Living the Dream: What does it really mean?

hiking the Colorado Trail

Our dream to hike the 500-mile Colorado Trail was a great dream, but not for us.

There’s a lot of talk in cyberspace about living your dream. Live life on your own terms, grab life by the horns and take it for a ride.

But what happens when you discover that the life you thought you wanted isn’t meeting your needs like you thought it would? Then what? Hang on anyway? Or give yourself permission to move on?

That’s precisely where we found ourselves as we hiked the Colorado Trail through the Rockies this summer. As we planned our 500-mile backpack trip we figured we would love being out in the mountains with our backpacks full of tents, sleeping bags, and food. It would be just us and Mother Nature out there in the wild blue yonder.

Yet when we got out there it wasn’t quite as we had envisioned. We knew the journey would be difficult, but didn’t expect the level of traffic on the trail. Mountain bikes whizzed past and we shared the trail with others out for a day hike while we lugged heavy backpacks. Somehow, it wasn’t quite what we had in mind.

And so… what? Do we hang on to some idealized version of our dream and keep going? Or do we accept the reality of what it is and call it off?

In the end, we opted to bail. We realized that long-distance biking is what we enjoy, not so much long-distance hiking. That’s OK. Different strokes for different folks.

Did we fail to live our dream? Not at all. We failed to hike the entire 500-mile Colorado Trail, but we lived our dream. We planned, we packed up, we hiked 200 miles, we learned we weren’t enjoying it, we changed our plan.

Now we need to come up with a new dream. I wonder what that will be?

Have you ever had a dream that ended up not being all you expected? What did you do? Bail or stick with it?

Nancy Sathre-Vogel is Mom to an adventurous family who will try just about anything. Many times, they actually achieve what they set out to do. Their most recent success was biking from Alaska to Argentina, but there have been others too. And some failures in there as well. You can follow their adventures at

Posted by | Comments (3)  | July 10, 2012
Category: Lifestyle Design

3 Responses to “Living the Dream: What does it really mean?”

  1. Scott Says:

    I was on a RTW trip, inspired by Rolf’s book, back in 2009. It was supposed to last a year but only went for seven months. I realized that I only enjoy travelling for up to three months at a time. It got boring. I needed something else to do besides travelling.

  2. Ted Beatie Says:

    “give yourself permission to move on”, that’s a key thing to learn in any tough situation, especially one that you’ve committed resources and emotional energy to.

    A friend of mine just wrote a book, called “Book of the Is: Fail… TO WIN!” and it’s entire premise is that in order to truly succeed, to grow, to learn, to create something out of nothing, there’s a lot of “failure” that happens first, but it’s necessary, and thus, not actually a bad thing.

    I’m sure the experience had its moments, and more respect to you all for deciding that the ideal wasn’t as important as the reality.

    Great to have you back early!

  3. Nancy Sathre-Vogel Says:

    I totally think that in order to succeed you have to fail. If you aren’t failing enough, you aren’t dreaming big enough – it’s that simple!