Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

I love serendipitous events.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a blog, Family On Bikes, about a family preparing to commence a bicycle journey from the northern most tip of Alaska to the southern most tip of Argentina. I'm always looking for blogs about families who travel extensively with their children, so of course I was intrigued. But then it slipped through my fingers into the never ending depths of the world wide web, and I lost track of the Vogel family.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago, when a local blogger friend posted about a book review opportunity on a Facebook forum for Michigan bloggers. The book sounded interesting, so I contacted the author and told her I would love to review her book. As soon as I started reading, I realized that this was the family from the blog I had read about, and I was excited to be "reunited" with them and read about their trip in its entirety.

I don't have a dream of taking my kids on a bicycle trek from one end of the world to the other. I haven't even been on a bicycle since I was approximately 11 years old. But reading about the Vogel family, chasing their dreams across mountains, fields, rain forests, and international boundaries, I experienced a familiar tug of wanderlust; a longing to go and to feel myself uncoil with freedom to stretch and roam and experience the world.

From beginning to end, Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World, by Nancy Sathre-Vogel, enchanted me and held me captive. I could scarcely tear my eyes away from this inspiring tale about facing down your fears and going after your dreams, impossible though they might seem.

I don't like to give away many details in my book reviews, because I firmly believe you should read those details for yourself. But know this: Changing Gears is full of excitement, dedication, and doubt; and it will inspire you to live your dreams, whether they entail traipsing the globe, switching careers, or going against the grain of what's expected of you, in any way, shape, or form. I came away from this book feeling that if the Vogel family could conquer all of the obstacles they faced and persevere for three years in pursuit of a shared goal, then what am I capable of? What could I accomplish if I took a leap and ignored my fears, paying no mind to the naysayers?

Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World is a beautiful and riveting book. It is available for purchase on Amazon, along with Nancy's previous books:

Twenty Miles Per Cookie: 9000 Miles of Kid-Powered Adventures

Bicycle Touring with Children: A Guide to Getting Started

What Were We Thinking?: Bicycling the Back Roads of Asia (co-authored by Nancy's husband, John Vogel)

One of my favorite messages in the book is that people are good and kind and want to help. If you start moving in the direction of achieving your goals, the universe will place in your path endless resources, including what Nancy refers to as "Road Angels". These are people who helped the Vogel family along in their journey, somehow managing to show up just when they were needed, to offer food, directions, a place to stay, or even a police escort through a busy city.

I can't stress enough how much I loved Changing Gears! If you want to be inspired to live the life you've been dreaming of (and maybe you don't even consciously know that you've been dreaming of it), I encourage you to order this book today! While you're at it, like Nancy's Facebook page and follow her on Twitter, @familyonbikes. They are also working on a documentary, which should hopefully be released soon because I can't wait to see it!  **UPDATE** The DVD is out! Click HERE to order!

The Vogel family in the Andes

Just one more thing.

Nancy has agreed to an interview for MichiGal, and I'd love to know if YOU have any burning questions for her? Leave me a comment of let me know on Facebook or Twitter!

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