that you’re doing something right. Whenever you get that feeling, you just need to go for it.
Because it will all work out, if you believe.
Jake: You’ve got nothing to lose. People are so worried about money and their careers and what other people might think.
But it really just comes down to taking the leap of faith, and then believing in that move. As long as you have confidence in yourself, that that’s what you want to do, no one can take that away from you. If you start doubting yourself, that’s when things start to go wrong.
Take a leap of faith, and then just go for it with all your heart. That’s what we did.