The mystery was lifted over a popular Merida blogger’s death when her hometown obituary was published.
Rachel Ann Jones, just a month short of her 30th birthday, died from an asthma attack while in Florida, her stunned readers learned.
The traveler, writer, photographer, and creator of the popular travel blog Hippie in Heels, died Saturday, May 4, while in Orlando for a bachelorette party. She was surrounded by her dearest friends, the obituary states.
Jones was settling in Merida with her fiancé after living five years in India.
Her travel blog was enormously popular, reflecting her adventures in more than 40 countries. She took readers along for bungee jumping in the Nile, parasailing over the Alps, sleeping on a park bench in Greece, seeing a white rhino in Kaziranga National Park, chasing down a pickpocket in Barcelona and sitting for audience with the Dalai Lama. With more than a million readers monthly, her website was top-ranked among female travel blogs.
Jones was born June 9, 1989 in Mansfield, Ohio to parents Jeffrey & Carla (Ezsol) Jones. The obituary from the Snyder Funeral Home there said that in the third grade, after reading a “Magic Tree House” book, Rachel prophetically declared that she wanted to travel the world.
She graduated from Lexington High School — “a blur of soccer, studies, and getting into lots of secret trouble on the weekends” in 2007. She went on to graduate with honors from The Ohio State University with a degree in nursing. It was during college that she began adventuring: two summers backpacking in Europe and one month in Uganda.
Following graduation, she moved to Charlotte, N.C., where, after 11 months working in of cardiac care, she decided to travel solo to India for three months.
“Rachel chose the world on the road, living out of her backpack and eating street food,” the obituary says.
She met “the love of her life,” an expat from India named Ben Sullivan, in southern India.
“Rachel will be remembered as a humble adventurer, a loyal friend, and a lover of food, animals and family,” read the obituary. “With a wildflower personality, she never judged her fellow humans; Rachel accepted everyone as they are. She liked everything to be tidy and organized and always wanted to be comfy! Her upcoming August wedding would have been a new adventure—as full of beauty and love as she was.”
Rachel is survived by her fiancé Ben Sullivan of Kent, England; parents Jeff & Carla Jones of Lexington; brother and sister-in-law Travis & Breanne Jones of Delaware; nephew Luke Jones; paternal grandmother Joyce Jones of Ohio; maternal step-grandmother Joyce Ezsol of Tennessee; aunts & uncles Scott & Karen Jones of Hamilton, Paula & Ryan Philbeck of Indiana, Larry & Bev Ezsol of McGonigle, and Gregory Smith of Ohio. She will also be missed by her dear pets adopted from the streets of India: Shanti, Omni, and KitKat.
Funeral services were private. In lieu of flowers, please send contributions to St. Jude Children’s Hospital in care of the Snyder Funeral Home, PO Box 3082, Mansfield, OH 44904.