You can do the extraordinary. Yes, you.

You can do something extraordinary. Yes you.

I truly believe that ANYBODY can do the extraordinary if you take it one itty bitty baby step at a time.

You've got what it takes, but it'll take everything you've gotYou know what they say – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Extraordinary events don’t happen overnight either. They take time; lots of time. Oodles and oodles of time. Lots of baby steps.

I was recently talking with a friend about how people are intimidated by what we’ve done. “I know we intimidate people – we get emails all the time saying, ‘our bike adventures are nothing compared to yours, but…’ I keep saying over and over that we are nothing special or extraordinary – it’s just that we took a lot of small bike rides over a three-year period.”

To which Talon responded, “To be fair, your adventure IS intimidating. If what you accomplished was only a minor thing, we’d see more families doing it. It may seem like nothing to you, but it was freaking amazing.”

I think our journey is only intimidating if you only look at the big picture. If you look at the journey in its entirety and say, “Holy cow! Think of all those miles! Think of all those mountain passes and headwinds and border crossings. It’s HUGE!”

If you look at it from that perspective, yes, it’s huge.

17,300 miles on a bike is a long way. The big picture is overwhelming. It’s enormous. It’s… it’s… it’s way out of MY reach!

But here’s the thing – it’s really not out of your reach. Really, it’s not.

You don't get to choose how you'll die, but you can choose how you'll liveWhen I look back upon our journey, I would say that 99% of our days were days that any reasonably healthy person could do. We typically cycled 30 – 50 miles, which is very doable for most people. We rode slowly, took a lot of breaks, and spent all day cycling those miles. Seriously – you could have joined us for any one of those days and you would have been fine.

OK, so there was the 1%. There were a few days that were outrageously hard. We dealt with a few days where we climbed up impossibly steep passes or battled headwinds all day. There were days when the temperature climbed over the century mark and we needed to drink special rehydration salts to prevent collapse. There were a few of those – very few.

But don’t we have hard days at home too? I know there were times in my teaching career where I came home emotionally fried. Maybe it was because one of my 15-year-old kids had been put up for adoption because her mother no longer wanted her or maybe it was a particularly difficult parent who couldn’t accept that her child was dealing drugs. There were many days when I spent hours in tears agonizing over my students and went to bed emotionally drained.

And yet, somehow, we think that’s normal. We think it’s normal to deal with those struggles at home.

When a pipe breaks and our house floods and we scramble to protect our belongings or a tree falls and creates a hole in our roof, we deal with it. We know it doesn’t happen often and we know it’s an unfortunate part of life. We don’t question it and we know we’re strong enough to deal with it when it happens.

whatever you can dream, you can doAnd yet we don’t think we’re strong enough to make it up those passes.

Trust me when I say you are strong enough. You can do it. It’s a matter of putting one foot in front of the other, taking itty bitty baby steps, and slowly making your way to the top of the pass.

I know our journey of biking 17,300 miles together as a family sounds overwhelming, but we did it one pedal stroke at a time. Lots of itty bitty steps all put together makes a great journey.

And it can make a great journey for you too.

only those who attempt the absurd achieve the impossible

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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2 Responses to You can do the extraordinary. Yes, you.

  1. Ella McDaniel February 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    That’s a great attitude. Normal is what we make it, and the routines and habits of our lives become us. If we don’t integrate a little extraordinary into our lives, “normal” is going to be pretty darn boring!

    • Nancy February 26, 2012 at 6:34 pm #

      @Ella McDaniel, Normal is totally what we make it! I choose to make normal extraordinary!

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