FLIPFLOP LOUNGE HOSTEL, CHENGDU – They call these “Mobikes” or “bike sharing.” They’re everywhere, almost a nuisance. You rent them with an app on your phone for about 15 cents an hour.

Are all these bikes a sign of economic development and progress?

Because I see a failed business strategy, lost money, defaulted loans, and a bunch of bicycles about to be swept up and taken to a junkyard…

Outside the Matrix

We live out of a suitcase. We hop from town to town, hotel to hotel, guesthouse to guesthouse. We have no home to go back to. We have no place to be. We’re modern American gypsies, living outside the matrix.

We’re currently in a city called Chengdu, in central China, staying in a hostel for $27 a night and sleeping in bunk beds. We’ll stay here a few days, and then we’ll go somewhere else…

After China, we go to Hong Kong, then Japan, then Vancouver, where we’ll complete our loop of the planet. That would have been the end of our trip, but we love living like this so much, we’re thinking of living like this permanently…

– Tom Dyson


Reader comment: I have a dream of someday taking our whole family on a sabbatical like you have done. I just wanted to let you know how inspiring and motivational your family’s adventures have been! I hope you’re having a wonderful time.

Tom’s response: There’s something really special about hanging out with the people you love most in the world, with no work or school or friends to distract you, all working toward a common but challenging goal, like traveling around the world.

Reader comment: I am so enjoying your writings about your family sabbatical from the “rat race,” Q&A feedback, prognostications on the U.S./global economy, etc. I find your email updates enthralling. Props to you for your courage and conviction.

Reader comment: I’m enjoying your adventure. And I wish for the re-glueing of your family to be a success.

Reader comment: Fantastic email. I admire the willingness to seek out new experiences. And double fantastic to hear that you and your wife are putting the family back together again. Bon voyage!

Reader comment: I was wondering where have you been for the past year. I really enjoyed the Palm Beach Letter when you were there. Your writings were awesome. I am sure I will also enjoy Postcards From the Fringe. Nice to see you back, and good luck with your traveling!

Reader comment: Very interesting family. Would like to hear more about your travels. I wish we somehow would have been able to teach our six kids at home. I will look for more of your family’s traveling adventures.

Reader question: It’s fascinating to see what you are up to. It’s probably many people’s dream. How do you pay for your travels? It’s certainly refreshing to hear that there are people like you who actually live their dream instead of just talking about it. All the best!

Tom’s response: We put aside dollars to pay for this trip. They’re in a bank account in Florida. In 16 months of traveling across Africa, Europe, India, Southeast Asia, etc., we have not had an issue withdrawing money from ATMs.

Reader comment: Your postcards are GREAT. I really enjoy reading them and experiencing your adventures.

Reader comment: According to Doc Eifrig, the gold-to-silver ratio is way off, and when it corrects, you will make more money in silver than gold. I’d love to hear your input on this issue. If you are ever in Utah, you and your family are welcome to stay at our place.

Tom’s response: Thanks for the message and the kind invitation!

I agree with Doc about silver. I also have a large allocation to silver. Very happy to see it starting to rise. Have you seen the chart of the Dow-to-Silver ratio? It’s a beautiful chart.

Reader comment: I have read with great interest your experiences and observations about your time thus far in China. Having lived here for eight years, I still scratch my head about the things I see. If Wuhan is on your itinerary, it would be great to meet with you. My home is big enough to accommodate your clan.

Tom’s response: Thank you for the thoughtful message and your kind invitation. If we pass through Wuhan, I’ll definitely get in touch…

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