After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realised 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 take on a 4 year cycle trip from Alaska to Argentina.
Name: Nancy Sathre-Vogel
Age: 56 today!!
Environment I like the most: I like them all. I’m a variety kind a gal 🙂
Best place I have visited: While I’ve found some amazing places, I’m not sure I could narrow it down to one single best.
Favourite adventure: Parenthood. By far.
Dream adventure: I don’t really have anything left on my bucket list. Lots of possibilities, but I’m now perfectly content to stay home and surround myself with sparkly goodness.
Can’t go on an adventure without? A cotton scarf. Wonderful thing to have!
In 2006, when our twins were in Grade 3, we spent the year cycling around the USA and Mexico. We had so much fun that year that we decided to do more. In 2008, we flew to Alaska and spent the next three years cycling south, finally reaching the very tippy tip of South America. Our sons now hold the world record as the youngest people to cycle the length of the Americas.
What was your motivation?
There is never just one motivation for a journey of this magnitude. Time together as a family, sharing a common goal, just for the adventure of it…
Were you adventurous before you became a mom or was it something you discovered as a family?
Always. Let’s just put it this way: In 1990, I flew to Pakistan with a man I didn’t even know, and spent the next year cycling through some of the toughest conditions known to mankind with him. We’ve now been married 25 years 🙂
How did you have to adapt the adventure to make it suitable for your children?
Adapt to make it suitable for kids? You’re kidding right? The reality is that THE KIDS adapted to make it suitable for ME! I am the weak link in this family.
How did you make it happen?
We quit our jobs to hit the road. Although we had enough money saved that we could have just used that, we also rented out our (paid for) house, so the rent offset some of the expenses.
What were the biggest challenges you faced juggling being an adventurer and a mom?The niggling little questions roaming free in the back of my head about if I was doing the best thing for my kids. Was this really a good decision? Was this more for me more than for them? Was I subjecting them to my dream rather than paying attention to what they really wanted? How will this impact them long term?
What advice would you give other mothers who are thinking of doing an adventure with their kids?
Do it. And most of all – trust that your kids can do it. Kids are capable of a lot more than we give them credit for.
What was life like for your family after you had completed such a long journey, was it hard to adjust?
It was an adjustment for sure – but we were ready. We had learned what we needed to learn from the bike touring and were ready to move on to other things.
What’s next for you?
What’s next?? Well, for starters, I just dropped my sons off at university last week. Now, I don’t really know what I want to do. Will John and I head back out on our bikes? Will I focus on my metalsmithing/jewellery business even more? I don’t know yet – figured I needed to take some time to get used to the idea that the boys aren’t around before I make any big decisions.
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Bex Band founded Love Her Wild. Alongside running the community, she is an author, blogger and speaker on all things adventure and conservation. For her work championing women in the outdoors, she has been nominated for multiple awards and was named one of the UK’s Top 30 inspirational entrepreneurs.