Nancy over at Family on Bikes has been raising some interesting questions about following dreams, especially family bike dreams. For those of you who haven't yet met the amazing Vogel Family, this is the mom, dad and two boys who cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina and are now motivating other would be family travellers to go for it.
Responding to a reader's comment on her blog about the relationship between wealth and dreams-- "Fact is, you must either inherit funds, or have had the opportunity to earn or win funds some way, somehow. Either way, it’s money that’s freedom. If you don’t have it, like it or not, one can dream all one wants to, but no dream will come true” -- Nancy's been asking the rhetorical question, "Can only the wealthy live their dream?"
Of course it depends what your dreams are and how you intend to pursue them. Quitting your desk job and biking around the world requires planning and funds--especially when you are riding with kids. Riding to work on a winter bike to fulfill a dream of year round commuting also requires planning and funds, but on a different scale.
Years ago (and I do mean years) when Derek and I were on our European cycle touring honeymoon, I remember riding with commuter bike traffic in a small town outside Amsterdam. Seeing Dutch Mamas biking in their elegant work clothes, with kids on the front and the back of their bikes sparked a dream for me. The first part of that dream was becoming a mom. The second part was riding around with the kids on my bike, sharing that freedom and fresh breeze and the daily two wheeled dance with them. Every time we ride anywhere together -- a friend's house, school, the grocery store, a campground -- I am living that dream. And I can tell Derek feels the same way. When we ride as a family, he and I both want the kids to ride on our bike -- mostly we compromise by each taking one kid. It might be a heavier ride or a slower ride, but it's just so much more fun to share the ride.
Turns out the cargo bike dream is a common dream and piles of folks are pursuing this exact dream in their daily lives. Right now Liz Canning is creating a crowd-sourced documentary on this dream: "(R)Evolutions Per Minute: Cargo Bikes in the US." If you haven't already seen the trailer, take a moment to check it out. It's about how riding a bike isn't just good for the environment or your bank account but good for your soul.
Speaking of dreams and wealth and the relationship between the two, a few months ago I was at a talk given by Kevin O'Leary, the fiercest dragon on the Dragon's Den. Put on by The Ottawa International Writers' Festival, O'Leary was promoting his new book, Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money and Life. Whatever you may think about the controversial O'Leary and his ethics or lack thereof, the fact remains that he is extremely wealthy. One of the more interesting points O'Leary made that evening is that the primary privilege of his current hard-earned wealth is his freedom to choose how he spends his days. O'Learly values his time much more than his money. I thought that was an interesting point because most of us can award ourselves a degree of that dreamy choosing-how-we-spend-at-least-some-of-our-days-freedom without becoming ruthless investors, missing out on most of our children's childhoods or aquiring significant wealth. If you've already got time, maybe you don't need much money.
Riding around town with your kids in a cargo bike is a cheap but fulfilling dream that hasn't lost its lustre years later. Someday we may follow in the Vogel's tire tracks, rent out our home and bike off into the sunset as a family to pursue that other dream. But right now we're having too much fun becoming deeply engaged in our work, neighbourhood, community and family life to want to make that big a change to our dreamy routines.
May all your holiday dreams--bikey and otherwise--come true!