March 20, 2013 in Birthday Party
Nancy has done the impossible.
And I don’t mean cycling from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, Argentina over three years with twin boys who broke the Guinness World record for youngest persons to cycle the continents. That’s entirely doable, as is clearly evident by their success. The impossible is encapsulating the scope of that epic adventure into a 350 page book and transporting the reader along every inch of the Pan American Highway.
Nancy Sathre-Vogel is a singular woman. She’s well known in the cycling world for her family’s monumental, and most recent, accomplishment but that’s hardly the scope of her experience. She’s a teacher, in every incarnation of herself. She’s a fantastic bead artist and a curator of art and history in that vein. She’s a mother, par-excellance. She’s a life long traveler, and an adventurer in her soul. She’s a champion of education, in all of its forms. She’s been a long time expat; her boys were born in Ethiopia when she and John were teaching there. She’s a passionate dreamer and champion of living a the life of your dreams. She’s also my business partner, and a dear friend. We met because we were both cycling long distances with young children in the early part of this century when neither of us knew anyone else doing it. Our shared passion for bikes as a form of travel and showing our children the world forged a friendship that has deepened with time.
We followed the Vogel’s journey, blow by blow, as it unfolded.
I remember clearly the day that they reached Ushuia. We were living in Guatemala at the time. I read her announcement with tears in my eyes and then ran around the house shouting the news! We had a family party in their honor that day, knowing very well what the journey had cost them and what that kind of victory at the end of a long road feels like.
Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World will take you on the adventure of a lifetime and make you fall in love with this family and their adventurous spirit. I can’t do it justice. I can’t sum it up in a way that wouldn’t fall far short of the sweeping landscapes Nancy paints, the hair raising close calls, the big hearted generosity of strangers, the quiet family moments in tents, and on hillsides where the real work of raising kids and crafting an education takes place.
Far from being just another “travel book” this is a dream you can hold in your hands
- It’s an instruction manual in perseverance and crafting your own epic adventure can be drawn from an examination of their careful preparations and how the journey unfolds.
- It’s an inspirational volume that will motivate you to make the most of the day you’ve been given, and the childhoods that you curate.
- It’s a window into homeschooling on the road and what that looks like in daily life.
- It’s a lesson in gratefulness for the little things: roofs over head, stoves to cook on, washing machines and the internal combustion engine!
- It’s a treatise on the goodness of humanity, as person, after person, after person reminds us all that the vast majority of humanity will bend over backwards, not only to help someone in need, but to bless the socks off of someone for no good reason but paying it forward. Nancy calls these people her “Road Angels.”
This book is a lesson in the value of doing hard things, keeping on when the odds are stacked against you and every fiber of your being cries out to just quit, to lay down, to give up, maybe even to have a nervous breakdown, or die. It is a page turning experience that will motivate you to push hard, and then push harder, because at the very end of your world, is the victory. Why do we trade so many things for the ultimate victory? The Vogel’s didn’t, and Nancy is painfully honest about the ups and the downs, the good and the bad, and the mixed bag of emotions that go with eventually getting the thing you want most in the world.
I can’t pick a favourite part.
I will tell you that I had tears in my eyes before I was through the prologue and a lump in my throat on the very last page. I love my friend. I’m so proud of her accomplishment with her family. As someone who lives on the fringe of adventure travel with a family I appreciate her honesty; she hasn’t white washed a thing.
I don’t make book recommendations very often, but listen to me when I tell you, you need this book.
Your soul needs it. Your sense of adventure needs it. Your parenting-self needs it. That corner of your heart where your dreams have gotten dusty needs it. Your mind where your world-view has gotten a bit jaded needs it.
You will laugh. You will cry. Your heart will race. You will worry. You will think they are nuts. You will believe in their vision with all of your heart. You will not believe it. You will believe every word. You will smile often. You will learn much.
But I dare you to get through that danged prologue without screaming out loud for them to “PEDDLE FASTER!!!”
Nancy is giving away this book, as well as their other two epic cycling adventure stories for our birthday party giveaway. Everyone else, get over to her website and order your copy RIGHT NOW!
a Rafflecopter giveaway