COAST AIRPORT HOTEL, VANCOUVER, CANADA – Greetings from Vancouver! We’ve now officially traveled around the world.
I’m writing you from a cheap hotel room at Vancouver Airport. The kids are watching cartoons nearby. Kate is packing. I’m writing by hand at the little desk.
Not much to report today. And it’s been a long day. I’ll write more tomorrow. But if you’re wondering how this story started, you’ll want to read Monday’s postcard in the meantime…
I wrote about how Kate saved my life two years ago. She was the one who pushed me to leave my home in Florida and explore the world.
A few weeks later, while I was in South Africa, Kate brought up the idea of a road trip. She was thinking about hiring a camper and taking the kids on a trip to see U.S. national parks. We’d been divorced for five years, living separate lives with separate partners, but I offered to join her…
We’re getting remarried soon, now that our circumnavigation of the globe is over. (Our first one, at least.)
How did Kate’s boyfriend at the time feel about us traveling together without him? I often wondered that, but I didn’t want to pry. Kate opened up about it on Monday…
– Tom Dyson
P.S. This is Miles on the bench at the Vancouver Airport bus stop a couple of hours ago, overcome by jet lag…
After a long day of traveling, Miles had to lie down at the airport
While other readers turn to the Dyson family’s travels over the past two years – and the nudge from Kate that started it all…
Reader comment: In 1954, a G.I. from South Korea went on R&R to Kobe, Japan. While there, he walked out of a bar, forgetting his cigarettes and lighter. Some months later, on another R&R, he drifted into that same bar. Mama-san smiled, went to her office, and came back with his cigarettes and lighter.
Reader comment: Thanks for sharing your travel journal. Enjoyable reading. I was Vagabondus americanus for most of my adult life (I’m now 77). I know very well the difficulties of returning after a long time on the road. I wish you good luck on your reentry.
Reader comment: Indeed the day of the Nagasaki bombing ended WWII. A day I rejoiced and thanked the pilot… not in person, but silently in my head, with a prayer for God to bless him that he dared to drop that bomb and follow his instruction with an obedience worthy of a true soldier. Yes, it killed a few Japanese, but it saved millions of their POWs, which I was one of them.
I just had buried my grandmother that had raised me after the death of my mother. Three weeks before our liberation from a tyranny most people nowadays can’t even imagine. After four years of imprisonment under a barbaric Japanese camp commander, my grandmother died, completely exhausted, of hunger edema. I am 88 now and was just 14 then. That was not the end of my misery.
After being liberated, after about five or six months, a revolution broke out in the Dutch East Indies. I was back in prison camps, but this time by the Indonesians, for another two years before we were liberated again by an English (Gurkha) detachment. Just before the independence of Indonesia became law in 1949, we fled the island back to the Netherlands.
For the years 1947 to 1949, we fled the island of Java for the island of Borneo, where we were kind of safe, until Sukarno’s soldiers started fights there against the Dutch citizens. Many more people from both sides lost their lives. From there, my father, stepmother, siblings, and I fled under army protection back to the island of Java, and from there we were transported back to the Netherlands.
That period of time was known as the exodus of the Dutch. The welcome from the Dutch government was not very welcoming, but thanks to President Eisenhower, we immigrated under a special quota to the United States in 1958. By this time I was married and had two boys. My husband had served in the Dutch Royal Air Force. We found our new home in America. Our boys served this country… one became an Army Ranger, and the other one served in the Navy. Just as you did, I had traveled somewhat around the globe. Would have liked to settle in Australia or New Zealand, but as it worked out, America became our homeland, and it was good.
Our kids gave us grandkids, and our grandkids are giving us great-grandkids. What more can we wish for? And my fear/dislike for the Japanese has lessened. Yet I can not, to this day, warm up to them. But when I hear people say the Japanese Americans were during those days put in camps and mistreated, I silently boil because they had it good, a roof over their heads and plenty to eat. Besides that they got a lump sum to start over again. We got nothing from the Japanese nor the Dutch government for our suffering all those years.
Anyway we are thankful to our Maker… that he protected us and saved us from more harm, led us from despair to a land, not exactly of milk and honey, but relatively safe. And if you are willing to work you could make it. My time on Earth is running out, but if I make it to Heaven, I will look for that pilot to thank him personally.
Reader comment: I’ve enjoyed reading about your travels with your family and soon-to be-remarried-wife, Kate. Your children are getting the best real life education that they would never get in a U.S. school. As far as safety is concerned, that is paramount. Traveling to Muslim countries where you are a stand-out in their culture makes you an infidel.
I’m reminded of two American cyclists who traveled in Iran or Pakistan last year, and sent letters home on how safe it was. They were murdered several days later by militants passing by in a car. While cheaper living is important to you, these countries are inherently unsafe.
There is no equality of religious beliefs in those countries, and it is naive to think you get a pass because you believe in peace. Safe journey to you all.
Reader comment: I have been reading your posts for several weeks now, and want to congratulate you on your courage to do something different. Your wife must be amazing to first offer to take the kids full time, and second, to let you go on that trip with them. In the process, you have evidently discovered some life-changing experiences.
When I think back to my childhood, I can barely remember any gifts or presents my parents gave me. But I have great memories of camping, my dad coaching my baseball team, and painting with him in the summers (he was a school teacher). I can’t help but be concerned when I see families that we know shower their kids and grandkids with every new iPhone, iPad, AirPods, $500 coats, etc.
Many families have lost sight of what is truly important. Not only are you saving your own life by choosing this new (yet old) route, you are saving your kids’ lives, too.
Reader comment: “She saved my life.” One person near the bottom says it has to be 50-50 in your marriage. It needs to be 100-100 (all in) and you both need the creator of the universe within your relationship.
Reader comment: I am finding Mr. Dyson’s writing and sharing… in such a personal, moving way, to be some of the most powerful communication I’ve seen on the internet. And especially when he includes his ratio of Gold to the Dow discussions. I think they are the most important and valuable concepts, and charts, I’ve ever seen.
Tom’s response: Thanks for all the messages! Your notes are an integral part of these postcards. Please keep writing us at [email protected].