About

We believe everyone can (and should) pursue their passion and follow their dream – wherever it may lead. Our goal is to provide both inspiration and practical advice to get you there.

Who are we? “We” are just a normal American family who happens to be following our dreams and chasing rainbows. We are adventure seekers and modern-day explorers who are limited only by our imaginations – and we have very vivid imaginations! We learned early to live life to the fullest; to grab life by the horns and enjoy the ride.

So much so that we spent three years riding bicycles from Alaska to Argentina together as a family.

Time is passing quickly. We can never go back. We can only take advantage of every moment we have. We’re here to help you do exactly that.

We get asked a lot about how we got to this point. How did we get to the point where we were willing to quit our jobs and take our precious children on bicycles from one end of the world to the other? Here’s a brief run-down of our background.

John (aka Dad)

JohnJohn grew up in Rhode Island and never traveled beyond New England until he went to college in Colorado. At some point in his college years he discovered bike touring and spent the next ten or fifteen years biking wherever he went. He crossed the USA quite a few times before getting more adventurous and venturing a bit farther from home.

One summer he flew to Alaska and cycled back to New Mexico (where he was living at the time). Another summer he cycled Iceland and Norway. Then came Australia. And then India.

All that time he was working as a teacher and traveling in the summers.

Nancy (aka Mom)

I grew up in Boise, Idaho and had the opportunity to travel each summer to a different place. Although we only traveled for a few weeks, every summer my parents loaded all five of us kids into the station wagon and took off for parts unknown.

When I was 16, my parents took us to Mexico – and my eyes were opened to the fact that there was a big, wide world out there. As soon as I arrived home, I saw a commercial for the Peace Corps and made the decision to join it as soon as I could.

True to the decision I made when I was sixteen years old, I joined the Peace Corps upon graduation from university. For the next 2.5 years I helped develop a Special Ed program in Honduras and formed a team for the Special Olympics.

Peace Corps gives volunteers a chunk of money when they leave in order to help them get established in the USA. I took the money and spent seven months traveling in South America instead.

Upon my return to the USA, I moved to the Navajo Indian Reservation where I taught for the next three years. During my first summer back in the USA I took off on my bike and cycled from Norfolk, Virginia to New Orleans. The next summer I visited my brother who was serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi.

Our lives together

That brings us to spring of 1990 when a series of unusual events brought John and me together to cycle in Pakistan.

We spent the school year 1990/91 cycling Pakistan, China, India, Nepal, & Bangladesh. The first weekend of the following school year we got married.

We lasted a grand total of two years in Albuquerque before going nuts. We got jobs at an American school in Alexandria, Egypt and took off to explore a new part of the world.

From 1993 – 1995 we lived in Alexandria and traveled extensively in the area. We went to Israel and Jordan, Greece and Turkey. We spent a summer cycling the Sinai Peninsula and Israel.

After two years in Egypt, we moved to Ethiopia to teach in another international school. From there, we explored Yemen and Mali on bikes and visited many other countries by bus.

 

Our sons were born our third year in Ethiopia, and we continued to travel with kids in tow. The boys celebrated their first birthday in Egypt, their second in Vietnam. They turned three in Thailand and four in Ethiopia.

After living in Ethiopia for seven years, John and I got teaching jobs in an American school in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. We explored Taiwan and Bali and Myanmar during the two years we lived there.

After a brief stint in Malaysia, we returned to the USA shortly after the boys turned seven. We lasted a grand total of fifteen months before we hopped on our bikes and headed out to see our own home turf.

We spent the 2006-07 school year (the boys’ third grade year) cycling 9300 miles through the USA and Mexico. John and the boys were on a bicycle built for three and I rode a single bike alongside them. We visited nineteen US states and five Mexican states in twelve months on the road.

We returned to Boise for fourth grade and spent that year planning and preparing to hit the road again – this time to cycle from Alaska to Argentina.

In June 2008, we headed out – this time John and Daryl rode a tandem bike while Davy and I were on singles. After cycling 17,300 miles in nearly three years, we reached the southernmost tip of South America on March 21, 2011.

Now we want to inspire you to pursue your passion and follow your dream. We believe you can.

Nancy Sathre-Vogel

11 Responses to About

  1. Dale Davidson October 27, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Hello to the Vogel Family!

    I hope you’re doing well. I just came across familyonbikes.org and wanted to tell you I think you’re doing an amazing thing! Your kids will have a great story to tell when they’re older.

    I’m curious, since you have to pack so light, what tools have you been using to homeschool your kids?

    Looking forward to hearing from you!

    Cheers,

    Dale


    Dale Davidson
    Travel Partner Outreach Coordinator
    BootsnAll Travel Network
    http://www.BootsnAll.com

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Dale Davidson,
    Hey Dale! We didn’t carry much for homeschooling – for the most part the boys’ education came from what we saw on the road. Math was the one subject that couldn’t be easily integrated into our journey, so we carried math books for the boys. Other than that, they each had a Kindle and a journal. We had a calculator that they shared. I think that’s about it!

    [Reply]

  2. Gretchen Morning August 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    Hi Vogel family!

    I wanted to thank you for sharing your adventures. We have 3 kids and recently moved to Los Angeles, where I now bike to work. I’ve never been much of a cyclist, but I love my ride to work and have been musing about traveling further by bike. And that’s how I found your website. Thank you again for providing both inspiration and advice on how to tour with kids.

    Warmly,
    Gretchen

    [Reply]

    Nancy Reply:

    @Gretchen Morning, GO GRETCHEN!!! Traveling on bike is a totally different experience than traveling with a motor. The experience is in GETTING there, rather than BEING there. Get those kids on bikes and head out!

    [Reply]

  3. julie kling January 11, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    We are so excited you are coming to Jackson for TEDxJacksonHole EXTREME Feb 1. Would you be willing to talk to students in the morning before the dress rehearsal? If so, what grade/age group do you prefer?

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @julie kling, I am VERY excited about speaking at TEDx! Unfortunately, I can’t fly in until that day, so I won’t be able to speak with students that morning, but I’m not flying out until Tuesday and would love to speak with them Monday. Please email me at familyonbikes at gmail dot com.

    [Reply]

  4. lori smith February 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Hi Nancy!
    I’m sure you don’t remember me, but I was good friends with Glenda in Jr.high. I stumbled upon your web page and found it really interesting. The more I read, the more I realized I knew I had met you years ago. Long story short, would you give Glenda my email? I would love to get back in touch with her. She came out to Cherry Point, N.C. to visit me years ago, and we lost touch after that. Thank you.

    Lori Dunagan Smith

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @lori smith, Incredible! What a small world. Email sent!

    [Reply]

  5. Brian Collins August 13, 2013 at 6:53 am #

    Hi Guys,

    Absolutely love the blog. Very uplifiting and inspiring. I am currently in pre production for a podcast series that will potentially be picked up by radio. I would love to get a contribution from yourselves. Nothing major just a brief back story and what life is like on the road as a family. Drop me a mail or Ill email you.The interview can be done via Skype and 100% based around your schedule

    Hope to hear from you soon

    Brian

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Brian Collins, Thanks Brian! I would love to chat with you. We are leaving soon to drive across the country to Idaho, but would love to talk in September. Please email me at familyonbikes@gmail.com

    Nancy

    [Reply]

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