Interview with Nancy Sathre-Vogel

Quite some time ago,a woman asked herself “ What would you do if you were not afraid? “  What followed next was a family journey of epic proportions – a journey of physical challenge, emotional endurance, teamwork, perseverance, and tremendous learning opportunities.


The woman finds herself cycling around the world with her family. Yes. You’re reading that right. That woman, Nancy-Sathre-Vogel traveled around the world with her family on bicycle.

In my opinion, living your life and dreams you the way you want it to be is not always fun, but it will always be amazing.

I was privileged enough to have known Nancy via Internet when she offered me a free copy of her book that records down all of her traveling adventures and misadventures. And amazed and inspired as I was at her courage to take on the world with her family on bicycle after reading her book, ‘Changing Gears’,  I asked if she’d be willing to do an interview with me and she said yes. So here’s my interview with her, hoping that it will inspire you readers out there to not be afraid and take on the world with guts in your own way just the way Nancy did. 😀


Me: Thank you for agreeing to the interview, Nancy. I really do appreciate it. From what I understood from your book, ‘Changing Gear’s, everything is all about getting out of your comfort zone and go further. How do you do that? Who and what inspired you in the first place?


Nancy: Good question. I do believe that life is far richer and more fulfilling if you get out of your comfort zone and do that “scary” thing you dream of. To do it, you just have to decide you want it more than you are afraid of it. Making the decision is the hardest part of the whole thing – once that’s done, it’s just baby steps til you’re there.

As for what inspired me… my husband. I’m not sure why or how, but he came up with the idea to quit our jobs and head out on bikes. I thought he was nuts. Eventually, he managed to convince me to at least take a serious look at the idea and when I did, I realized it was a pretty darn good idea!


Me: How did you find all the time to write the book. Did you write it when you’re on the go?


Nancy: I blogged throughout our journey. One of the requirement for Guinness World Records was that we had a daily diary while on the road. We decided a blog would be the easiest way to keep track of it all. When it came time to write the book, I used my blog to guide me.


Me: Getting our of your comfort zone and travel is one thing. Getting the rest of your family to participate in the craziness is another thing altogether. What was their initial reaction about the idea?


Nancy: Like I said, this was all my husband’s idea. It took a while for me to come aboard. The boys were enthusiastic from the get-go.


Me: Safe is definitely not in your travel-dictionary. Apart from those you’ve written in the book, are there anymore memorable misadventures that you’d like to share with us?

Nancy: Ummm… yeah, there are… a few :)  My husband and I spent a year cycling around Pakistan, India, Nepal, and Bangladesh back in 1990/91. We also took quite a few 3-week trips in various parts of the world: Yemen, Mali, Israel, Egypt, and others. And then we took a one-year bike trip around the USA and Mexico with our children when they were in third grade. Perhaps the biggest misadventure came in Nepal. We ditched our bikes for a while in order to trek in the Himalayas. It took us two weeks to read the final hut before the pass. From there, we planned to hike and up and over the pass in one day, to reach another hut on the other side. By the time we reached the pass, however, we were in the middle of a full-blown blizzard with about ten feet of visibility. We decided it was too dangerous to go down the other side because we didn’t know where we were going and couldn’t see the trail; we turned around and went back to the hut. We ended up stranded at over 15,000 feet for more than a week before we could wade through eight feet of snow. It was a cold, cold week!


Me: There are plenty of people out there who wishes to travel but dare not get out of their comfort zone enough to see the world. Do you have any advise for those who want to start travelling or cycling around the world?


Nancy: The only way to overcome your fear is to do it. Amazingly, the closer you come to what you feared, the more you realize that it’s not that scary after all. Start taking short trips that are just barely out of your comfort zone – maybe take a tour where you are protected and don’t have to make many decisions on your own. Then take a tour, but stay an extra day or two. Eventually, you’ll figure out that it’s really quite easy.


Me: In terms of funds during travel, do you have any advise for those travellers on how they should manage their funds when they are on the lows while they are in a foreign country?


Nancy: There are ATMs everywhere, so we don’t carry cash at all. We get enough local currency from the ATM for the next week or so. That part of travel is very, very easy nowadays – it used to a pain!


Me: What are your future plans regarding to cycling around the world with your family? Are there any places that you wish to visit but haven’t manage to do so?


Nancy: We have no big plans at this point. John and I had given our children many experiences in their lives – we lived as expats in Ethiopia, Taiwan, and Malaysia when they were small. We spent a total of four years traveling on bicycles. What we hadn’t given them was the chance to put down roots and be a part of a greater community. For now, we are living in Boise, Idaho, and our sons are loving it here. They are homeschooled, but have chosen to take a few classes through the public schools. They are involved in Boy Scouts and are on a robotics team. Davy runs track and cross country; Daryl is on the swim team. Those things would not be possible if we were traveling.


Me: Any plans for the next book?

Nancy: My next book will not be a memoir, but a book about roadschooling – educating children while traveling. It will be full of helpful ideas and have interviews with many travelers who are bringing up their children while traveling full-time.


Me: Any tips and resources you’d like to share, especially on planning the travel and the budgeting part for those who would like to cycle around the world with their family?


Nancy: For those who want to ride a bike around the world, I would say they should head out for an overnighter. Use the bikes they have, strap some bags to the bikes, and go. It’s amazing what you’ll learn in that one little experience! For their next outing (maybe four days?) they will know a LOT more than they did. They will decide that certain cycling items will come in very handy. Each short trip will add knowledge to the bank. Bike touring has a very steep learning curve, but it’s short. It doesn’t take long to learn everything there is to know. On the financial side – be aware that traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s all in the choices you make. You can stay in 5-star resorts for a lot of money, or rent an apartment for a month for not so much. We traveled on our bikes for around $1500/month for basic day-to-day expenses. We also allocated an additional $500/month for one-off things like going to the Galapagos Islands or Machu Picchu.


Me: Last but not least do you have any words of encouragement for those aspire to be like you?


Nancy: I’m not sure being like me is a good thing :)  Really, all I can say is to dream big, then make it happen. You have it within yourself to do it. Once you make the decision, the universe will conspire to help you.

In my humble opinion, Nancy was truly an amazing and courageous woman. I’ve read the book she’s written and here’s what I thought  I’d recommend the book to you readers too at the same time. Here’s what I thought about her book:

This book was written like a journal, and the author includes small map insets to track their progress as each segment of the family’s travels is documented. The book was really easy to read, and if you’re looking for something that will allow you to escape to another world without having to leave your home, you might want to pick up this book. Her candid style reveals that the Vogels, while extraordinary in this feat, are really just an ordinary family. I don’t usually read travel books, I found that they are rather impersonal and emphasized too much on educating the readers on places and whatnot, but not this book. I enjoyed ‘Changing Gears’ by Nancy Sathre-Vogel very much and I found myself wishing that there’s more by the time I reached the last page. Very inspiring to say the least, and I’d highly recommend this book for those who wants to be inspired to live their dreams. There’s plenty of things you can learn from this book. Overall, the book is a very enjoyable read and I’d easily rate it a 4 star.


If you folks are interested to get to know Nancy, you may follow her adventure, tips and get some insight HERE on her blog. And if you’re interested in buying her books, just hop over HERE and take a look. 😀




    • Cleffairy says:

      It’s my pleasure, Nancy. I enjoyed reading your book. It’s definitely a keeper and I found myself reading it twice in one sitting! 😀 Your story is amazing, and I love how you put your travel into perspective!

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