MINI HOTEL CAUSEWAY BAY – Police warn Hong Kong is on the “brink of total collapse,” says the Financial Times today…

“Travel chaos for third straight day,” says the South China Morning Post

“Hong Kong protesters light fires and throw petrol bombs…”

Not Our Usual Destination

Greetings! My family and I are having the experience of a lifetime.

We’ve just finished a two month circuit around China. We found it very easy to travel around China, even though we don’t speak any Chinese. The locals were very friendly, it was cheap and the tourist sites are among the best in the world. It was an incredible trip…

Now we’re in Hong Kong. We don’t normally like big cities and we’ve gone to great lengths to avoid them as we’ve travelled around the world over the last 17 months, but
Hong Kong gets an exception. Especially now…

Forget What You Read in the Papers

Despite the impression you get from the newspapers — and my intentional brush with the protests yesterday — Hong Kong is safe for tourists.

The protests are isolated and in most parts of the city, the streets are crowded with office workers and tourists going about their business.

We’ve been walking around and using the subway system and we haven’t felt threatened or insecure at any time. We haven’t even experienced any transport delays.

In fact, we’re having a great time, there’s a great sense of energy in the city. We’re witnessing history being made.

Today we went into the hills above Hong Kong — using the subway and the bus — and hiked a trail called Dragon’s Head. Here we are overlooking the South China Sea…


Penny (7) and Miles (9) look out onto the South China
from high above the Dragon’s Head trail

Not much more to report today. Tomorrow we’ll go to the city park. Later this week we’ll visit Hong Kong Disneyland.

I’ve written before that Hong Kong tourism is down 50%, so I’m curious to see how busy it is…

– Tom Dyson

Like what you’re reading? Send your thoughts to [email protected].


Tom’s worried mom kicks off today’s mailbag… then we hand it over to readers, who have a different take on Tom’s adventures…

While other readers want to know more about buying gold and silver… what will happen when China devalues its currency against the dollar… and how long we have to wait for the Dow-to-Gold ratio to hit 5…

Comment from Tom’s mother: Are you still in HK? It sounds frightening. Please don’t get involved. I know how you like to be in the midst of it all. I want you all in one piece pls 😥 Mum xx

Reader comment: I really enjoy your messages, I look forward to them. Wish I could do what you set out to do. We had 4 kids and when they were young teenagers we started to take summertime trips. 40 years later, the kids loved those trips and they still talk about them. What you folks have done is enormous… Thanks for sharing it with me. Keep going…

Reader question: I have 2 weeks to discover the far east from Auckland. What would you recommend? It may well be my last chance to do this. Mid-sixties with mobility issues.

Tom’s response: Japan.

Reader comment: Love to read of your adventures. Go forth and prosper! Your life and those of your children is forever changed. God bless.

Reader question: You wrote that China owns 11 trillion dollars of foreign assets. How much of these assets are real assets? Thanks for your great work.

Tom’s response: I don’t know. That $11 trillion figure is the total trade surplus China has run with the world over the past 20 years. The actual value of China’s offshore investments and assets must be much higher. But no one knows what that number really is.

Reader comment: All I can say is! Thank you for letting us live our lives though your eyes! What a pleasure it has been. Your children will be blessed. They have so many things that have been put into place in their minds. Thank you again. Maybe there is a book on the outskirts of your mind! Write it!!

Reader comment: Always expecting letters from you and your adventures with your family, remind me of those times when we really expected physical letters from our loved ones from distant countries. Keep enjoying your sabbatical.

I wonder if instead of giving stocks to my grandkid as a present I can give him gold or silver and what would be better.

Thanks for your time. Keep sending the letters. My family is always eager to read them.

Tom’s response: I’m so happy to hear your family enjoys these letters. It’s such a great compliment.

What about buying some gold or silver coins for your grandkids? They aren’t expensive. And the kids will love how old they are. Just don’t buy anything that’s being presented in commemorative packaging or is being advertised on TV. That stuff is junk.

Best to buy online from one of the big dealers. Compare the price you’re paying for the metal content in the coin with the market price of the metal and don’t pay more than 7% over the market price.

Reader question: I understand that China needs to devalue against the dollar, but that will push the dollar higher, which may then cause a lot of dollar-denominated debt around the world to default, at least according to what I have been reading.

Trump wants a weaker dollar, but if this round of tariff talks fall through, life could get more interesting. Do you agree with this assessment? Or is it too simple?

Tom’s response: The financial system is extremely complex and I’ve largely given up trying to predict the various twists and turns.

All we need to know is there’s going to be a series of recessions over the next decade and central bankers will respond to this with a massive dose of inflation. Gold will outperform stocks.

Reader comment: When you get back to the US, keep to your current half-day work schedule, and keep spending time with Kate and your kids.

It will not be easy – lots of people will want you to work on other things – but you need to keep nurturing what you have built, and there’s nothing else you can do that will bring you greater happiness than having a happy family.

Thanks for sharing your notes from the road!

Reader comment: I enjoy your transparency about past mistakes: it’s a comforting reminder that “I’m not the only one who has been a fool at times.” So, thanks!

About Dow to Gold: 5:1 is a rare event I guess, and I can’t recall an example of when it has happened in my investment lifetime.

When did it last happen? And how many years was the wait, once there were clear signals of a stock market bubble? Let’s define bubble as an average P/E [price-to-earnings] ratio above 18 for the Dow. Your thoughts are appreciated.

Tom’s response: The Dow-to-Gold ratio was last below 5 in 1980. But it got down to 6 in 2009. Here’s the chart…


Reader comment: You and Kate are the greatest parents in the world. The things you are exposing your children to have inestimable value, which will serve them their whole lives. They are learning so much, but most important, “Collect memories, not things”!

Reader comment: I want to thank you for your respect for privacy and its importance in today’s Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, and other power brokers’ QUEST to have complete control of the speech, thoughts, opinions, and actions of every individual on the planet they think they have a chance of controlling.

Your postcards are a delight and an informational treasure trove.

Reader comment: Your children are getting a valuable education in life. Can’t beat that. A real education never ends.

Take a look at the video How the Earth was Made. Fascinating stuff which even most adults don’t know.

By the way I’m jealous you visited the Tesla museum. I admire his amazing genius and contributions to our world.

Tom’s response: Thanks for all the kind messages! Please keep writing us at [email protected]. Kate and I find your notes very encouraging, and we read every one you send us.