Maria’s Note: We’re sorry to say Tom’s mom passed away over the holiday break. He’s in London now, organizing the funeral, and won’t be able to write today. Instead, we hope you appreciate this postcard Tom penned back in September, as the Dyson family’s two-year backpacking trip came to an end…

Greetings from northern Idaho. We’re holed up in a beautiful trailer park on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille.

The kids and I do our “work” in the mornings in the community center. And in the afternoon, we play outside. Here we are…


The trailer park

A busy railroad runs along the shore of the lake. Trains come past every 30 minutes or so. Here’s one crossing the lake just north of us…


Busy railroad along the lake shore

As I contemplate the end of our trip, I ask myself, how have I changed?

When we started this trip in May 2018, I was a mess.

I had no job, no income, no home, no connection with my kids, a weak connection with my friends and family, and no significant other. I was close to giving up.

Now, I’ve got a best friend and partner for life.

I’ve got a home (in Driggs, Idaho).

I’m close to my family again.

I do a job I love and receive an income from it.

I’m writing this message to you from under my blankets in the camper. It’s raining. It’s 3 a.m. I’m using a flashlight and writing by hand in my journal.

The others are all asleep. But I can’t sleep. I’ve got too much on my mind tonight…

What have I learned from our trip around the world?

That we only get a few years with our children.

They grow up so fast and then they’re not children anymore. So I must enjoy every moment of this I can and not let anything come between us again… not work, not money, not anything. (Put the phone away, Tom.)

Every decision I make for the next 10 years should come down to this: Does this bring me closer or further away from my family?

Today we swam in the lake. This is probably the last time we’ll swim this summer. We’re nearing the end of September and it’s getting cold…


Our last swim at Lake Pend Oreille

– Tom Dyson

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


Over the holiday break, we shared an essay by Tom, in which he recalled someone calling his Postcards narcissistic. Today, readers conclude Tom is anything but a narcissist…

Reader comment: Tom, you are not in the least narcissistic. Not that I’m any more aware of what that is than you are, but I don’t think so. Maybe in your previous life? It takes real balls to do what you are doing with your family. Enjoying every minute together in the most incredible way, in the most spectacular places around the world!

I know why you settled in Driggs. I used to live in JH and loved getting out of town, over to Grand Targhee. That was in the late ’70s, early ’80s. My… can it snow over there. Anyway, really enjoy living through you and your family in your writings. It’s a catharsis for me. Your brutal honesty is what makes you. It makes you real, and these days that is incredibly refreshing.

Reader comment: Hello Tom. Just catching up on your recent essay after a crazy Christmas for our family and seeing that you have people accusing you of narcissism? And that this is due to you posting pictures of your family while going on great adventures? First of all, this is exactly what we were promised by the internet 25 years ago, the ability to connect to people doing things like this. This is exactly what Twitter, Facebook, and all of social media was supposed to do. It has unfortunately twisted and demolished over time to suit the needs of surveillance and hate.

And even if you could find a shred of narcissism in any of your writing (which I find extremely difficult to do), I see it more as a vulnerability that is giving us a glimpse of things that should be important in our lives. I absolutely loved your reflections on Mt. Rushmore, about the families you have visited throughout the United States, and how your kids manage homeschooling.

Talking about these things and sharing them with the world is not narcissism, it is writing! And it is good to have perspective such as yours as many feel connection through social media outlets and are probably more socially insulated than they ever have been.

I truly enjoy seeing the things you and your family are doing on a regular basis and am so happy for you. As someone else who is overcoming depression, I am so glad for you that you have found a life of substance and value with such a beautiful family. Please continue your travels and continue to write about them as they are truly something to behold. Bless you and your family!

Reader comment: Hey Tom, from one fellow expat (now living in the very costly San Francisco bay area!) to another… I wouldn’t let comments of “narcissism” ring too deep. I’ve never thought anything of the sort, just a fascinating insight into your life and the many different cultures you’ve experienced. That’s true value and an act of great generosity, more like in letting us into your life. And if you gain a few subscriptions for your knowledge and efforts, then so much the better. I’ve so enjoyed your including us strangers in your life.

Reader comment: Love your cards… keep them up! The perfect example of narcissism has occupied the White House for the past four years. We in the States have experienced our media “normalizing neurosis” during this time. I don’t think you have to worry about having that label attached to you for writing your Postcards!

Please keep sending your thoughts to [email protected], so Tom can answer your questions when he returns from London.