On this extraordinary expedition, Laura led a team of two other women, Ness Knight and Pip Stewart, through tough terrain to find the source of the Essquibo on foot and then paddled down the river negotiating rapids and waterfalls through stunning jungle with rich biodiversity regularly spotting caiman, jaguars and various species of monkey along the way.
Laura cycled 7,000 kilometres through South America in 2016. She achieved this inspiring journey without money by visiting local communities and working in return for food and shelter as she crossed the continent. The generosity of strangers remains her abiding memory of her expedition.
Cycling in extreme weather across tough terrain and often hungry, this expedition taught Laura many lessons about staying motivated. ‘It has been a huge challenge. I’ve had to summon courage, determination and strength to overcome 7,000km of mountains, hunger and no home comforts.’ She shares her story, both the highs and lows, as she crossed the Andes three times, foraged for food, picked through waste looking for anything edible and appreciated all the help she was given. Many recognise that this was an audacious expedition. Laura began her epic trip in Manta on the coast of Ecuador, and she cycled through Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay until she reached Buenos Aires on the coast of Argentina. All without money. As Sir Ranulph Fiennes put it: ‘Laura is a very brave person.’
Her story is about taking on a challenge when the odds are against you. Laura believes that you can develop yourself and your skills and your fitness if you have the courage to start.
Laura is passionate about encouraging others to lead a more active and adventurous life.
‘I did this because I think there are a lot of young women out there I can encourage, and show them what is possible. You don’t have to stay at home, there are just as many opportunities for a woman as there is for a man. On Instagram someone said I inspired them and they want to get out there and travel, and it touched me so much.’
Laura (interview, Lonely Planet)
It is often the small things that can transform motivation when things are tough. Laura knows the importance of taking time to smile and the importance of generosity to others. One of her motivations for the trip was to raise awareness and funds for an organisation called Operation South America that gives food and shelter to girls and young women who are homeless, vulnerable and have been abused. She was thrilled to able to visit the charity in Paraguay during her expedition. Travelling with no money, Laura began to catch a small glimpse of a life without financial or social stability.
Still in her mid-twenties, Laura has accomplished much already. Leaving home at eighteen to travel widely all over the world, Laura has worked in a variety of jobs from modelling to helping train horses for competitive polo. In 2014, Laura Bingham worked in Mexico teaching English and during this period, she developed her own skills at speaking Spanish that was to prove so helpful for her bike ride across South America. At the end of this trip (and not one to stay in her comfort zone) Laura found herself considering the best way to return home to the UK. She decided to sail the Atlantic ocean en-route. A novice sailor, Laura was able to join a crew sailing a Trimaran for the two-month voyage back to Britain.
Laura is available to speak at your company event or your product launch. She is also particularly keen to speak in schools (addressing students of all ages, from primary to sixth form) as well as university groups to encourage young people to get out of their comfort zones, follow their dreams and become the best they can be.’Laura proved both a confident and passionate speaker for our panel discussion on the theme of modern exploration today. An inspiring young woman and one we felt privileged to be able to work with.’
Laura is married to Ed Stafford and they have a young son Ranulph (Ran). Laura is currently writing a series of children’s books.
Get in touch to learn more, or to begin the booking process
'Her easy-going style created a warm and engaging atmosphere and the anecdotes came thick and fast. She painted a gripping and often hilarious picture of a trip that was a true test of human spirit in even more testing circumstances.
'We can't speak highly enough of her eloquence, inspirational storytelling and adventurous spirit - all of which added hugely to our event.'