Family on Bikes

A Family Cycles from the Arctic to Patagonia


Boise, Idaho, USA
August 31
Our family of four (with 13-year-old twin boys) dreamed the impossible dream and reached the unreachable star! On March 21, 2011 we pedaled the final mile to arrive at the end of the world in USHUAIA, Argentina! We spent three years cycling 17,300 miles through 15 countries starting in Alaska to get there.


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MARCH 31, 2012 5:00AM

Pearls of Wisdom from Lisa Merrai Labon

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I am honored to have the opportunity to interview Lisa Merrai Labon, a contributing author for Pearls of Wisdom:  30 Inspirational Ideas to Live Your Best Life. This little book featuring best selling author Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul), includes thirty chapters with ideas for grabbing life by the horns and taking it for a ride.

Labon family in Park CityLisa Merrai Labon is a passionate advocate for healing Earth and local communities. As a writer, Lisa has invited her readers to embrace their own lives with conscious intention, exploring community values, health, education and spiritual connections.  She contributed “Take A Family Sabbatical” to the book.

She lives with her family in Park City, Utah and just finished her first novel.

How did you get into this collection of inspiration with folks like Jack Canfield?

I heard about it from Renee Baribeau, a dear friend and fellow author.  She knew that we had done some radical things as a family and that I am a huge life transformation advocate. I was thrilled to have my chapter selected as one of the 25 new authors.

What is your chapter about?

Labon family leaving SFI wrote about how taking a family sabbatical can change your life in surprising and meaningful ways.

What do you think makes this book unique and who would want to read it?

I am impressed by the overall brilliance and experience captured by the publisher with this group of passionate writers, thinkers and doers. I know that many people are looking for inspiration and catalytic ideas to get on track pursuing their life purpose. This book will offer that for those who find it.

What kind of wisdom do you have to offer the reader?

I offer my own experience jumping off the hamster wheel of modern life to reflect, rediscover and renew our values as a family. As a mother to four children I know what it’s like to uproot and parent from the earliest years to the teen years. I’ve lived to tell about it. I’m also a wife and a friend to many who are actively seeking meaning and purpose.  I know how hard it is to navigate the many roles and responsibilities we all juggle.

The publisher promises that the authors such as yourself are “up and coming” leaders in self-help.  How does the publisher know this and what is your expertise in “self-help”?

Innovators, catalysts and cultural creatives are often leading the fray. I fearlessly fly into the realm of “what if” on a regular basis and love to write about my discoveries. I began writing about our family adventures and travel several years ago. Inevitably, my thoughts and words were entwined with health, the environment, food, social issues and finding meaning in all our relationships. Living a life on purpose, with purpose, is inherently holistic and complex. I’ve been told that I inspire others with my courage and honesty. I am delighted to explore and share what I find along the way.

Most people know about Jack Canfield from the Chicken Soup books and Marci Shimoff from her Happy book … How would you like your readers to think of you? What is your “signature niche”?

I am a spirit writer. I write about the urges of the soul. Mine, ours and yours. Each soul has a mission or purpose; of this, I am certain. Whether I write an article or poem about tangible reality or a fiction novel tracing the silhouette of possibility, I am always singing the soul’s song.

We often hear that the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – how does that proverb apply to the 30 authors in this book?

Each author in this book is innately tapped in to the energy of unity, passion and compassion. Each of us has a chorus line in a wave of awareness cresting modern shores. Surely each of our pearls offers the reader a selection of inspirations to move from thought to action in their own lives.

What is your most central and compelling “pearl of wisdom”?

When you are unsure where to go, just get up and move. Movement is energizing and catalyzing. Ideas flow. Life shifts. Dreams unfold. Even if you have no idea where you are going, if you’ve been stuck, it’s one of the best ways to get unstuck.

At one point in your life you flipped a coin to make a very important decision. Tell us about that.

We left the known and comfortable world of big city San Francisco in the spring of 2009 for what we thought would be at least three years of world travel. We had a plan to spend our first year in a small town in Oregon, a small town in Mexico and a small town in Colorado and then on to Australia/New Zealand and Europe. During all this travel with four kids and two under five, we planned to live out of suitcases and homeschool. I knew it would be a lot of work but I really had no idea. Little children need what they need when they need it so that limited our explorations and necessitated a certain amount of grounding in each place. Grounding means knowing where the grocery stores are, scouting out dangers like scorpions and dagger sized icicles while having some trustworthy childcare so that we (the parents) could explore beyond the four walls of whatever home base was found.

Once we were more than half way through our first year I realized that going on much longer was probably not realistic. One of my older girls was really fighting me on the school work (no fun for either of us) and I was just feeling really exhausted. My husband, Peter and I started to think about finding a new home rather than just traveling for travel’s sake. So it became sort of an obsession for several months, mostly while in Aspen. We had visited a few other places in the Northwest and grilled friends who lived in other areas before realizing that the communities that had the qualities we were after were in fact, mountain towns. That took me a long while to wrap my head around because up until that point, I really thought I’d want to live on a beach or near a beach or ocean. But the compelling assets of mountain communities were hard to ignore: active, outdoor, nature-loving, friendly, family oriented people who chose lifestyle over income.

Given my research background, I started doing spreadsheets to compare the qualities of every community in consideration from schools, to airport access, to local taxes to diversity of infrastructure and population. Finally we narrowed our choice down to Aspen and Park City. Aspen because we had just lived there for four months and fell in love with it and the people we met. Park City because we had skied there for over a decade and it fit our criteria perfectly.

On our drive back to Oregon from Colorado we stopped in Park City for a few days to check it out. Over dinner at Wahso, one of our favorite restaurants in town, we were having our usual debate over the pros and cons of each place with me wanting to throw in the towel and delay the decision further. Peter said he was perfectly happy with either choice and didn’t want to debate any more. He left the decision up to me but I couldn’t bring myself to choose. So I joked, “why don’t we just flip a coin?”

Coin tossPeter said, “Okay. Do it.”

Three flips with a sugar packet all resulted in Park City. I argued that we couldn’t let a sugar packet decide our future so I asked the waiter if he had a coin. I flipped the quarter and it sealed the deal. Park City. 100%.

And that is honestly how we finally chose our new home. I don’t know if it was luck or insanity but we feel like it was the perfect choice.

How can our readers find you?

They can find me at  I will be blogging, sharing news and staying in touch via social media.

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Pearls of Wisdom from Lisa Merrai Labon is a post from: Family on Bikes. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive your free e-book: Bicycle Touring with Children; A Guide to Getting Started.

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