We have long admired the adventurer Bex Band, an advocate for getting women outdoors and into nature. Bex's non-profit women's adventure community Love Her Wild connects women and organises adventures globally.  When we heard that she was preparing for her first major expedition with her 18 month old in tow we leapt at the opportunity to be able to support them.  

For such an intrepid explorer, including her daughter Rivi in her adventures was a natural extension. And at 18 months old, this kind of experience will be forming a deep connection with nature that will support her throughout her life. 

What first inspired you to choose the Negev Desert?

This was not my first adventure in the Negev desert. In fact, it was Negev that kick-started my whole life and career of adventuring! At the age of 27 feeling unhappy and dissatisfied with my work, I decided to do something quite drastic and hiked the 1000km Israel National Trail. I’d never done anything like it before - nor had my husband who joined me on that adventure.

The experience completely changed me, rebuilding lost confidence and giving me the space to finally work out who I was and what I wanted to do. Since then, adventures and the outdoors has been my life. Shortly after returning from the Israel National Trail I founded Love Her Wild, now the UK’s largest women’s adventure community.

The last couple of years have been difficult for all of us in different ways but for me personally, becoming a mother in the first lockdown was challenging to say the least. I really wanted to do a family adventure all together. Partly to proved that I could and that being a mum didn’t have to mean saying goodbye to adventures, but also just to have a bit of fun as a family and to escape all the Covid stress. As soon as we planned a trip to visit family in the Negev I knew this would just have to be the setting of the adventure!

What’s your most special lasting memory from the trip?

The adventure was 4 days in length, covering about 25-30km and wild camping each night. The most special memory was definitely wild camping on the second night, miles from civilisation. The views were unbelievable! We made a fire and soaked up our surroundings and the sheer silence that surrounded us. You might think it would be a nightmare place to be with a toddler but Rivi loved helping build the fire, put up the tent and was perfectly happy sitting with us quietly in a way she never would back home!

How did Rivi respond to being out in this big open space? Did it have a calming effect on her?

It definitely did!! Back home we can’t walk with her in the backpack carrier for more than an hour before she starts complaining. I was worried about how she’d cope! But in the Negev she was very calm and didn’t make any complaints. We were able to walk for up to 4 hours some days. I don’t know if it was the views or that she could sense we were excited but I’m very proud of her!

What do you think are the benefits to taking your child with you on a huge adventure like this?

The thing that really stands out to me is the undistracted quality time we all had together. There are no phones, no schedules, no-one popping in, no shopping, laundry or housework. It was just the 3 of us together enjoying each other and the environment around us. It’s amazing how easy childcare becomes when you suddenly have no distractions.

What element / moment on the trip did you and your daughter both love the most? 

I think Rivi would probably say putting the tent up...it became a make shift soft play. She spent about two hours flopping on the sleeping bags and roll mats, then playing peekaboo through the tent doors. I don’t think we’ve ever laughed so much!

What advice would you give to anyone considering taking their little ones on an adventure?

Don’t hesitate! I know when you are tired and have too much to do it seems impossible and something that is too much effort. But that’s exactly why you should do it. It’ll give you the break and headspace you need. We even managed daily naps all together!

Logistically I’d suggest packing light (but don’t compromise on snacks or warm clothes for the little ones….the Töastie Onesie is perfect for warm layers and doubling up as a sleeping bag), keeping distances and expectations low and always giving yourself an easy escape should you suddenly have enough.

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