Family names and ages.
Jen, Sim, Eva (4) and Hugo (1)
Where you live.
In a tent! We’ve been living wild since November 2014.
Please explain your lifestyle and philosophy
We’ve always loved a challenge and it was a mutual passion for running, climbing and adventuring that brought us together. When our kids arrived we found ourselves living separate lives, with me at home and Sim working long hours. Some days he’d leave before they woke up and get home after they’d gone to bed; we knew something had to change. We missed spending quality time together, having adventures and being in wild and beautiful places, so we made the decision to give up our rented house, sell most of our possessions and move into our bell tent for a year. We’ve been spending up to two months at a time in Britain’s National Parks and AONBs. Central to our philosophy is being a really strong family unit, so we make sure our choices and decisions are carefully considered and good for us all. We try to live lightly and compassionately and take care of the world we’re borrowing from our kids
Do you work-from-home or are you a stay at home parent? Please tell us about it.
We are writers and photographers and have co-authored a book, Wild Running (wildrunning.net), which was published in 2014. Before we moved out we did as much of this as we could but never had the time to really establish ourselves as we needed to earn enough money to pay for rent and all the other things that go with living in a house. The past year has given us the opportunity to work hard at setting up our own business and gaining book and article commissions. We are aiming for this to support us fully by the time we move back into more permanent accommodation. For us the simplification of life has been incredibly valuable both in taking off some the pressure to earn and giving us the space to explore and develop our ideas. It’s also impossible not to feel inspired when you’re living in such beautiful surroundings.
How do you make things work?
We try to make everything work for the four of us. We have a motto: all together or not at all, which sums up our approach. We’ve taken the kids to executive meetings in central London, magazine launch parties and talks that we’ve been invited to deliver. It often adds an extra element to consider but so far we haven’t had any disasters!
What inspired your lifestyle?
The joy of spending time together as a family, being outside and having amazing adventures and our love of wild places.
What are your child/ children’s education options?
Eva is 4 so she could have started school this year, however we think she’s receiving an incredible early-years education through our lifestyle. The kids have us both around all of the time and are also very close to our parents and siblings, giving them a strong family network. We also do all of our work as a family so they regularly interact with a wide range of adults and children. We’ll keep reviewing our choices for their education as we go, but right now they are happy, confident and sociable, so we’re very happy with our decision at the moment.
If you work from home what is the best bit of advice you could give other parents who want to work from home?
Use every bit of available time! We work early mornings and late evenings, have business meetings over lunch and reply to emails whilst the kids have a bath. It makes for a busy life but it’s absolutely worth it to spend our days all together.
What is your favourite family activity?
We are all at our happiest when we’re out and about somewhere beautiful, whether that’s wandering through woodland, paddling in the sea, climbing a mountain or sleeping under the stars. Kids don’t need structured play – they’re so good at finding entertainment in the natural world – and we feel so much better outside too.
Three words to describe how you feel about your lifestyle?
A Wild Year!
You can find out more about Jen & Sim Benson and what they do over at wildrunning.net
If you have an awesomely inspiring family story then please share it with us at Parent Tribe! Maybe you are doing something different or interesting whilst bringing your children up like travelling, running a creative business or even living a simple natural lifestyle? Email Hatti now if you would like to share your story!