7 SAGES HOSTEL, XI’AN – I’m writing to you from our hostel.
Kate and the kids are on the bed doing their schoolwork. I’m sitting at the little desk, writing to you in pencil. We are having a rest day.
Here we are in the hostel courtyard…
With Kate and the kids at our latest rest stop in Xi’an
Seventeen months ago, we left Florida. We’ve been winging our way around the planet, dragging our three kids and a little suitcase behind us.
We’re currently in China, in a megacity called Xi’an. Here’s a picture of Xi’an’s skyline I took yesterday…
The skyline in Xi’an, in Northwest China. It’s one of the country’s oldest cities
Family bonding is the greatest benefit of this trip, but we’re still having a great time exploring everything else.
We’ve seen the Pyramids and the Taj Mahal, and yesterday we saw the Terracotta Army.
We’ve ridden in a hot air balloon over Cappadocia in Turkey, surfed sand dunes in the Sahara, and swam in the Colorado River. We’ve crossed four continents now, and we’ve made an effort to see all the big tourist attractions we’ve come across.
In a couple of days, we’ll see the Great Wall of China.
But we’ve also done other non-touristy things that have been just as memorable – like volunteering at a school in Rwanda and meeting acid attack victims in India.
Travel days are fun too. Taking long-haul bus and train trips, wrestling with the subways and taxis in a new city, and dragging our little suitcase through the streets as we hunt for our new accommodation.
But the best part is arriving at our new lodgings.
The kids love this part. They run through the door and explore the new space, opening doors and turning on lights and choosing beds. They never lose their sense of wonder for arriving at a new place.
Then, when we need a break from all the adventures, we take a rest day. We sit around in our hostel or apartment watching films, playing cards, or catching up on our sleep. When we’re hungry, we get food, and that’s the only thing we do all day.
We call these days taking a vacation from our vacation. Like today.
Tourist days, travel days, rest days… On this trip, there are never any bad days… They are all fun.
I used to wake up in the morning with a terrible sense of dread and foreboding. I think it’s what they call “anxiety.”
But these days, I wake up in a good mood, every morning. And I think it’s because this sabbatical has stripped away all the stress and anxiety that accumulated in my everyday life over the last 20 years.
Spending a year having fun gave me a complete stress reset. A regular vacation wouldn’t have cut it. Vacations aren’t long enough. I think it needed to be at least several months long.
And now, where I had stress and anxiety, in their place, I feel motivation and enthusiasm. I’m straining at the leash like a puppy to get back to work. And I’m feeling more creative than ever.
I wish I’d done this years ago.
Tonight, we went to the night market. We came across this street sculptor. He is missing both his arms, but he’s still able to make clay models that he sells to children from his box.
He gave the kids a powerful lesson in overcoming handicaps.
– Tom Dyson
P.S. A neighborhood coal burner a few miles from our hostel…
Readers write in about Tom’s decision to travel with Kate… gold and silver miners… and a potential stint on the Travel Channel for Tom and family…
Reader comment: Enjoying the heck out of your postcards. Thanks for your daily missives. I’m learning a lot!
Reader comment: I’m loving your Postcards From the Fringe and identifying with each and every one of your adventures. Your family will remember these experiences for many years to come and will have gained so much from them. Congratulations also for including your ex-wife in the adventures. That is truly heartwarming.
Reader comment: Thank you for sharing your travel experiences with us in a daily report aptly named a postcard! I find it cool and brave that you set off on a world tour with your family.
I am convinced that these experiences will shape the minds of your children more than anything else and that they will remember this trip forever. Also a great bonding experience for the family, eh?
Safe travels – and I am curious as to where you’ll end up after getting back to the U.S. and a “normal” life.
Reader comment: I wish you and your family a safe trip to the end of your journey. Please keep sending your postcards to educate and entertain us all. Thank you.
Reader comment: I enjoy your writings, but more so it is that I appreciate you doing all of this with/for your kids, who will immensely benefit from their travels when they get older.
Reader comment: You mentioned that you plan to write a book based on your travel adventures. Would probably make a fascinating movie with voiceovers by you and the family. I can imagine the Travel Channel throwing money at you already.
Love the postcards. Keep ’em coming.
Reader question: I love your postcards, both re: China and re: investing in gold and silver. How do you feel about investing in gold/silver streaming companies, such as Franco-Nevada, Sandstorm Gold, Wheaton, etc.?
I have stocks in all of these companies, as I’ve heard that investing in them is more lucrative than investing in physical gold. And it’s much less of a hassle than storing gold coins.
Tom’s response: I own some royalty and streaming companies in addition to physical gold, not instead of it.
Questions, comments? Keep them coming at [email protected].