Escape to the Wild

A Family's Return to Simplicity

By Andrea Hejlskov
Translated by Lasse Nyholm

Categories: Memoir, Environment
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781773860077, 272 pages, October 2019

One family's story of what happens when they leave the anxieties of contemporary modern society and escape to the wild to find themselves, each other and the meaning of life.


Andrea Hejlskov was certain of one thing: life could not continue as it was. She and her husband had become disillusioned with their jobs and the pressures of urban living, their four children were spending too much time in their bedrooms with their computers, and conversations had become as elusive as their connection to a meaningful existence. For Hejlskov and her family, life had become too complicated; no matter how fast they ran they never really got anywhere, no matter how much they worked they never had enough money. Facing a constant feeling of failure and always falling behind, the Hejlskovs chose to bolt in the other direction. On a quest to find out what really counts, they made a bold move: they sold their house and parted with most of their belongings.


In the year that followed, the family built a cabin deep in the wilds of Sweden and conducted an experiment: could they live a fulfilling life while measuring their impact on a world desperately in need of change? What was meant to be a one-year experiment became a six-year journey that fundamentally changed everything in their lives. Escape to the Wild: A Family's Return to Simplicity is the remarkable true story of a family that drops everything to start life anew. Both a poignant memoir and passionate critique of modern life, Escape to the Wild is a reminder that we can choose to lead the life we live.


“Andrea Hejlskov does not just write beautifully but also relentlessly and thrillingly about her old and new life – you can’t put this book down.”

Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (German)

“Despite living in a world of unlimited possibilities, growing up with the idea that we can be and do anything we imagine, it’s often far more comfortable and convenient to let those dreams fly on by. Hejlskov risks it all for what she believes in and gives us a rare and raw look at the fight it took to try and build a life in the wilderness.”

—Nikki van Schyndel, author of Becoming Wild

“A powerful story about how opting out of the world designed for you can help you come home… to yourself.”

—Cait Flanders, author of The Year of Less

“Andrea Hejlskov risks a lot. She tells her story openly and reveals her most intimate thoughts (…) It is the life of an authentic woman with real problems.”

Politiken (Danish)

“With her thoughts and feelings, she creates a readable, modern sequel to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, away from lust for land and the glorification of dreams of getting out.”

—Karla Paul, Book Column (German)

“She writes with brave humility, acknowledging her many doubts and revealing even the bad.”

El Asombrario & Co. (Spanish)

“Fortunately, this is not a romanticizing drop-out book, not an agitating manifesto of the enlightened, but above all a multi-layered account of the emotional dynamics of a not-so-ordinary family.”

Westzeit magazine (German)