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.

PhotoFarhan, 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. 

PhotoPenny 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.

PhotoWe 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…

PhotoWith 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…

PhotoDusty, 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

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


Tom answers your questions about what kind of gold he likes buying… about doing what’s best for the kids while on the road… and about the top defense (besides gold) against a watered-down dollar…

Reader comment: I envy you and your family’s lifestyle and I am certain that you are giving your children the greatest gifts that parents can give: time together, adventure, and an unequaled education.

I completely concur with your thoughts regarding gold and I would greatly appreciate it if you could advise me how and in what form and from whom to acquire it.

Tom’s response: Start by buying some gold and silver coins from a trusted dealer. Buy whatever coin offers you the most pure gold for your money. They’ll ship them right to your front door.  

Reader comment: I’m in Britain. What’s the best way for me to get my money on the side of gold?

Tom’s response: Buy some gold coins… I like 1-ounce gold Britannias. Choose whatever year that offers you the most pure gold for your money. 

Or if you’d rather not have to deal with physical gold, open an account with one of the gold vault companies. They’ll keep your gold on account. It’s a very easy, efficient way to buy gold.

Personally, I prefer physical gold because I find it easier to hold on to. 

Reader comment: I enjoy your postcards. I am planning on moving my assets to gold and silver. My questions is: How do you feel about owning farm ground, real estate in agricultural production? I am a farmer/rancher and am concerned about what may happen to the value of my property.

Tom’s response: Without knowing your specific situation, I can only give you a very broad answer. But in general, productive, earning farmland should retain its value during inflation (unless it’s already been pumped up by low interest rates and central bank liquidity). I also think cheap, functional starter homes in places like the Midwest or Texas will hold their value during inflation.

The dollar is being watered-down. The best defense is hard money. Farmland counts. So does gold. So does timberland. So does humble “workhorse” property.

What won’t retain its value is what has been inflated over the past 30 years… mainly stocks and bonds. 

Reader comment: I have enjoyed following your exploits and look forward to your postcards. I’ve thought it’s been a great experience for your children. I can see from your photos that you have a very loving family. Your children look very sweet. So glad you asked for notes. I’m happy to put my 2 cents in.

A couple of days ago you commented about taking your little suitcase and setting off again. Maybe you’re looking for a place to settle, but if not… I wonder if you’ve thought about the kids… I would think it’s difficult with no space of their own, no toys or belongings. I’ve wondered how Penny did with no dolls, then I saw that photo today. Will she have to leave them behind again?

Even if kids are homeschooled they need to interact with their peers. What about playing sports? Dance classes? When do they have a chance to learn and explore what interests them? What if you have a musician, a dancer, an athlete? How will they have a chance to pursue a passion, or have the potential of lasting friendships if they rush from place to place? And there’s nothing like having a special outfit to attend a special event. Not even getting into dating down the line, finding a life partner.

Perhaps you’ve thought of all this. And I’m sure your children are doing better than countless others. Whatever you ultimately decide, I’m sure they are much loved and that is ultimately the most important ingredient in a family.

Tom’s response: We think about all this stuff. And we listen carefully to our children. For now, we’re very happy with how they’re growing and developing.

Oh… and we’ll be signing up for many classes in the next year. Tomorrow, for example, we’re going to a gym where the kids can jump, climb, and run around with other homeschool kids.

And remember… Please keep writing us at [email protected]! Kate and I read every note you send us.