Living Without

Living Without

There are a lot of things that we will be living without.

It's kind of a 'duh' statement.

But there are a few things that we're bummed about, and others that we feel perhaps the community could help us develop ideas around how to solve this.

Something you should know is that we are going to be doing travel-as-a-lifestyle. This means we're not just packing up everything once, move to a new location, unpack and live. Instead we're packing light.  Weight and size really matter. So there are things we're not taking with us because of size or weight.  To give you an idea of how light we're traveling, we've got 6 carry-ons (the kids can each carry their own, so they're small and lightweight) and  two large duffle bags as checked luggage.  Remember, we have 6 people living out of these bags for 9 months.  Our duffle bags include:  4-5 outfits each, toys, school curriculum/books, first aid supplies, 9 month supplies of medications (daughter with ADHD and a son with Epilepsy), and a few other misc items. What follows are just two of the things we aren't taking with us...but wish we could take.

Piggy Banks

Our kids have been saving coins and cash from jobs they do or birthday money. We love these piggy banks because they encourage our kids to split up their money into 4 categories, Save, Spend, Donate and Invest.

Piggy Banks

However we cannot take these along for a couple reasons. One, they occupy a lot of space, these are not your average piggy banks, they're large! Second reason, coins weigh a lot. We don't have the luxury of taking these with us.

Yet the kids will be collecting coins wherever they go. So how do we help them store these coins, visualize it, and teach them? If you have ideas we're all ears, just leave them in the comments below.



We read books online, via Kindle apps, our library app, and other methods. However what about the kids? We have found some books for our ipads, but nothing beats having colorful books. And our kids love to read, and love being read to. Just watch the video below of Zander, our youngest who just grabs a book, plops down and "reads."

We don't own a ton of books, but we are regular guests to our local library checking out 20-50 books a week. Overseas we're expecting not to find libraries, or not to find kids books in english, or if we did find a library with english kids books, we assume we will not be able to get a library card!

So do you have any ideas for us? How can we find reading material for our kiddos, or how can we teach the save, spend, invest, give? Please leave your ideas in the comments below, Thanks!

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. Jen Spica

    Really enjoying your posts and can’t wait to follow your adventures! An idea for piggy banks: what if in each new country they start their collections over. By the time it is time to move on to the next country of visit their give, spend, and invest money needs to be gone. They then just have one baggie (little ziploc bags or something) for save money that they are ‘saving’ for another adventure. You could even tweak the definitions for this year as it is unique anyways. Give and Spend are pretty obvious I suppose- but what about Invest becomes “invest in a family, ministry, or business and have them give their invest money to invest in someone else”. I know its kind of like giving but you could have it be a business type focus. This may help on the currency exchange too so you don’t have gobs of coins that aren’t useful and may not be able to be exchanged.

    When I went to Bangladesh, I made my own ‘books’ for the kids to enjoy. With 400 kids, typical books get used and abused and trashed pretty quickly. So I made simple English books using page protectors and binders. I made up my own pages and found clip art or photos online that worked for the illustrations- you could have them make their own. Perhaps they could do something similar as it takes up less room than regular books (you could put quite a few into one binder). Have them spend a year writing books for each other :)

  2. Becky Kortman

    Thanks for the ideas, Jen! I like them! We are going to try and implement your money idea right away and maybe work on the book idea as we go. Thanks for sharing and being apart of our adventure!

  3. Deborah Johnson Wood

    How about book care packages sent to wherever you are? Do you have friends here who might send you books their kids are finished with or who would pick up some books at yard sales? Maybe they could send you some every few weeks, and when you’re ready to move on, you could give those books away to friends you’ve made. Their kids might get to learn a few English words, and you wouldn’t be encumbered by a lot of books. Please keep in mind, I don’t know how long you’ll be staying from one place to the next, and I don’t know shipping times and costs, but am just brainstorming. If three or four or five families sent you a book or two every few weeks, that might be affordable. Wouldn’t it be fun to see what kinds of books you receive?

    • Paul

      That’s a great idea! I’d love to do that and we’re in most places for 2-3 months so it should be plenty of time to receive a shipment. However books are heavy and I’m guessing shipping will be expensive. However it’s worth a try. Great idea!

    • namtrok

      That’s a great idea! I’d love to do that and we’re in most places for 2-3 months so it should be plenty of time to receive a shipment. However books are heavy and I’m guessing shipping will be expensive. However it’s worth a try. Great idea!

    • Christy Jusino

      This is a great idea! The kids and I would love to do this now and then to see where our books go around the world! Maybe you could take a pic of your kids reading our books somewhere “exotic” for our kids to see! I think it would be fun!


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