Jen’s love of the outdoors began growing up in Cornwall. She discovered the thrill of adventure through climbing, kayaking and camping trips at school and developed her passion for educating others. Whilst still in Sixth Form, she coached a running club and lead younger students on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions
After qualifying as a Mountain Leader and as a Science Teacher, Jen worked in schools for four and a half years whilst squeezing in as many overseas work expeditions and her own adventures as possible. This included assisting at a research base in the Bornean jungle, hiking up volcanoes in the Azores, and only just making it back in time for lessons (without having a chance to shower first!) after a Winter expedition in Norway.
Passionate about inspiring others to make time for adventure in everyday life, Jen set herself a challenge to complete 365 Days of Adventure in 2019 and made the bold choice to swap the science classroom for the outdoor world on a permanent basis. The challenge led her across the world from Iceland to India and her book about her journey is due to be published in 2021.
Equally at home in the mountains, jungle, river or sea, Jen thrives on helping her expedition teams grow and develop together through the physical and mental challenges of adventure.
Between trips in the UK and overseas, Jen can often be found enjoying her writing, out on her bike, or climbing the cliffs of the wild Cornish coastline. Jen also enjoys testing herself with endurance challenges and has completed ultramarathons, long distance bike rides and swims in aid of children’s mental health charities.
What was your first adventure?
When I was about eight years old, I remember going on a canoe trip with my family in America. We ran aground on a bend in the river. Just as Dad jumped out to push us into deeper water, an enormous alligator erupted out of the bushes and started swimming towards us. Even though I was terrified, I remember the thrill of feeling like a real explorer and being hugely impressed with my Dad for saving us!
What has been your most memorable adventure?
I worked with a fantastic team of female students in the Nepalese Himalaya in 2019 and it’s the proudest I have ever been watching them develop into a group of charismatic, confident young women over the course of the expedition. On our last evening in the mountains, the moon had illuminated Machhapuchhare, which was surrounded by stars. It was only when the stars began to gently fall and landed around us that we realised that they were fireflies. It was a magical moment.
What item of travel kit you can't do without?
I adore my expedition tent- it’s kept me warm, dry and comfortable for most of my overseas adventures! Wherever I am in the world, I can wake up in familiar surroundings that feel like home. I’ve also got a pretty strict tent routine for where I keep my kit which means I can always find my emergency snacks in the dark when I get hungry!
What three bits of advice would you give to people who are keen on adventures, trekking and climbing?
- Ask, ask ask. The more you ask in adventurous environments, the more you will learn!
- Practice with your kit as much as possible before you go. There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of being slick and efficient using that tent or a set of crampons for the first time doing it for real!
- I’m a firm believer that there is an adventure for everyone out there! It takes a little bit of bravery to sign up for your first one, but I promise you that once you have dipped your toe in, there is a whole world waiting for you out there.
What is the best thing about your job?
I crave the simplicity of expedition life and love introducing people to this on their first adventures. Modern life can be hugely chaotic and demanding and so the act of sitting down after a strenuous day on expedition for a meal together or round the campfire as a team can be a really powerful experience and it is a privilege to witness how it changes people’s lives.
Why did you choose to work for 360?
I’ve worked as an expedition leader alongside teaching in secondary schools for many years. In 2019 I finally decided to swap the classroom for the outdoor world on a permanent basis and in my hunt for expedition work discovered 360 Expeditions!