We caught up with 22-year-old British-born Laura Crane, a professional surfer and model.
Tell us a little bit about you?
So, I’m originally from Bristol, but moved to Devon when I was 13 and fell in love with surfing pretty much straight away. I started competing and got my big break at 14 when I became UK champion. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world with the sport and be involved with some pretty cool campaigns along the way with brands like Billabong and Nike!
Where was the first place you visited outside of your native country?
My first ever trip abroad was when I was four-months-old and my parents took me to France. But my first time travelling alone was to the south west of France with a connecting flight in Amsterdam, that I missed, so I had to spend the night on my own. I was only 12!
What do you like most about travelling?
It has been my dream since I was a little girl to travel the world and I feel so lucky to be doing what I love for a living. I really enjoy experiencing different cultures and meeting local people and seeing how they live. I think that’s what I like the most about the travelling aspect of my job.
How many countries have you visited?
I think 23? Still so many more to see!
Where is your favourite country and why?
In terms of surfing, I would have to say Portugal. It’s where I live now and there are so many great places to surf. My favourite place is Ribeira De Ilhas in Ericeira.
Where’s the worst place you’ve ever been and why?
Sri Lanka for me was a bit of a strange experience. As a 15-year-old blonde haired, blue eyed girl I got a lot of attention, which was a bit much at the time. But it’s a beautiful country and I met lots of wonderful people there too.
Is there a city you consider your second home?
I lived in Bali for almost two years, which was absolutely amazing. I really love it there and hope to go back one day.
If you could visit anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
I’m planning to go somewhere tropical next year to make lots of cool surfing videos. I would say Indonesia is where I’d like to be right now!
Tell us about your best experience on the road?
My best experience on the road so far would have to be a trip that I took to Nicaragua last year. It was the first trip I had ever gone on having no prior knowledge of what to expect. I just turned up and hoped for the best! It made for such an adventure finding beautiful beaches and perfect waves – so rewarding.
Tell us about your worst travel experience?
The worst experience would have to be when I flew to Bali from the UK. Whilst I was in the air, an ash cloud formed over Bali meaning we had to land in Singapore. The airline offered to put us up in a hotel but I decided to try and book an alternative route. So, I flew to Surabaya which had a tiny airport crammed full of people who had the same idea as me. I was frantically trying to book a plane, boat, train – anything to get me closer to Bali! No one spoke English and I hadn’t slept in 24-hours, then when I eventually did fall asleep, someone had to wake me up and I nearly missed the last flight out! That was a bad day.
Have you had any near-death experiences whilst travelling?
I had a really scary encounter when I surfed in Hawaii for the first time. I was only 15 and heard the waves out there were huge so I was cautious, but when I got there I didn’t want to seem like a baby so I went for it and was actually the first one in my group to catch a wave. Unfortunately, the water was a lot shallower than I thought and I fell off my board and hit the reef. That’s probably the most scared I’ve ever been in the water!
What has travelling taught you about yourself?
I’ve been travelling since I was 12 so I don’t really remember the Laura before it! However, I do know that it has taught me to be very street wise. I have been to some of the poorest and the richest places in the world and what I take from every situation is that at the end of the day family, health and happiness is all that actually matters no matter where you’re from or what your story is. Most of all, I’ve learned to always be grateful for what I have. Good days, bad days, every sunset… all of it!
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about quitting their job to travel the world?
Stop thinking about it and just do it! I fully appreciate how lucky I am to be doing what I do and to have so much passion for it. It’s ultimately what’s enabled me to travel, but I think I would find a way to see as much of the world as possible no matter what.
Follow Laura’s adventures on Instagram here