To move or not to move

Nomad Family flying AirAsia

When we set out on a journey of location independence we knew we were experiential learners. We knew how to research and investigate our options. However no amount of research can outweigh 'on the ground' experience.

So here we are. Having visited various places in SE Asia and knowing that the only thing holding us back from living longer term in either Thailand, Bali or perhaps the Philippines is the climate.

And now we bought tickets to Africa. Specifically South Africa. We've been there before... Ten years ago. When the internet wasn't required for daily life (but since we're early adopters it was a weekly staple).

Things are different now.

We have 4 kids.

We need internet daily. And of a specific quality enough to have video calls.

But how different are things in South Africa? We were robbed when we were there ten years ago.

Friends of ours have been car jacked.

Is it safe to bring cute innocent kids into ZA?


Then there's the question of can we afford this trip? Connex has had the lowest two months of it's 4 years and things are beginning to get really tight.

We're only 3 months into this trip. We've been able to cash flow this entire trip but are now needing to dip into savings not to live off from but for plane tickets.

What happens if Connex cannot recover? What happens if we don't land another client or two? Should we move to South Africa? Will we look back on this decision as a mistake?

Paul's Issues

When it came time to purchase tickets to leave the US, I was really anxious.

When it came time to purchase tickets to leave the Philippines I was really anxious.

When it came time to purchase tickets to leave Thailand I was really anxious.

See a pattern? I'm typically one for change and moving and trying new things out, experimenting and such. But somehow I have a fear of the unknown and committing to it. And I'm right there again. This time it's worse. We've experienced bad internet and the word on the street is that South Africa's internet isn't as good as our research has lead us to believe.


Typically we're able to find cheap housing through airbnb and other similar sources. Due to the fact that we need multiple rooms and we're not on vacation we look for houses or villas or apartments. However we're finding very limited choices in South Africa.

We know we can live for cheap there, but is it actually cheaper here in Thailand?

Why are we leaving?

Basically because we know as much as we love Thailand neither it, nor anywhere in SE Asia, will be our home base for now.

So we have no idea what the future holds. Things can dramatically change in the span of 24 hours, a couple of clients/revenue and some housing and viola we're in a really good spot again.

But for now I continue to remember and rely on words a friend of ours spoke: "What is so bad about returning to the States broke and penniless?" I know I can get a "regular" job, but I also know I'm not cut out to be an employee anymore. I enjoy the freedom of building a business and choosing my work.

The Good Things

We're looking forward to more exploring and see new wildlife.

We're looking forward to being closer to US timezones so I don't have both midnight and 4am calls anymore.

I'm looking forward to better networking with locals. The networking in SE Asia is all with other Expats or startups. Networking with local business entrepreneurs/web developers might bring in more potential clients.

We're planning on being in ZA for a couple of months. It'll be nice to "settle" for a bit and experience stability.

Tickets Purchased

Despite all this trepidation and concern I trust that God will provide. Indeed he has in wonderful ways and frankly if he doesn't show up we're going to look like fools.

Yup, we're flying this weekend to South Africa. You can see our updated itinerary here. It's beginning to look a lot like a round the world trip :) Last count the kids have been on 16 flights within the last year :) Here's to another one!

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at and own We're on this crazy journey to travel the world as a lifestyle. Looking for help in how to live as a digital nomad family? Join this Facebook Group!

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1 Comment

  1. Cassandra

    You could never look like fools. We just made the jump into self-employment and I’m going to continue being inspired by you as we chart our own journey. Safe travels Kortman family!


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