Guest Post by Laura Bingham, author of A Mountain of Dreams: One Girl and Her Bicycle, writing about the cycling adventure that led her to become a writer.
At the ripe age of 21 I decided it was time I did something serious, I had spent years flitting though jobs and countries like pages in a book. So my serious thing was to cycle the length of South America, but upon closer inspection, I realised so many people cycle through South America, so I took to the internet to find something to make it different. I landed upon a charity page called Operation South America, they looked after abused young girls or girls who’s families didn’t have enough money or food to feed them, which made me wonder “what would life be like without food?”
After meeting with the founder, I decided I would cycle South America with no money, to raise money and awareness for this organisation.
My journey across South America lasted six months, I cycled through five countries and I met hundreds of people. Each country had its own story to tell. Ecuador was hard, Peru saw new hope, Bolivia saw unimaginable beauty, Paraguay was were I made some incredible friends and I can only describe Argentina as too generous. It was a journey I will never forget.
A year after arriving home, now married and five months pregnant, I decided to immortalise some of those stories. In that moment ‘A Spirit Of Adventure’ was born, it was going to be a series of ‘real adventures by real people’, starting with my adventure cycling across South America.
I remember vividly sitting at my kitchen table, having written the first draft of the text, and putting my sketching pencil to the paper, now, the only way I can describe what my hand created is ‘Alien’. I tried to draw myself and the only thing I was able to create was an alien, and not an attractive one at that! Three Illustrators and eight months later, very serendipitously, Laura Wall sent me one of her books ‘Goose’ for my four month old son, Ranulph.
The relationship between Author and Illustrator just fell into place with a beautiful ease. She created the magic that I could only have dreamed of and then Award Publications refined the story, the characters and themes to make it what it is today.
The second book in the series, A Jungle of Fears launches in October, just after the launch of our family show on Discovery channel, where we were marooned on a desert island. Yes, I was stuck on an island with my husband and two year old, and no nappies. It’s an exciting life! And I hope our books inspire the next generation to take leaps with me.
Mountains of Dreams: One Girl and Her Bicycle by Laura Bingham, illustrated by Laura Wall ISBN: 9781782703433 (Award Publishing) £6.99
The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG.