WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – Last year, we went on the most epic hike…

We were in Egypt… in the Sinai Peninsula… somewhere near the border with Israel. We were staying in a Bedouin camp… 

The Bible says God revealed the Ten Commandments to Moses in these parts. And the landscape looked just as you’d imagine: red, rocky, barren, and mountainous.

We hired a guide. His name was Farhan. He looked like he’d come straight from the pages of the Old Testament. Except beneath his white robe, he wore a pair of sneakers.

imageFarhan, our guide, leads the way

We set off into the mountains at dawn. I carried Penny on my back. Eventually, we crossed the ridge and came to a high plateau.

Our guide led us over the hills and around the red, rocky outcrops to an ancient stone cottage nestled in a secret grove of almond trees. It had been in his family for generations. 

imagePenny and Farhan share a piece of bread

We picked almonds while our guide made lemongrass tea over a little fire.

We basked in the sun for several hours, munching on almonds, drinking tea, climbing boulders, and throwing rocks.

imageWe basked in the sun for hours

Then we went home… back to our camp down in the valley…

The sun set while we descended. It was the most beautiful sunset I’d ever seen.

And even though we’d walked for more than eight hours on treacherous little donkey paths up and down mountains, eating only almonds and apples (and a little bit of bread), the kids didn’t complain at all.

When we started our round-the-world trip two years ago, the kids hated hiking, and they’d complain bitterly about it.

That day, they were still scrambling up and down the boulders long after the sun had gone down…

Here we are at sundown. The mountains turned to gold and started glowing…

imageWith Kate and the kids, waiting for the sun to set

One of the things about our trip was, it really strengthened the kids’ mental toughness.

I have a friend who takes his kids on a camping trip every year. He makes sure the kids feel cold, hot, tired, and hungry at least once every day.

I understand now why he did this…

– Tom Dyson

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Well wishes for the Dyson family… preparing for an all-American road trip to Alaska.

Reader comment: Dear Tom, I’ve been following you for awhile now, and was excited you are coming to my neck of the woods. Would love to meet you and your family. We live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Would be happy to take you on a float down the Kenai River. Wishing you a wonderful trip up the Alcan, and a great stay in our incredible state.

Reader comment: Hello, glad to hear you are going to Alaska. I have always dreamed of making the trip. I live in Alberta. If you need help, advice or local knowledge I would be happy to help. I think we are about a good day’s travel from your brother’s home. Safe travels.

Reader comment: Thanks for your letters, they are very interesting. My suggestion for your trip – go through the Bitterroot Valley in Montana on your way to Alaska. My wife and I homeschooled our kids as they grew up here. It is a great location and definitely qualifies as one of those “boltholes.” Homeschooling is the greatest gift you can give your kids and your family.

Reader comment: Hi. Been reading your newsletter for quite some time and enjoying it. If you’re coming to Alaska, it would be helpful if you get the book The Milepost. You’ll find it at Costco for the best price. Research it to see how travelers need it. Have fun.

Tom’s note: Thanks for all of your kind notes! Please keep writing us at [email protected].