If I have ever seen magic, it has been in Africa.

– John Hemingway (Canadian-American author)

MEDICINE HAT, ALBERTA, CANADA – 18 months ago we hit the “restore factory settings” button on our lives.

We sold or donated our valuables. We threw out everything else. And we hit the road on a very spontaneous and (very) unplanned journey. (I told the story behind that decision the other day.)


Throwback picture from our boat trip to Lake Kivu last year. Lake Kivu
is one of the
seven “Great Lakes” of the central African basin that
supply the mighty Nile, Congo and Zambezi rivers

After 50,000 miles by road, rail, and air, 29 countries, and hundreds of different apartments/campsites, I have three major observations to share:

  1. I feel closer to my family than I have ever felt before.

  1. I feel the kids are getting the best education we can offer.

  1. This trip, so far, has been a magic pill for my mental health problems. I’ve had stress/anxiety/depression/insomnia for years. (I wrote about that here.) But since leaving Florida, I haven’t felt any of that. 

Writing From Canada

Greetings from Medicine Hat, Alberta…

48 hours ago we left Osaka, Japan. We’ve crossed the Pacific Ocean, crossed the Rockies, and we’re now in the Canadian Prairies in a small town 800 miles east of the Pacific, near the U.S. border. It’s frozen here and the ground has six inches of snow on it.

It’s been another long travel day and we’re all so jetlagged. 

We saw Mt. Fuji yesterday, out of our train window…


The view of Mt. Fuji out of the train window. Japan was our last stop
before we came back to North America

Penny-Crazed in Rwanda

We spent two months in Rwanda last year.

People stared at us and pointed at us wherever we went. The more adventurous of them (especially children) waved at us, and called out “good morning” or “welcome.” Some even ran up to us and shook our hands or touched our hair.

Once a crowd formed around us. Penny (6) took the brunt of it. They were crazy about her. So they pinched her cheeks and grabbed her, which she (understandably) didn’t like.

Otherwise, people there were very sweet and we felt very safe and welcome.

They got a kick out of the way I carried Penny, too. In their culture, men don’t carry babies. Here we are in Muhanga’s main market. Penny’s taking a quick nap…


People got a kick out of the way I carried Penny when we were in
Rwanda last year. It’s a job reserved for women there…

– Tom Dyson

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


Kind words from readers dominate today’s mailbag, after Tom wrote about Penny’s eight-foot drop out of a bunk bed in India. Many even believe the Dysons got a visit from a guardian angel, based on the way Tom described the fall…

Reader comment: There are obstacles and falls in all our lives. Your daughter is a resilient young girl who still has the ability to absorb and not break. As we age this ability dissipates. Putting this into a term you understand, "the stock market will rebound" either way.

When you return to America seek cranial chiropractic care for your daughter. I wish I was still in NOVA to help you, but now I’m in Sarasota.

This happened many months ago because it’s the first I’m reading about it, and have been following you and your family for many months. Look at a deeper analysis of your daughter’s behavior since the fall. A change in vision, which was written about, but now is there a change in math skills, writing skills, speaking skills, or a possible lisp on certain words?

Reader comment: To me the soft fall is proof of guardian angels. I enjoy “traveling” with you. Beautiful adventure stories.

Reader comment: You occasionally tell us what you want to do once the fringe ends, but never what Kate wants. Perhaps she does not care, or perhaps you are not listening. Referencing emails, you say that your not listening to her destroyed your prior marriage. Is history rhyming? 

Reader comment: I only discovered your trip a few weeks ago and, like everyone else, I am really happy about the turn around in your life… At the mellow age of 91 it isn’t something I would want to do, but I’ve always enjoyed seeing people do things like this and love it… I recall being associated with you in some stock adventures a few years ago, and I hope it turned out better for you than it did for me. I’m hoping you find many rainbows ahead of you and many happy days.

Reader comment: Like almost everyone else, I am enjoying, and am grateful for, your daily musings. But please refrain from giving the more radical or deluded readers the oxygen of being quoted. Your guy who penned the rant about WWII and who clearly knows no history other than what he has read on the “conspiracy theory” sites, should not be quoted as if he is the expert. I won’t go into detail now, but almost everything he says is wrong, or the timing is distorted.

Reader comment: Like you I’m a big fan of gold. I’m a bit of a chicken, so in ’03/’04 I put a big chunk of my portfolio into gold and silver in various forms. So far it’s served me well. I consider it my savings. And like you, I can’t help but think the money printing isn’t going to stop anytime soon… so I’m happy to keep my savings in gold. If you’re in the Edmonton area when you’re visiting your brother please let me know. I’m enjoying the postcards!

Reader comment: I have enjoyed reading about your family adventures and seeing the photos. Really incredible what you have accomplished. Your beautiful children are the right ages for this trip – when they are older that window of opportunity closes.

I read about Penny’s fall from the upper bunk. How you described the “soft fall” at the end made me think right away that her guardian angel might have eased that fall – I have heard of this before. Anyway, hope you enjoy the end of your trip together with Kate and the kids. Merry Christmas and a healthy, happy New Year…

Reader comment: RE: “P.S. The way Penny fell onto the floor was… softly. I can’t explain it, but she seemed to float down from the top bunk and land gently. I’m convinced this saved her from a serious head injury.”

I think you witnessed an angel in action without recognizing it. I also had a vivid experience similar to yours. I was sitting on the front porch with my little son, who was about a year old at the time. As he was walking, he lost his balance and fell backwards into a concrete post. Just as you described it, he almost seemed to float backwards, falling slowly and landing softly. It looked the same as if I had been behind him, cupping my hand behind his head as he fell. He laughed, and there was not a mark on him.

I thought this was strange, but later my son was sleeping in his bassinet, which was placed in the hall outside our bedroom. In the morning, my wife (at the time) mentioned how neatly I had wrapped the blanket around him. I looked, and the blanket was neatly tucked around him. But I hadn’t touched the blanket, although I had noticed it was disorderly as I went to bed. There was no one else in the house. With my best to you, Kate and the kids.

Tom’s response: Thank you all for the kind messages. Kate and I find them very encouraging. Please keep writing us at [email protected].