What kind of sacrifices are you willing to make for your dream?

Once upon a time, if you had asked me about sacrifices, I would have said I wasn’t making any. I had willingly traded in my kitchen for a tiny campstove. I didn’t mind the hassle of having to pull the various parts out of our panniers, assemble the stove, find a flat spot on the ground, and then huddle around the tiny spot while balancing our pot on the burner.

cooking over campstove

I didn’t consider it a sacrifice at all to not have a toilet, and have to rely on bushes on the side of the road for privacy. Water from streams or rivers was perfectly sufficient.

As we moved farther south, washing machines disappeared, but I didn’t complain about taking my family’s clothes in the shower with me. I got them clean enough.

Fast forward a couple years and I would have answered that question quite differently.

After a few years on the road, I was missing my stove that worked like magic with the mere twist of a knob. I missed my washing machine. I missed a toilet. I was fully aware of the sacrifices I had made.

And more than anything else, I missed water. I still didn’t particularly care where that water came from – I was more than happy with water in a stream or river – I just wanted water. Somehow, nothing seemed really bad when we had water.

The following evening we managed to find a river to camp by as well. It was a brutal day spent battling headwinds and fixing a total of three flat tires, but somehow, a river to bathe in at the end of the day made all the difference in the world.

We were arriving into the famous Argentine Lake District, where lakes and rivers were plentiful year round. Although that didn’t solve our headwind or broken spoke problems, it solved a whole host of other problems. Somehow, nothing seemed so bad when we had water.

~Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World

bathing in river


Now that we’ve been back in Idaho for over two years, my thoughts are starting to turn toward traveling again. We plan to stay here for another three years so the boys can be in their FIRST Robotics team, but then what?

Do I want to take off on bikes again? Like we did before? Maybe, and I know exactly what sacrifices I would have to make.

loaded touring bike


Or how about spiffing things up a bit on the bikes? Hmmm… I could maybe carry a gallon or two of water in there.


And then I’ve thought about some sort of caravan or RV. A tiny one, perhaps? I wouldn’t have to make such tough choices this way.

motorcycle RV


Or a big one? Nah – I can’t see myself in something like that at all. Not only would it be more to keep clean and organized, but I believe you might have get some sort of specific insurance like this which seems one more financial commitment.


Sacrifice is an interesting concept. And I’m not quite sure I want to go there at all right now.


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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13 Responses to What kind of sacrifices are you willing to make for your dream?

  1. Talon May 4, 2013 at 1:57 am #

    It’s funny how the little things can add up, and once you have those “luxuries” back, it can be daunting to face giving them up again. As we travel, probably the biggest thing I miss is having a kitchen to cook in. Even if it’s nothing fancy.

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel May 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm #

      @Talon, So very true. I didn’t mind giving up water at all, but now – I’m not sure I could give it up again. I’ve learned the value of that commodity!

  2. Barbara Weibel May 4, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    Great food for thought. Is ignorance bliss?

  3. Jess May 5, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    I always thought the modern conveniences I would miss most in the middle of nowhere were high-tech gadgets and the ability to check my email. It turned out I’m actually much more attached to running water! I can give it up every once in a while, but there’s also something to be said for semi-comftorable living.

    Also, as a former FIRST Robotics member, I approve of your sons’ participation. 🙂

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel May 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      @Jess, Running water is it for me, hands down. You just don’t realize how much you rely on water until you don’t have it.

  4. Julio Moreno May 7, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    I think you might be different for most people. I think for most people, it is the starting part that is hard.

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel May 11, 2013 at 11:14 pm #

      @Julio Moreno, Starting is hard in many ways, but you’ve got the newness and excitement on your side. Once that’s worn off, it can be hard.

  5. Clark Vandeventer May 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    I can sacrifice anything for a while. When we were in Central America for 6 weeks last fall I didn’t think anything of needing to have bottled water. It was just the way it was. Then when we got back to Tahoe and I could drink the water right out of the tap it felt like such a luxury.

  6. Mary @ Green Global Travel May 14, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Your story reminds me of the poster showing an African boy that says “You have so much water you poop in it?”. We are big supporters of Water.org and other organizations that support the right for every person to have access to clean water.

    • Nancy Sathre-Vogel May 15, 2013 at 12:40 am #

      @Mary @ Green Global Travel, I haven’t seen that one – it’s perfect! We do take water for granted here in the USA. I sometimes find myself doing that, and then think back to those years on the road…

    • Angela from TielandtoThailand May 25, 2013 at 2:46 am #

      @Mary @ Green Global Travel, Haha! I know what picture you are talking about. Although I’ve just changed my career path from office life in the US to teaching in Thailand, I have formal education that could be put to good use in helping to provide clean drinking water to people. It would be a very rewarding experience knowing that those around me can have something as essential as fresh water; maybe it is something I will look deeper into now that I am in Thailand.

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