#THISISMYADVENTURE - Laura Doling, from Essex to the Lake District
Laura, 24, grew up in Jaywick, Essex, a stones throw away from the beach. She went to Essex University and gained a first class degree in Sports and Exercise Science and once-over had aspirations of career in physiotherapy. However, Laura got caught up in mundane job in the healthcare sector and, after deciding this wasn’t for her, took a downgrade in hours and pay to work as a postie, perfectly suited to her lifestyle. She first came to the Lake District on a family holiday and, aged just six, climbed both Skiddaw and Catbells - her mother referring to her as a little mountain goat.
‘I decided in May 2018 that I was moving’.
Following a last minute solo camping trip to the Lakes Laura decided that this was where she wanted to be, ‘I spent my time solo hill walking, exploring quarries and caverns and taking in the whole area. Chatting to others in cafes and pubs, making companions while out walking. It was then that I felt completely at ease in my own company and had a realisation that this was the place for me to be at my happiest’.
Laura went home from that trip and immediately began to look for a transfer with Royal Mail. These are known for being a notoriously lengthy process but this was obviously meant to be for her, as almost straight away a vacancy became available in the Windermere delivery office. It was too early to line up with her rental contract in Essex, but Laura went for it anyway, ‘it was too good of an opportunity to miss’.
‘The job was mine instantly, I put things in motion and had moved by July!’
‘There was lots to consider. It was an upheaval in my life, moving away from all my friends and family and everything I’d ever known. There wasn’t anyone to come with me to share the experience, so it was a real solo venture. However as soon as I got here I knew I’d made the right decision’.
‘I love the opportunity for new adventure and trying new challenges, whether that be climbing, scrambling, paddle boarding, kayaking... I also love the fact that the area is populated with so many like minded people, all in awe of nature and ready for adventure’.
Only two months after making the initial decision and the dream had become a reality. Laura was lucky to have made a good friend in James Micheal Forrest back in May whilst out walking, and he offered me his spare room for rent which is where she now resides. She describes him as a god send, ‘this backs up my theory that those we meet outdoors, are seriously kind genuine and generous people’.
Laura’s noticed that she stands out like a sore thumb in the Lakes; those she chats to on her post round pick up on her accent straight away and are intrigued to know where she’s from and why she’s here.
‘At the moment I feel like I have to pinch myself, I work in such a beautiful area and each day the view is different with the changing weathers/seasons and landscapes. I have certainly got used to much more rain and have lost my southern postie tan! However in true postie fashion I wear shorts everyday and I am placing bets that you will still see me in my shorts at Christmas. The locals are already starting to ask why I’m never cold! Not such a soft southerner after all’.
We asked Laura if she has any advice for people considering a similar move:
‘My advice is, just do it! Don’t keep waiting for the perfect opportunity. Get yourself to where you want to be and work it out from there. Often half the battle is having the courage to actually put things into motion’.
Laura also advises reaching out on social media, ‘you will be so astonished by the support and kindness you’ll receive from people that are practically strangers'.
As testament to this Laura recounts a time when she broke her humerus on top of Scafell Pike - the week she was meant to move her belongings! ‘Someone I’d met walking from the Instagram community, Adam Dodsworth, offered to hire and drive the van for me from Sunderland, to the Lake District, to Essex and all the way back. For nothing in return other than keeping him fed and watered. That’s true friendship’.
Moving forward Laura is looking to turn her passion into more of a profession,
‘I’m looking into completing my mountain leader course and starting my own project, guiding walks in the Lake District. I feel there should be more opportunities for independent women to get outside and I’d love to be able to encourage that! A lot of the time people wish they could get outside and experience fell walking, but lack knowledge or confidence to do it. I’d like to change to that; nature should be accessible to everyone and what a reward it is to share that mountain high feeling you get from pushing yourself to the top of a summit’.
She’s also in the process of converting a car into a small camper and looking to get out travelling in the future, she’s documenting the whole process via her Instagram so be sure to give her a follow.