After a childhood spent living abroad, and an education purposefully directed by the different cultures and communities we lived with, I returned to the UK to complete education formally. At 19, after raising the funds to do so, I moved to Nepal to work for a grass roots aid organisation. Enthused by the beauty of the mountains and the people I lived with, I returned to the UK to study women's health and outdoor education.
My continued respect and intrigue around traditional ways of life led me to undertake my own research project across the Silk Road in 2004. Travelling overland, I lived with communities and tribes throughout Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan and India and spent time researching and learning from traditional healers and midwives.
Returning to the UK I became a midwife - a practical skill that I believe cuts across any cultural, religious or social differences and inevitably opens the door to an immense experience in human nature. I have worked as a midwife both in the UK and abroad, with a recent post with the Afar in Ethiopia. I am currently working in Bristol, UK.
I have found great inspiration by spending extended periods of time in nature - particularly in the mountains. I have undertaken several long distance trails including a month of the Lycian Way in Turkey, weeks of the Camino de Santiago in Spain, and a 6 month, 2700 mile wilderness trail from Mexico to Canada called the Pacific Crest Trail. Since qualifying as an outdoor instructor, I have trained with the School of Lost Borders in the USA and completed three years of outdoor leadership training with Schumacher College. I have also attended specialist training in women's health, youth work, wilderness first aid and child protection.
I have worked in various settings and with many different clients as a mountain leader and specialist in guiding transformative personal change. Clients include nature-based mental health charities, schools, outdoor education centres, Duke of Edinburgh, John Muir and personal development expedition companies.
Current projects for 2018 include working with both adults and youth in the outdoors. For adults, I will be co-leading Call of the Wild at Schumacher College and running a women's wilderness retreat with Way of Nature UK. For youth, I will be running a nature-based mentoring and rites of passage program in the UK with Wild Wise and Way of Nature UK , working with Wilderness Expertise on an 11 month program that culminates in a month-long expedition to Lesotho, and facilitating a cultural immersion program called Girls4Girls in Uganda.
Motivated by a desire to explore and connect with people and wild places, Israh has travelled and hosted programmes all over the world. Her journeys and programmes have included travelling the Silk Road, trekking in New Zealand, the Middle East, Central America and Europe, and the Pacific Crest Trial (from Mexico to Canada). She is a qualified Mountain Leader and trained in Outdoor Environmental Education, and has lead expeditions worldwide. She has particular interests in Rites of Passage work and runs a nature-based mentoring programme for teenage girls. As a trained midwife she has worked with remote tribes in the Afar region of Ethiopia and in Zanzibar’s government and bush hospitals.
Call of the Wild 2018 Co-facilitator at Wild Wise and Schumacher
Wilderness Expertise 2018 Lesotho Expedition Leader
Way of Nature Women’s Programme 2017 and 2018 Course director and Facilitator
WildTime 2017 and 2018 Program designer and facilitator
Wilderness Expertise 2017 Ladakh Expedition Leader
Wild Wise Devon 2016/ 2017 Assistant Facilitator
Wilderness Expertise 2016 Armenia Expedition Leader
Way of Nature UK 2016 Assistant Facilitator at Findhorn Foundation
Zenith Institute 2015 Expedition lead and course director Wild Rites
Wilderness Expertise 2015 Expedition Leader
WildTime 2014 Project designer and facilitator
Call of the Wild 2015 Assistant facilitator
Wilderness Expertise 2014 Ghana Expedition Leader
World Challenge 2014 Ethiopia Expedition Leader
St Michaels Maternity Hospital 2014 Midwife
AFAR, Ethiopia 2013 Midwife
Queen Elizabeth Hospital 2010 Midwife
Discovery Quest 2010/11 Mountain Leader
Collets Mountain Holidays 2008 Mountain Guide Dolomites, Italy
Zenith Project 2007 Project Organiser Switzerland
Complimentary Health Care Clinic 2003/5 Nutrition Advisor
Ladakh India 2017
La Palma 2016
New Zealand 2014
Pacific Crest Trail, USA 2013
The Afar, Ethiopia 2013 .
Zanzibar, Pemba and Tanzania 2009
Costa Rica 2006
Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, China, Pakistan and India, 2004
Nepal, India and Thailand, 2001- 2002
• Israh kind and helpful, became a figure of support and help.
• Israh is an excellent Leader in all aspects.
• Wouldn't have been same without Israh as Leader.
• Israh could not have been more knowledgeable or lovely, she was like a mother to us all.
• 11/11 rated Leader excellent.
Wild Time for girls
In asking to explain Wild Time to a friend:
I would say how amazing it is to be around other people your age and amazing wise women who care and love their work.
AMAZING! Really experiencing the outdoors, taking a break and meeting amazing people and making new friends.
An amazing experience that will help you build survival skills and a great place to make new friends
It is such an inspirational weekend with opportunities and I made amazing friends
Calm, relaxed, adventurous, experimental!
Scary at first but then I felt closer to everybody. Its so good for making new friends.
How has your experience/relationship with nature been affected by your experiences on Wild Time?
It has relaxed me and made me more comfortable in my body and my head.
Its made it even more brilliant being in the open air.
It has been affected a lot- and now I will spend more time outside
I have seen nature in a different more loving manner
It has developed it so much and helped me become closer to nature
In what ways has this programme supported you – and at this time in your life?
In every way! I loved It!
It has given me lots of confidence
Everyone was there for me if I was scared and helped me get to the top of the moor and back
It has supported me emotionally as it helped me to understand things I am going through
It has helped me understand myself more- to see that there are many sides to me. I have felt more able to open up and I have made amazing friends.
“I have a greater understanding of other people’s feelings, their fears and strengths. It taught me that everyone is good at different things, that I can do things other people cant.”
“It is what I really needed at this time. I wasn’t very happy with how my life was going before I went on here and it made everything better. It gave me an escape – a place I didn’t worry, I could have fun and learn. I can be myself here and don’t worry about anyone judging me or criticising me.”
“Walking and canoeing showed me that I am strong and that I can do these things. I never would have thought I could canoe that far or walk across the moors and navigate myself.”
“I is really fun to walk in a team with all girls. All girls means that it is not awkward. I felt I could be myself here.”
“...lots of amazing things and experiencing it with new friends and feeling that is special because you came through it all together.”
“Wild Time helped me figure out who I was. I am much more aware of who I am. I am more confident and much more happy.”
“Full of laughs and fun, with great people and facilitators- in beautiful places- it was just AMAZING!”
“I have learnt so much in such a little time and I feel like I really know myself.”
Thank you Israh! What a glowing happy child we had at home yesterday - she has had an incredible time with you all. Thank you so much. I feel this could really change her outlook. She is missing the experience already!