Gravitybread presents Nancy Sathre Vogel…

nancyAfter reading Changing Gears, A Family’s Odyssey to the End of the World, I had some questions for Nancy. The book was quite moving and I wanted to ask her how her experience changed the family and how the boys are doing now. Nancy is quite an inspiration for anyone who wants to go out there and fulfill your dream of a great adventure. Your dream may not be to the end of the world, but making small goals for yourself and your family is key. Thank you Nancy!
1. Were you planning on writing the book “Changing Gears” the entire time you were on your trip?

I guess I did, in the back of my mind. That said, we had to keep a daily blog for Guinness World Records, so that was my primary reason for blogging. Once we were done and I had the blog with all those stories, it made sense to put it together into a book.

2. You and your family had so many positive experiences on your adventure. It seemed like your children hardly ever lost hope and kept moving on no matter what the challenges were. Did your children ever want to give up? If so, how did you encourage them to move on?

No! No, no, no. Once they had made the decision to ride their bikes from Alaska to Argentina, the decision was made. They never second guessed it at all. Now if you are talking about me… well, that’s a different story.
3. How has the trip changed you and your family to this day?
I think it’s changed us to our very core! I think all four of us somehow know we can do anything we put our minds to. If we could ride our bikes the length of the Americas, what can’t we do? As for me (and I think the others as well), I am now very aware of the simple things. Even now, over two years after we finished our journey, I am thankful every morning for a toilet and running water. Every single time I put a load of laundry into my washing machine, I am fully aware of what a miracle it is. I know the difference between wants and needs, and I am very thankful that I can actually have my wants!
4. Throughout the book, it seemed that you struggled at times with the decision of  “roadschooling” your children on this journey. When you returned from your trip, what did your you and your children struggle most with?
HA! Love this question! This is what I just posted on Facebook an hour ago: “Is it bad that I feel sort of… I don’t know… vindicated maybe? We were criticized so heavily for taking our sons on the road. Many people felt we were jeopardizing their lives and their futures. As one person put it, “They will learn to be bums on bikes.””And now, those very same kids are both alive and thriving. Not only are they taking math and science classes, but they’re taking ADVANCED math and science classes – and excelling. Somehow I get the feeling that our little jaunt on bicycles didn’t jeopardize anything.”
My sons are doing GREAT! We are still homeschooling, but the boys have chosen to take some classes through the local school district. They jumped right into advanced math and science classes and didn’t have any problem at all. In other words, my worrying on the education front were for naught.
5. How did the experience change you as a teacher?
I have not gone back to teaching. We talked about the idea of going back to teaching, but decided we didn’t want to be constrained in that way. I don’t like the emphasis in the schools right now due to No Child Left Behind, and I would have a hard time teaching that way. I’ve gone through a career change, so to speak, and am now writing and speaking about our experiences.
6. What is the best advice you can give a parent who wants to fulfill a dream such as the one you and your family underwent?

Just do it. Make the decision and go. Making the decision is – by far – the most difficult part of the whole thing. Once the decision is made, then the pieces fall into place. The amazing thing is that once you commit to it, the universe conspires to help you. I can’t explain how that happens, but it really does. I’ve seen it over and over and over. Make the decision and go – it really is that simple.

To check out another interview with Nancy on, click here.

Writers who I have interviewed on my blog may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own. Their views and opinions are purely their own and do not reflect my own thoughts or opinions unless otherwise noted.



  1. Mona aka Mamoo says:

    Hi Becca,
    I loved your interview with Nancy Vogel and you asked the best questions.
    Do you know when her book will be released? I have a few friends that are avid bicyclists and would love to read it.


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