Legacy Maker

Creating the ripple effect

Bex Band, London, England

Two years ago, schoolteacher Bex Band decided to do something a little different. “I’m not an outdoors person, and I was completely unfit, but I decided I was going to trek the length of Israel,” she says.

“My husband and I were saving for a house deposit, but we decided to go and do this trip instead. It made no sense, but I couldn’t get the idea out my head.” The 1,000km yomp ended up transforming Bex’s life. “It was incredible,” she says. “I’d never put up a tent or backpacked before. But the journey stripped down everything in my adult life – all the stress. I fell in love with the simplicity of just having that headspace.”

“I decided to set up an adventure group for women”

Bex, 30, was bitten by the adventure bug – but it was while back in the UK, taking outdoor courses, that she spotted an opportunity. “I noticed the adventure world was very male-dominated – I was always the only woman,” she says. “It can be quite competitive. It was hard for me, as someone lacking confidence, so I decided to set up an adventure group for women – where it’s not about being the fastest, but about helping each other.” LoveHerWild, “a community for ordinary women who want to do extraordinary things”, was born. “I thought it’d be a small group, but it rocketed!” she says. “We’ve got 5,000 members after 18 months. “We started by organising adventures, mainly with a conservation focus. The idea is to learn compassion for yourself, for others and the environment.”

“The benefits keep spreading, and that’s what gives me real satisfaction”

One early expedition was the Paddle Pick Up, which kayaked the width of the UK via waterway, cleaning plastic en route: “Many of us, including myself, had never kayaked before, but we loved it.” And while numerous other trips have followed, with others to Tanzania and Israel planned, Bex is happiest about the ripple effect she’s caused. “Many of the women who’ve done a trip have gone on to do other things,” she says. “One has just rowed the Pacific. And we’ve given talks that have stopped people using plastic. The benefits keep spreading, and that’s what gives me real satisfaction.”

Photography by Nicholas White