Livin’ the dream won’t come easily

“I want to live my dream, but…”

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard this. Over and over again people write to say they want to do xyz, but there’s always a reason. An excuse, if you will, why they can’t.

The only difference between obstacles and stepping stones is the way in which we use themYes, there are valid reasons why people may not be able to live their dream. Maybe they are responsible for taking care of elderly parents or maybe their health isn’t what it used to be. There are reasons why some people simply can’t achieve a dream.

Justin over at The Great Family Escape wrote a great post a while ago about that very idea. He says, “People lose their jobs.  They lose their spouses.  They lose their children.  Kids are born to parents that can not care for themselves, and parents have children that will always need constant care.  People get hurt.  People get cancer.  People get stuck in situations that, despite all their hard work and mindfulness, they simply could not control.  Life just happens.”

For those people, there is a real reason why they can’t live their dream. For most, there are excuses.

I know many people look at us and our journey to the ends of the world and feel it just happened. It’s like the journey was handed to us on a silver platter and we didn’t have to work to make it happen at all.

Packing up the house

We packed many boxes to store in the barn

That’s simply not the way it was.

Although the financial side of our journey was fairly easy to figure out, there were other aspects that were anything but. Each and every one of those things could have been enough to cause us to call it all off.

In order for us to get on that plane to Alaska, it was a solid year of non-stop, dedicated, all-consuming preparation.

We made the decision to rent out our house while we traveled, but to do that the bathroom needed to be remodeled and garage door fixed. The sprinkler system required an upgrade.  The barn needed to be painted and the siding repaired.

The boy’s tree house had to be disassembled to avoid liability should a kid fall out.

We needed a website but couldn’t afford to pay anyone to do it for us.  John needed to learn how to build it and keep it updated from the road.


Sorting everything we owned and deciding what to sell was an enormous task

How does one manage finances while on the road?  I spent hours researching and set up online banking and auto pay for each and every bill that came in.

Contact Guinness World Records.  Figure out how to ship the bikes and gear to the northern end of the world.  Get everything we owned sorted into three pilessell, store, or take with.

Research and buy bikesLook for sponsors.  Send letters to junk mail places to try to stop the flow.  Contact a property management firm.

And all the time, try to maintain some sense of normality.

The boys attended classes at a local elementary school and played on soccer teams.  They took swim lessons at the YMCA and Daryl joined the swim team.  I headed out to a local high school every morning, where I taught Special Education classes.  John became our stay-at-home dad, working hard to keep things together as we dismantled our lives.

Pile of gear

Our pile of gear to take with us grew bigger every day

It was a whirlwind of activity, but each piece of the puzzle was critical.  We couldn’t – simply couldn’t – take our boys up to Alaska and not be prepared.  No detail was too small; nothing could be overlooked.  Every piece of gear we carried with us was essential.

We made our lists and checked them twice. Every day we plugged away at the preparation and slowly checked things off the list. For every item we checked off, it seemed, we added three more. There were times when my brain was spinning and I was certain there was no way we would be ready by the time we were leaving. It was crazy, hectic, and frenzied.

In Prudhoe Bay

It took a solid year of prep, but we made it to Prudhoe Bay ready to take off

When I look back upon those months, I realize that any one of those steps could have easily stopped us from heading out. We could have said, “We can’t head out because remodeling the bathroom is too much” or “Sorting and packing and selling our stuff is too hard. It’s easier to stay here.”

Those would all have been valid excuses. It was an enormous amount of work to get everything ready to go and it would have been much easier to forget it. We worked our rear ends off for an entire year preparing for our journey. For many people, it would have been easy to use all that work as an excuse for not living their dream.

But we didn’t. We made the decision to push through it and made it onto the road eventually. I have absolutely no regrets and am more than happy that we didn’t allow the demands to be excuses for not living our dream.

Where are you? Are you living your dream or have a valid reason for not? Or are you making excuses?

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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9 Responses to Livin’ the dream won’t come easily

  1. joy clein December 30, 2011 at 10:45 am #

    I showed your blog to the boys and they that thought bike travel was cool. One son is an avid rider so I thought we could never do a bike trip, since the other doesn’t like to ride, but be pulled… so then we thought maybe the older (who will be 9 soon) would ride and the other (who will be 8 soon), could be on a tandem with me… So, we are doing some research… the boys couldn’t believe about biking around for so long. so who knows, maybe we will try it out this summer with a tag-a-long… now in CR for our 4 month trial travel adventure… thanks for the inspiration. joy

    • Nancy December 30, 2011 at 10:50 am #

      @joy clein,
      Go for it Joy! It’s not easy, but so worth every ounce of effort put into it! Enjoy Costa Rica!

  2. Lisa Wood January 2, 2012 at 2:38 am #

    You guys are so inspirational – I love how you had a dream and then it took a year to work towards that dream.
    Reading this today made sense of what our life is all about – its about dreaming big and then working towards that dream. No.Matter.What.
    Love your family desire to live a little, and then ride the biggest ride ever 🙂


  3. Molly February 5, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

    LOVE this post!!! So much great info for aspiring travelers of all kinds!

    And in reference to people who lose loved ones or loved one get cancer – I want to say that even for them it is possible!!! My family waited for my brother’s treatment to finish and we have no more excuses! That’s why we’re picking up and leaving to LIVE OUR DREAMS!

    Anything is possible!!!


    • Nancy February 6, 2012 at 11:47 am #

      I think when you come face to face with the possibility of death, you realize that you’ve only got one chance. Need to make it happen.

      I’m so excited for you guys! It’ll be wonderful for you.


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