From hiking the length of Israel in scorching desert heat to sailing across the turbulent North Sea, Bex Band and Gil Drori have never shied away from adventure.
Now, the London couple are heading out on a new and unique endurance quest. Over the next three months they will undertake the “Kicking the States” journey — a more than 2,000- kilometre trek from Vancouver to Tijuana — entirely by scooter.
The pair is no stranger to extreme expeditions. Band, a 29-year-old former secondary school teacher, is the founder of the adventure travel blog Love Her Wild, which seeks to get women excited and participatory in similar excursions.
Drori, 30, previously worked in the IT industry before embracing travel as a career. A native of Israel, he maintains his own travel blog in Hebrew to attract those in his home market.
It’s the first such attempt, that the couple knows of, at a West Coast journey via this mode of transportation. While Band and Drori are excited at the prospect of heading out, they know the trip will present plenty of challenges.
“Scooters don’t really work good up hills,” said Drori, an hour before the couple embarked on their journey from Canada Place. “There are a lot of hills throughout [the route], and mountains as well.”
Band says they chose scooters for a combination of reasons — the novelty factor, bikes would make the trip go too fast, and the spectacle of pushing a scooter would be a good way to attract attention.
Another challenge will be finding a place to sleep, or at the very least a spot to pitch their tent, at the end of a long day of travel.
“We don’t know how far we can go each day because it will be dependent on weather and how many hills there are and all of the problems we face along the way,” Band said. “So we have to work out accommodation each evening. And that’s quite nerve wracking, not knowing where you’re going to sleep each night.”
Band is confident however that the kindness of strangers will guide them on their path. They’ve already had luck in the lodging department since their arrival in Vancouver on May 15.
“A really kind family in Deep Cove has been hosting us for the past few days,” Band said. “They heard about us online, and they said come and stay in our spare room.”
This journey is not just about the adventure though. Band and Drori are using the experience to raise funds and awareness for Africa’s Children in Education (ACE), a charity that seeks to improve the state of childhood education in Africa by building schools and employing volunteer educators.
For their part, the couple aims to fund the building of a new school in a small Tanzanian village at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
“When we visited Tanzania we saw just how hard the lives of these children are,” Band says. “It’s sad seeing the situation that the children are in. We’re really hoping people will get on board and donate and support us in helping to build this school.”
Band and Drori have also scheduled a number of free talks along their journey to a range of audiences, including schools and companies. By doing this they hope to raise both awareness, and donations, for their cause.
The free talks will consist of information on ACE, as well as recount tales from past adventures the pair has undertaken. It’s a fitting approach, as it was a similar talk that inspired them to pursue the travelling adventure lifestyle in the first place.
“We were living in London and had very regular jobs. We got really fed up with what we were doing, and we decided to go travelling,” Band said. “We went to see an inspirational talk from someone who had gone on an adventure, and we thought it sounded like such a great way to travel and to see the world.”
After getting inspired and surviving their opening salvo through the Israeli desert, Band and Drori felt they were prepared for anything.
“Once you start pushing yourself in that way it really breaks down barriers, so anything becomes achievable,” said Band.
Amidst all the preparation, they still have found time to make celebratory goals upon reaching Tijuana. Tacos, margaritas and a tequila shot await the couple at the finish line.
As for whether the pair will be scooting the return journey, don’t count on it. After millions of kicks, they plan to take a load off and ride the rails for the return train trip to Vancouver.