Meet Laura Bingham!
Laura is a British explorer with a stamp-packed passport. In 2014, with zero experience, she sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in a 38ft Trimaran with two men and a cat. Then in 2016, she crossed South America by bike and with no money, relying on the kindness of strangers and rubbish bins. Laura recently married fellow adventurer and Amazon walker Ed Stafford.
Here, Laura talks about the call of adventure and her resolute belief that everything will work out OK.
What was the impetus behind becoming an adventurer?
I was on quite a vague destructive path in England and I knew I had to leave if I wanted any type of future. I left and started travelling. Three years later I sailed the Atlantic and realised the thing I wanted to do for the rest of my life was travel and explore! I then started planning and making that dream a reality.
Before setting out on this path what were your doubts/fears/concerns and how did you overcome these?
Doubts – I didn’t have any doubts. I had tried so many different jobs while travelling and none of them fit me. There was no real plan B, it had become a lifestyle and one that I was good at! Problems would arise while travelling and I’d always figure out a way to make it work. Travelling for those years –starting at 18 – had taught me that there is always a solution and if you want it, you’ll figure it out.
Fears – Every single fear under the sun! I’m always scared about everything I might encounter but I have no doubt I’ll figure out a way; it’s just the unknown and not knowing what problems may arise. A phrase I love is “Courage isn’t the absence of fear; it’s doing something despite fear”.
Concerns – Money and safety is always a concern but I knew this was my life and the life I was destined for.
I overcame these by just knowing everything WILL be alright. There are shit times, really shit times, times you think the sun has died and will never come back out. But the sun never does die and it always comes back out. A smile will always return to your face and that dark time will just be a distant memory. It may take a month to happen or even five years, but it will always happen and it’s worth it.
What is the main thing you have learnt (about life or yourself) from these experiences?
That I can overcome anything. God knows I’ve had my trials and he has tested me in more than one or two ways but it has made me so strong. I set challenges to keep pushing myself, to see where that boundary is and if I can push it further.
“There are shit times, really shit times, times you think the sun has died and will never come back out. But the sun never does die and it always comes back out.”
What would be your dream adventure/goal and why – and why haven’t you done it yet?
My dream/goal is always the next thing I’m working on. Last year it was my cycle ride through South America with no money, and I worked towards it and then accomplished it. Now it’s my expedition dated to start Jan 2018. I hatch a goal/dream and then I strive to do it/create it/own it and then when I do, I hatch a new one.
My long-term dream though is the woman I see myself being at 60/70 – an elegant, strong, kind-hearted woman. I can see her and every wrinkle on her face. Every decision I make in my life is working towards being this woman.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
I went through a stage of asking everyone around me to tell me a lesson they had learnt in their life. My driving instructor said: “you have two ears and one mouth, so you should listen twice as much as you speak.”
And then the classic phrase –
“God give me;
Strength to change to the things I can,
Courage to accept the things I cannot,
And the wisdom to tell the difference.”
If you were stuck on a desert island, what three things would you have with you and why?
My husband, Ed Stafford. He would be my strength when I was weak, my joy when I was down, and my light in the dark. Plus, he is a survival expert! He is everything I would ever need in any situation and he’s my best friend.