Rachel Jones

June 09, 1989 ‒ May 04, 2019

Lexington, Ohio

With a fearless spirit and radiant smile Rachel Jones’ pursuit of love and adventure brought joy to her friends, family, and readers around the world.

Rachel Ann Jones, age 29, traveler, writer, photographer, and creator of the popular travel blog Hippie in Heels, tragically passed away Saturday, May 4, 2019 following an apparent asthma attack while in Orlando, FL for her bachelorette party surrounded by her dearest friends.

She was born June 9, 1989 in Mansfield to parents Jeffrey & Carla (Ezsol) Jones and in 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, class of 2007, and was lucky enough to have the same friends since preschool. In her own words, “high school was a blur of soccer, studies, and getting into lots of secret trouble on the weekends.” 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 her senior year.

Following graduation, she moved to Charlotte, NC where, after eleven months of cardiac care, she was ready for retirement. She set off for India for a 3-month solo trip. Rachel chose the world on the road, living out of her backpack and eating street food. She met the love of her life, Ben Sullivan, in southern India. She went back to the states and tried out Seattle as a travel nurse for 3 months but couldn’t sit still and went back to Goa, India where she lived for 5 years before moving with Ben to Mérida, Mexico last year.

Rachel traveled to more than 40 countries with countless highlights including: 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 Romanian pickpocket in Barcelona, and sitting for audience with the Dalai Lama. Using her travels as a backdrop, Rachel created a very successful business. Inspiring more than a million readers each month, her website Hippie in Heels is top-ranked for female travel blogs worldwide.

Rachel will be remembered as a humble adventurer, a loyal friend, and a lover of food, animals, and family. 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 Hamilton; maternal step-grandmother Joyce Ezsol of Lebanon, TN; aunts & uncles Scott & Karen Jones of Hamilton, Paula & Ryan Philbeck of Liberty, IN, Larry & Bev Ezsol of McGonigle, and Gregory Smith of Eaton; numerous cousins, extended family members, close lifelong friends, and blog followers; along with her dear pets adopted from the streets of India: Shanti, Omni, and KitKat.

She was preceded in death by paternal grandfather Donald Jones; maternal grandparents Clifford Ezsol and Patricia Ezsol McKinney; and an uncle Melvin Ezsol; along with dogs Piso, Brandi, and Huckleberry Finn.

Although no public service will be held in Rachel’s memory, her family hopes that you will remember her in your own special way. A private memorial service will be held at the Lexington Avenue Snyder Funeral Home. Contributions to St. Jude Children’s Hospital may be sent to the funeral home (PO Box 3082, Mansfield OH 44904).

Snyder Funeral Homes is honored to serve Rachel’s family. Visit SnyderFuneralHomes.com to post memories of Rachel or leave a message for her family and watch her tribute video.

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  • I do not even know any of you but reading this moved me so much I had to write. What a beautiful soul. So sorry she left so soon. Happy she had all of the experiences she had. More than most in a long lifetime. Deepest sympathy to her fiancé, cannot imagine. Prayers are lifted for this gorgeous lady. She created many happy memories to remember her by with a smile. God must have needed her special talents.

  • You all are in our thoughts and prayers. May God hold you close and give you comfort. We remember Rachel as a beautiful soul, who as a child attended Bible School at Steam Corners United Methodist Church. We remember as shy child but eager to learn about Jesus and his love. I’m sure she is one of heaven tour guides welcome each one with her special smile and love! Our hearts ache for you her dear family and friends.
    Dave and Brenda Thompson family

  • Rest in paradise Rachel. What a huge, incredible, inspiring life you lived. You gave us a road map through India and the world, empowered thousands of us to go on our own journey by sharing everything you learned on yours. You spread huge joy and light wherever you went. We will miss you and promise to live a little bit more fully just for you. Life is indeed short, so we all have to remember to live it our own way and help each other as we go <3 From all of us at Girl Gone International

  • Hello. I am a colleague of Ben’s. I feel as though I know Rachel as Ben would always speak of her on our business trips – and Ben spoke of Rachel with deep love and wide pride. All of us at “work” — as Ben’s colleagues — send our love and prayers and we will be there for Ben. As for Rachel – our love for her deepens – and our hope is — we can try even a little, to spread the same joy and zest for life that she spread all over her worldwide travels, and she did that so gracefully and effortlessly. We will miss her. Our deepest feelings of sharing this loss with Rachel’s family.

  • My heart breaks for everybody. I was lucky enough to meet Rachel in Uganda. I found a kindred spirit. We immediately started making plans for river cruises, bungee jumping and white water rafting. She left the earth a better place and she will always remind people to live life to the fullest.

  • My heart breaks for Ben and Rachel’s family. While I did not knownRachel personally, I read her blog and FB posts for travel inspiration and tips and for her amazing recommendations on the cutest clothes and accessories. Her positive outlook on life and Travel was contagious. Her beautiful personality will be missed by the many lives she touched, but her spirit will live on in the hearts of all who love adventure.

  • Rachel, I cannot portray how painful it is to no longer have you with us. You inspired countless of us to follow our passion for travel and defied the normal to become an extraordinary woman who had extraordinary experiences. You will be missed so, so much. Thank you for paving the way for us, especially us women, to see the world and to learn more about this beautiful earth and its various cultures. May we all travel holding you in our hearts and our minds, and honor you with our travels – and hopefully someday see you again. Until then, with love and prayers to your friends, family and pups – Sarah.

  • My heart aches for Rachel, Ben and her family. I saw Rachel in December in NYC and she was everything described above. She will be missed but not forgotten. RIP

  • Rachel – I’ve always followed your blog. I don’t know you personally but this news has really shaken me. I can’t imagine what your family and friends are going through. You had so much to live for. Rest in Peace.

  • Thank you for making me believe the traveling life is a possibility . Rest in peace . You will be missed.

  • I met and worked with Rachel for a short time in Charlotte. She was such a loving spirit. Can’t believe she is gone. My heart goes out to family and friends. May her spirit live on forever.

  • Thanks for all the hints and tips for our upcoming trip to India.You have helped so many your legacy will live on.Rip Rachel.

  • Rachel shone through her blog and posts about India, her travels, family, Ben, her pets and her love of all things beautiful. As a not so young traveller,she inspired me to live more courageously and follow my dreams.
    My deepest condolences to all her family, Ben and all who loved her so deeply. May she fly free forever.

  • I was lucky enough to meet and travel with Rachel for a bit in India, my first solo trip. I fully attribute her as giving me the confidence the continue solo trips around the world as a female traveler. I am so grateful I was able to work with her over the years following–she was truly passionate about her blog, and her go-getter attitude was infectious. Truly a ray of light. Lots of love to Ben and her family.

  • I never met Rachel, but we spoke a few times online and she was always so kind and helpful (to a complete random stranger). This breaks my heart. Sending lots of love.

  • Dearest Carla & family,
    My heart breaks for you!!! What a beautiful girl Rachel was. Sending prayers, hugs & all my love!!

  • what a loss for the world. sending deepest sympathies to rachel’s loved ones. I loved keeping up with her adventures online, and although I was an internet stranger, she was always so friendly and helpful when we chatted online. I’m certain she was an inspiration to many and the world is certainly a darker place now.

  • I feel so very fortunate that you came by to say hi in Goa a few months ago. It’s so very hard to believe that someone so young, beautiful and with the universe at her feet, can be taken so early in life. Looking at those pictures, you wasted no time love and did so much in your 29 years. With love to all Rachel’s friends & family, my deepest condolences, your friends in Goa will miss you so much. With love, Sean.

  • Carla and Family,
    I am so heartbroken for you all. I enjoyed meeting Rachel when she was home visiting, and she was a ray of sunshine.

  • Deepest condolences to Rachel’s family. This tragic news is as much a shock for many of us Indians as for the American travel community. Rachel pioneered a unique trend of globalisation for Indian travellers. Personally, I extensively referred to her travel posts while writing a book set in Manali. May she rest in peace and her life inspire millions.

  • Rachel was gorgeous. Blessed with perfect good looks but so inspiring and loving and decent. I read her posts which helped me get around India last month. Specifically getting my Visa. Her love of life taught me to go for adventures fearlessly. But she did everything with style and grace. You Left us too soon. Angel of humanity and nature.

  • Rachel was an amazing person with a great vision for life, and it was our pleasure to work with her. She’ll be missed by all of the team at Perfomance Foundry, and we send our love and condolonces to Ben, and the rest and Rachel’s family.

  • Dearest Rachel. I met you in Thailand at my first ever blogging conference. Everything people had spoken of you was true: you are a beautiful, strong, inspirational woman full of sunshine. Keep those rays shining down on us from above. Much love to you and your family. Love Alice.

  • I am very touch and shock by her passing, since 2015 I been following the blog, I have no words of comfort for her fiancé and family.
    I just need to tell my deepest condolence to her family, friends and Ben ..she will be missed..RIP

  • You inspired me to write about my experiences in India. We shared the same birthday. You reminded me of you. Your blog inspired me to get out of the rut I was in and change my life. You had more impact on me that you probably even realise. I’m so sorry . The body may die, but I know the soul lives on.

  • So sorry to lose you. Really enjoyed your blogs. Your love for India and travel in general was so contagious. A beautiful life snatched too soon. My condolences to your family and Ben.

  • You will be so missed, Rachel. Thank you for always having a smile on and throwing your heart out, open wide, to the world. You are an inspiration for others to follow their hearts. It was an honor knowing you as a roommate for a short time in college and I will never forget our good times. Praying for Ben and Rachel’s family, I am so deeply sorry for your loss.

  • Deepest sympathy to her family and blogging friends.

    The world has lost a woman of inspiration.
    The children of Richland County,Ohio would do well to study the all too short, yet inspirational life of Rachel Jones.

  • I m so sorry for your loss. She was blessed to live life her way , to experience so much in such a short time and to live life to the fullest. Rachel touched so many people in her life and all over the world. I know that this is a very hard and difficult time for her family and friends, know you are in our thoughts and prayers. You have so many beautiful memories, may they help you in someway thru this time.

  • I’m so devastated by this news.
    I first got to know Rachel through her blog when I used it to travel to India and then she even inspired me to end up moving to Merida myself. We met a handful of times, the most recent not too long before she left for Florida. We had a lovely afternoon together at the mall eating mall Chinese food, then having a relax at her house where I got to meet her lovely pets where Shanti wouldn’t let me stop petting her and Omni kept trying to lick my toes. I had been so looking forward to seeing her again and I can’t believe it.
    She truly was an inspiration. She’s gone too soon but she lived her short life to the absolute fullest.

  • Carla and Jeff since I knew her wonderful parents but didn’t know her, I read Rachel’s blogs and looked at Instagram pictures and just watched the video which was such a beautiful tribute to your daughter. Not many people get to touch so many lives in such a positive way as Rachel did. I feel better for knowing her this little bit. Much love, Kay Thompson

  • Carla and Jeff I am so saddened at the loss of our beautiful Rachel I will miss the times when we would go shopping with Carla and be as funny as we wanted to ben I am so sorry for your loss I could see from the look in her eyes how much she loved you my heart is so touched by the way she lived life to its fullest and made so many dreams come true love you Rachel so much love aunt Paula

  • I met Rachel last October in St. Augustine, Florida, where we were both visiting as travel writers. I had the pleasure of spending time with Rachel and her mother. This is just heartbreaking and my loving thoughts go out to Rachel’s family. In the brief time I spent with her, I could tell she was one of those people who was “lit from within.” She could have been one of those people others look at with envy and “love to hate.” But she was just a good, down-to-earth person who happened to be beautiful and successful for all the world to see. I could tell she was different and in the very best ways. She was a gift.

  • When I joined Instagram I “met” Rachel and followed “Hippie in Heels”. As a 50 year old single mom I have to say I enjoyed living vicariously through reading her adventures and she brought joy into my little world and made it bigger through her adventures. My heart truly breaks for Ben and her “fur babies” and her family and friends. She lived more in her short life than many. I am so sorry for this great loss.

  • I’m so so sorry for your loss.

    I met Rachel via her blog “Hippie in Heels” and followed her journey as one of the most inspiring expat bloggers in India and Mexico, and her wonderful journey with the joy of her life – Ben and her dog babies.

    As a fellow blogger, I have been inspired by the joy and love she spread to each and every person who read her blog and how she was always willing to share her tips and journeys to anyone who asked.

    I’m shocked at how suddenly she passed away.
    My thoughts are with Ben and her family.

    She was loved by so many people and will be very missed.

  • Rest in peace Rachel. Your life was such a shining light. You shine on through the many lives you’ve inspired. Condolences to your family and fiance.

  • I was one of your fans, and your have inspired so many of my trips and the most important decision I took in my life, travel to see the world. God bless you and your family. You were such a beautiful inspiration for the world.

  • So sorry for your loss, Ben and Rachels family. We lost our son which was also 29 just 6 months ago, life will never be the same but all the memories she has made and her life will forever live on . we see them every day. God Bless

  • I had the pleasure of meeting Rachel, Ben , KitKat Omni and Shanti in Merida . First as a pet sitter for them and also a fun friendship. It has been a total shock to think of Rachel being gone. She was a bright light here in Merida . A strong fun loving woman that was kind to everyone . My heart breaks for Ben and family and I hope they all find peace within themselves ! Rachel’s travel lessons and zest for life will live on in her blog and all those she touched . Be at peace !! ❤️

  • Carla Jeff Ben and all of Rachael’s loving family, take comfort in the thought of grandpa cliff and grandma pat. Taking good care of racheal. My thought is with her love of travel and showing people the high lights of life, Rachel is probably taking charge . And showing all the highlights of a new beginning. Love to you all Joyce Ezsol

  • May Your Beautiful Soul Rest In Peace Beautiful Lady. Your legacy will forever remain in our hearts. In my thoughts and prayers and your beloved family.xx

  • I did not know Rachel , but was so moved by her story- I learned of her death via the travel blogging community. I am a travel blogger and feel like i know her, even though we never met.

    Praying peace and strength for her family, what a terrible tragedy and loss. I have asthma so hearing this really scares me.

    Rachel’s family: I am so so sorry for your loss

    Valerie Hansen
    Maple Leopard

  • Dear Rachel, may your soul rest in peace. Though I do not know you personally, I have often thought the same thoughts you did while travelling and living in South India. Your thoughts will live with us through your words.
    Thank you for being you.
    B. Thomas, Kochi

  • I am shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news of Rachel’s passing. I am so deeply sorry. She was such help to my husband and I on our trip to Goa. Please know, her and her family remain in my thoughts and prayers during this most difficult time.

  • I didn’t know Rachel but read her blog from time to time, living in India myself. I found the theme of my own blog (westernmamainindia.com) thanks to her post on blogging!

    This is really shocking news.

    Lots of love to all the family and fiancé.