MOUNTAIN STREAM HOSTEL, YANGSHUO – We were rushing for a bus today.

I was carrying Penny on my back. Kate and the boys were pulling the luggage. I was walking as fast as I could. Kate and the boys were behind me, struggling to keep up.

“Gotta catch that bus,” I thought. I pressed forward…

That’s when I tripped on my shoelace.

Last Stop in China

Greetings from Yangshuo! Another long travel day today… three buses and a tuk-tuk… but we made it to our new hostel. It has a swimming pool, a ping-pong table, a foosball table, a pool table, and lots of board games. I think we’re going to like it here…

Our beds cost $3 a night.

We’ll catch our breath here for a few days, explore the karst formations, and then head to Hong Kong on the bullet train. This will be our last stop in China.

Yangshuo is a small town in southern China. Here’s the view from our room…


The view from our room in the small town of Yangshuo, our last stop in China

Never Again

Back to the shoelace story.

As we approached the bus, a ticket tout approached me, probably wanting to sell us a private tour. “Hello,” she said, just as I tripped on the lace.

Her voice turned to a scream as I suddenly hurtled toward the sidewalk with Penny on my back.


When I stood up again, Penny was hanging upside down by one leg (I didn’t let go of her), but otherwise we weren’t hurt. Just a little embarrassed. The tout didn’t bother us any further, and we caught the bus with plenty of time to spare.

“I’m never letting you carry me again, Daddy,” Penny said.

Here we are on one of the buses and the tuk-tuk…


Penny safely on the bus after a scary tumble


Kate and our son Dusty on the tuk-tuk

Not much else to report today. So I’ll sign off now and catch up with the others. Oh, and I’ll tie my shoelaces better next time…

– Tom Dyson

P.S. Here’s another random story from today:

We were looking for a restaurant earlier when we saw a person lying in the street. It was a busy street. Big trucks and buses were rumbling past, close to running him over. “What’s he doing?” I said to Kate.

As we got closer, we saw he was a child of maybe 12 or 13 years.

We looked around. The locals just smiled and shrugged. No one seemed to care. Was this normal? Some sort of prank? Or a scam?

He seemed to be upset… like he was having a temper tantrum. Was he autistic?

We didn’t know what to do. We kept walking. When we looked back a few moments later, he was gone…

In Rwanda, we saw a gang of boys throwing rocks at a goatherd boy from an embankment. And in Egypt, we saw some kids beating a donkey with a cane.

We didn’t know what to do in those situations either.

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


Kind words from readers after Tom shared his experience homeschooling Penny, Dusty, and Miles on the road

Reader comment: I hope you continue to homeschool your children. They are our greatest gifts. As you come to the end of your journey, let me take this time to commend you on taking it and the inner fortitude, ethics, and honor you are showing your children.

Reader comment: I am a former teacher, and you could not give your children a better education! The academics will fall into place, but this trip is an invaluable education.

There was a time I wanted to set up a traveling school with another teacher and take kids around the U.S. so they could learn geography, history, home economics (cooking for the group), physical education through hikes and such, and whatever else we could give them for one year of high school. We never could get it off the ground.

Kudos to you for giving your children the world! What memories they will have, and their education is top-notch!

Reader comment: As a Suzuki violin teacher, I had a college student whose mother started him at 2-3 in Japan and forced him to practice four hours a day. He cried every day. She finally let him quit at 10. He is happy he did it because he taught himself classical guitar and his fingers could move fast so easily. But the stress was overwhelming.

Your kids will be so well-rounded, it is hard to imagine the vast knowledge they are internalizing. Their brains are like sponges. Kudos to you and Kate!

Tom’s response: Thanks for the encouraging messages! Kate and I read every one. Keep writing us at [email protected].

Please note I’ll never reveal your identity or include any potentially identifying details if I decide to publish your question or comment.