They've both tackled epic journeys across the globe… but Laura Bingham and Ed Stafford’s greatest adventure is set to unfold closer to home.
The TV pair are expecting twins and Laura, 27, says: “The babies are growing perfectly. My only worry is how I’m going to manage giving birth to two.”
While she is overjoyed, Laura is nervous too, after she lost twin girls at 14 weeks in December 2018. Laura says: “It’s the most traumatic thing I’ve been through.
“I’ve put my body through hell and back on my travels, but losing my babies was the hardest thing.
“But my consultant says there’s nothing to worry about this time.”
For a while, the prospect of trying again was too much to consider.
When her thoughts did turn to motherhood Ed’s schedule meant he was often on his travels.
Laura adds: “He kept missing my most fertile period – it was so frustrating!
"In the end, we decided to try artificial insemination. I went to a clinic and it worked. It was incredible.
"It doesn’t sound very romantic but it took all the pressure out of our relationship!”
The pair met through their love of adventure and have faced huge challenges. Laura has cycled 4,350 miles across South America and in 2018 led the first descent of Guyana’s Essequibo River.
Ed set a record in 2010 as the first person to walk the 3,976-mile length of the Amazon River over an agonising 30 months.
He starred in TV series Naked and Marooned, surviving for two months on a deserted island.
And the couple – with son Ran, two – found TV fame on Discovery’s Man Woman Child Wild, which followed them living off-grid on an Indonesian island.
It was Laura’s cycling odyssey from Manta, Ecuador, to Argentine capital Buenos Aires which brought the couple together in 2015.
She sought Ed’s advice and they got engaged in three months.
Then Laura set off for South America. Yet it might easily have ended her thirst for adventure.
Today she tells for the first time how she was sexually assaulted while sleeping alone on a beach in Peru.
Laura’s six-month challenge – getting by without cash – began well.
She would ride through five countries and scale 5,000 metre-high Andean passes, relying on strangers’ kindness for food in a bid to raise awareness of a charity called Operation South America.
But her darkest moment came four months into the ride on the Peruvian coast at Camana, where eight years earlier Ed had begun his Amazon expedition.
Laura says: “I wanted to spend the night on this beach as a way of connecting with Ed. At the same time, I had a bad feeling.
"Always listen to your gut, because what happened next taught me things go wrong when you don’t. I was in my tent and woke with a man on top of me, assaulting me.
“I told him in Spanish he was a bad man and to get out. He tried to argue he was a good man, but I told him to f*** off. And he went.
“Incredibly, he came back next morning and offered me breakfast. I didn’t feel threatened because he was a foot shorter than me.
"I knew I could take him. I packed up my bags and left. I rode to Arequipa where I’d arranged to stay with relatives of a friend.
“A couple of days later I was able to contemplate reporting it. But the guy I was staying with was a local ex-chief of police and he told me I’d be wasting my time.
“It was a massive wake-up call to how women are treated in less economically developed countries.
"It’s not something I’ve really spoken about because I just wanted it to live in my past. But it taught me to travel in pairs, always lock my tent from the inside.
“I even deliberated about telling Ed, but he’s so wonderful and caring that he deserved to know.
"He was on a beach alone filming at the time and he screamed with rage into the wind. He came out to be with me as soon as he could.”
Laura and Ed, 44, married in 2016 and Ran arrived in June 2017.
In August 2018, Laura learned she was expecting twins.
But joy turned to despair after complications set in. Laura, from Market Harborough, Leics, breaks down as she talks about the loss.
She says: “Loving something and never getting to meet it is heartbreaking. It was a very dark time. I focused on Ran and made every day about him.
"Ed went away to film a series about living on the streets, which was good in a way. Men want to fix and solve things, but I just needed time alone to cry.”
Expecting once more has given Laura a new focus on the home front. The twins are due in August – but the next globetrotting adventure will never be far away.
She has written a series of books for eight to 11-year-olds about her cycle journey.
Mountains of Dreams covers Ecuador and Jungle of Worries, published last year, takes in Peru.
Ran was eight months old when Laura tackled the Essequibo – “partly because I was fearful of losing my own identity to motherhood,” she says.
And she adds: “A month in, I was missing Ran so much I was in physical pain. That trip made me realise I can be a mother and an adventurer at the same time.”
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