Hallaton adventurer completes unique South America mission

Laura Bingham

Laura Bingham

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A Hallaton-based adventurer has completed a unique adventure by taking part in a six month cross-continent cycle of South America with no money.

Laura Bingham (23) began the 4,400 mile journey in Ecuador in January this year and arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Saturday, July 2, after passing through Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay.

The mission was made all the more unique because Laura did not want to spend any money during her journey and relied on human power and generosity alone, while also raising money for the charity Operation South America.

Laura said: “This 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.

“However, having met countless lovely and generous people, I’m finishing this journey overcome with joy and gratitude for the people I’ve met along the way.”

Laura was accompanied during the trip by a cycling partner and by her fiancé Ed Stafford.

She said the toughest country to cross was Ecuador, because of very cold temperatures and almost constant rain.

The terrain in Ecuador was also mountainous and mostly dirt roads.

Laura was raising money and awareness for Operation South America, a UK-based charity which helps women and young girls in Paraguay.

They feed more than 70 children from very poor families most schooldays and run a home for 20 homeless girls aged between three and 17, most of whom are a victim of domestic violence or abuse.

During the trip, Laura also completed volunteer work at a number of stop-off points. She visited communities and worked for them in exchange for food and shelter.

Laura said: “I did not have any money and I only took the equipment I could carry.

The trip also involved her crossing the Andes Mountains on three separate occasions, firstly from the Ecuadorian Coast to the Peruvian Amazon, from the Amazon to the Peruvian Coast and from there into Bolivia. Laura had to cycle at altitudes reaching up to 5,000 metres above sea level.

Visit www.laurabingham.org for more.