Laura Bingham, along with two fellow female adventurers, is currently attempting to become the first ever person to kayak the Essequibo River - the third longest river in South America - and she's documenting it all on her Instagram as she goes.
But we'll get back to that shortly.
First a bit of an intro into exactly who Laura Bingham is. Laura was born in 1993, and since being born, she has accomplished many things. And when we say ‘many things’ we mean, like, many, many things.
In fact, if there was an award for just generally having your shit together in life, it should go to Laura Bingham.
Laura’s Instagram bio (@LauraBingham93) currently reads: “Explorer. Currently attempting first descent of Essequibo. Sailed Atlantic 2014. Ecuador to Argentina with no money 2016. 1st baby 2017. Adventurer."
Not bad for starters, but it's when you start to dissect that biography a little bit that things become even more impressive.
In 2014, at the age of 19 years old, Laura decided to sail across the Atlantic Ocean, as you do when you’re 19. Her website highlights that “with zero experience she blagged her way onto a 38ft trimaran, alongside two sea-faring blokes and a cat called Cuba".
"Travelling on bike and relying entirely on the kindness of strangers, Laura arrived in Buenos Aires on 1 July 2016"
They sailed for two months and Laura looked after the boat from midnight to 4am - the night shift. In return she became accustomed to watching the “impossibly bright stars" shine over whale pods, dolphins and sharks.
It was in 2016 that Laura set off on the expedition that she’s probably best known for at this point - cycling 7000km across South America in a six month period without any money whatsoever to her name. Yes, you read that right. The journey took Laura from Ecuador to Argentina, and along the way she raised money and awareness for Operation South America, a charity looking after homeless or abused girls and young women in Paraguay.
Taking only what she could carry, travelling on bike and relying entirely on the kindness of strangers, Laura arrived in Buenos Aires on 1 July 2016. She was acclaimed by Sir Ranulph Fiennes for the achievement.
Laura has described how she foraged through bins and ate leftovers from people’s plates, and her husband, none other than fellow adventurer Ed Stafford (their child is named Ranulph, naturally) told Vice: “We went to Sainsbury's on the day she got back and she just stood in the vegetable aisle and burst into tears because she was so overwhelmed with the abundance."
"They have to actually locate the source of the Essequibo first. Only then can their journey begin"
And yes, just to revisit the opening sentence, Laura Bingham has achieved all of this after just 25 years on this wonderful planet. Oh, and she speaks fluent Spanish.
But that’s what Laura has achieved in the past. Let's not dwell on the past.
The reason we're profiling Laura now is because she is currently leading the first kayak descent of the Essequibo River in Guyana - a journey she is undertaking with fellow adventurers Pip Stewart (@pipstewart) and Ness Knight (@ness_knight), both of whom are also well worth following on the old scroller app.
The idea behind the journey was to kayak from “source to sea" along the Essequibo, and we feel like it’s important to note on that front that this journey didn’t just involve Laura, Pip and Ness turning up at the source and heading on down a river - they have to actually locate the source first, because, well, nobody ever has before. Only then can their journey begin.
The team started their search for the source of the river in dugout canoes but were forced to continue on foot after the river became too slow. Once at the source the plan is to first document it, and then return to the boats to paddle the 1000km of river to the Atlantic Ocean.
Laura, Pip and Ness are documenting their journey on the Essequibo as they go on Instagram, and it’s resulting in some of the best posts we’ve seen in quite some time.
The only thing better than inspiring adventure photographs on Instagram is inspiring adventure photographs with a hell of a story behind them - and this story is unfolding as we speak. Give Laura and the crew a follow and stay with them on their journey through South America!