The Back Story

People keep asking us how this all came about. So this post will tell the story of how we came to the place where we sold almost everything we owned and "uprooted" our family and moved them overseas.

In 2004, Becky and I embarked on The Learning Journey where we spent 6 months in South Africa and 6 months in Kazakhstan. We were scheduled to be in Thailand in December of '04 and then Japan after that. However, God closed doors in both those countries and we returned home ahead of schedule. That's when the tsunami hit Thailand and chances are we would have been there on the beach when the tsunami hit. One of the many goals of The Learning Journey was to find a calling, a country or mission to join. What we found was that it wasn't the right time for us and we didn't know why. We just felt God wanted us to be here in the US for a time.

For the time from early 2005 (when we returned from The Learning Journey) to late 2013 when our house was agreed to be purchased we felt "not released" from the US. We didn't know what our call was here, so we picked up jobs and beganfollowing the traditional American script (own a house, have kids, stay put, be near family, grow your career, etc)

We had been longing to move for a couple years but in 2012 things got serious for us. Theproblem was that our house was the family homestead, selling it to a stranger would put a sore spot with the family, not to mention the logistics as the house separates the barn and the parent's house.

In late 2013, God opened the door by selling our house. Becky's brother, Mike, agreed to sell his house and buy ours.

That put us in a position of freedom again and we started looking to move closer to Grand Rapids. It's where we have a good network (business and friends). Although we looked at many houses, God continued to close doors.

So we started thinking, what if we move to another city and build our network there to increase our business. We started researching costs of living in various US cities. The more we researched the more we realized there was no other US cities our hearts were leaning towards.

During that time I had joined a community of location independant entrepreneurs who pointed me to a blog post about places in the world with cheap cost of living and great internet access. Since I only need an internet connection for my business and we homeschool our kids we realized we had freedom to move overseas. Starting with that list and people we know in these countries we mapped out a possible trip.

Further research helped us solidify what cities we wanted to land in and how long we wanted to spend in each place. We see this 9 month trip (we'll be back to celebrate Christmas) as an exploratory trip helping us to know if our kids respond well to travel as a lifestyle or to a specific living environment/country. Another goal is to find a place where our family desires to settle if we so choose.

We've made lots of preparations and now we're waiting for the last puzzle pieces to be put in place for us to leave. (Those include the birth of a new niece or nephew due soon and the house transactions to be completed)

We ran a moving sale last weekend to be prepared instead of trying to sell everything last minute.

Any day now we'll buy tickets and within3 weeks be flying to Davao, Philippines to begin the first leg of our next adventure: Home Along the Way.

Paul and Becky Kortman

Paul Kortman

Dad of 4, husband, blogger, digital marketer, follower of Jesus. I podcast at nomadtogether.com and own connexdigitalmarketing.com 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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19 Comments

  1. Cassandra

    You are an inspiration Kortman family! I am looking forward to following your journey wherever it may lead. Safe and fruitful travels.

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Thanks Cass!

      Reply
  2. Steve C.

    Now *that* is what I call a moving story. :) I look forward to watching the ongoing saga! Are any future Connex social events going to be held “locally”? ;-) Carry on, Kortmans!

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Oh we’ll have some celebrations around the world but I doubt they’ll be in GR anymore … who knows though.

      Reply
  3. Chad Warner

    Thanks for posting this additional info. I’m very interested to see how this adventure goes. Safe travels!

    Reply
    • namtrok

      We’re all very interested to see how this adventure goes! Thanks for following along!

      Reply
  4. Mandi Ellefson

    Congratulations! So happy for the whole Kortman family. Don’t forget you owe me a post card!

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Does a digital post card count? ;)

      Reply
      • Mandi Ellefson

        No way! I want a real one. With kiddy scribbles and all.

        Reply
  5. Becki Veldt Meek

    Hello Kortman family – my “other Becky” – so excited to read this. We sold our house last Fri, and are shipping our
    (reduced) stuff in a couple weeks, and wrap things up and head out April 3. If you are anywhere near Idaho, please stop and see us! We can put you to work too!

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Becki we’d love to join you some time. We hope the transition goes well for you both and for your kids and grands. Thanks for the invite!

      Reply
  6. Julie Clark

    Wow! This is such an exciting adventure for you all! You will be in our prayers and we will look forward to hearing about it.

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Thanks Julie, it’s fun to hear about your adventures too!

      Reply
  7. Michelle Curtis-Pupoh

    Love this! Awesome! Excited to follow your journey! You have the Pupoh Seal of Approval! (not that you needed it!) :-)

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Thankful for it nonetheless!

      Reply
  8. Jessica Newfer

    Enjoy your travels and blessings be with you!

    Reply
    • namtrok

      Thanks Jessica!

      Reply
  9. Rose

    I have always had a wanderlust for travel. I work a full time job at a community college and would love to just change my life they way your family did. My husband and I are empty nesters (55 and 64) and would like to know what kind of budget did you have for such travels and what you did when one of you got sick overseas? Did you have any kind of health insurance? Did you need Visa’s for certain places, for you and your family, for an extended stay? Where did you live overseas? Was it in hostels or other means?

    Reply
    • Paul Kortman

      Rose, it’s totally possible. You can change your life and become nomads like we did! You’re questions are all answered in our family freedom guidebook at nomadtogether.com/show-us/ This guidebook also helps you find resources or answers for you and your family, as we have a special faith situation that allows us to do something very unique for health insurance, so instead of just saying how we did it, we offer up resources to hopefully help every family make this choice. Let me know if you have other questions which the guidebook doesn’t cover, I’d be happy to help!

      Reply

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