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Family ditches city life to live in wilderness

"I think there's a real draw to being isolated when we want to be."

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A family has ditched the city lights of in favor of a remote, debt free, nature orientated lifestyle. (Jess Taylor via SWNS)

By Jake Meeus-Jones via SWNS

A family-of-six has ditched city life in favor of the wilderness and now live in a 12ft-wide shed, use a compostable toilet and wash and cook outside.

Jess Taylor, 30, and her husband, Lath, 42, and their four children - three, five, seven, and nine - live in the woodland in Tennessee with no gas or running water, instead using a well.

The couple decided to quit their jobs working in a restaurant and escape the "hustle and bustle of city life" - moving eight hours away from Bentonville, Arkansas to the countryside to "connect with nature."

They opted for a tiny shed costing $350 to ensure they were debt-free without a mortgage - after spotting a roadside ad for the property.

A family has ditched the city lights of in favor of a remote, debt free, nature orientated lifestyle. (Jess Taylor via SWNS)
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They use an electric cooker, grow their own vegetables, wash their dishes and clothes outside, use a compostable toilet, and shower outside.

Jess home-schools the children while Lath, a truck driver, works away to provide for the family and is only home for four days a month.

"We're so much happier now than when we lived in the city," said stay-at-home mom Jess.

"It can be tough raising four children and it can be so hard seeing Lath so infrequently.

"But when I do feel like that I just remind myself it'll be even better in the long run.

"It's just so nice to be back in nature and be outside whenever we want"

Inspired by YouTube videos about remote living, Jess and her family spontaneously decided to move to the forest at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Having grown up on a farm, Jess said remote living has allowed her to "reconnect with nature" again, and be on the same patch of land as her mom, who lives nearby.

After purchasing the property, Lath converted the small shed by taking the roof off and extending the structure vertically - allowing for more room and installations - before putting the roof back on.

Aside from food shopping, the family has minimal living expenses - paying only for their electricity which is hooked up to the grid and their water.

"The well was our first big investment we wanted our own water source," Jess said.

"We pay for regular electric and shopping, otherwise we have no living expenses."

They currently use an outhouse composting toilet and shower outdoors whilst their new bathhouse is being built.

"It's not always as lovely as it looks when you have to empty a composting toilet, but it's only temporary whilst we build our bathhouse," Jess said.

They decided to build their bathhouse with the same type of shed they used for their house.

Jess currently has to wash their dishes outside, whatever the weather.

"I have to wash the dishes in the rain, even when it's snowing, so that's not always nice," she said.

Their land mean they can grow their own vegetables, and Jess hopes to one day be able to grow enough to live off the land sustainably.

"At the moment we're growing some food - like gherkins, tomatoes, peppers and chilis - and I like to combine that with my foraging of fruits and nuts," she said.

"The ultimate goal is to expand the garden in the next few years and be able to to live completely off the land.

"I'm hoping we can grow enough to store some vegetables over the winter season.

"I would love to also be able to set up my own farmers stand at the market, and have an extra source of income that way."

Jess says the children have really taken to their new lifestyle.

"The kids love it, especially as they are now closer to their grandma's," Jess said.

"I've seen a huge change in them after going from screens to being outside most of the time."

"I think there's a real draw to being isolated when we want to be.

"We do make sure we're focused on the community as well, as it's important for the kids to be able to socialize and for all of us to make friends."

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