EXECUTIVE APARTMENT, BALTIMORE – This time a year ago, 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.
Farhan, our guide, leading the way somewhere near the Egypt-Israel border
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.
Penny and Farhan share a piece of bread by Farhan’s old family cottage
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.
We basked in the sun for hours
Then we went home… back to our camp down in the valley…
Mountains Turned to Gold
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, 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…
With 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…
Writing by Hand
Greetings from Baltimore…
Today I’m writing to you from the Enoch Pratt Free Library on Cathedral Street.
Kate and the kids are reading books in the Children’s Library downstairs. I found a seat at one of the long tables in the Humanities section and I’m writing this message by hand in my notebook while other library users mill around me…
Here we are in the children’s area…
Dusty, Penny, and Miles in the Children’s Library
In a minute we’ll go and have lunch at Cozy Corner, a neighborhood lunch nook that’s been around for years. Then we’ll wander home past the Washington Monument, the Peabody Institute, Mount Vernon Place, and over to our little apartment…
“We’re living in such a great place,” says Dusty. “There’s a hospital around us, a college, a train station, a concert hall, and a prison.”
Behind These Postcards
I started writing these postcards as a way to let my friends and family know that we were safe when we were in India.
India is a difficult place to travel, especially for families. It’s dirty, unruly, crowded, and very poor. Everyone who goes there for the first time gets sick. We were in India for four months and didn’t see a single other traveling family. Everywhere else in the world, we saw many.
Later I started publishing these postcards through Bonner & Partners. They started going out to a much larger audience.
For reasons I still do not properly understand, these postcards triggered an avalanche of letters wishing us well, congratulating us, supporting us, encouraging us, and worrying about us.
I’ve been publishing as many of these letters as I can. You’ll find more in today’s mailbag.
(We have hardly received any snarky or critical mail. Perhaps someone in the Florida office is censoring them from me?)
I haven’t said this before because I haven’t known how to. But your letters motivate me in a way I’ve never felt before as a writer. And I’m eternally grateful for them. And so is Kate. (I often read them aloud to Kate and the kids at the dinner table.)
I find your questions useful, too. They give me the ideas I need to write these postcards every day.
Please keep ‘em coming! You can write us at [email protected]. And thank you for all the support and encouragement you’ve sent our way. It’s kept us going on the toughest days…
(My friends and family tell me the Mailbag is their favorite part of my postcards. So not only do your letters uplift Kate and me, they’ve become a central pillar of this project.)
– Tom Dyson