The Kortmans aren’t like other families. The family of six have no home — and they love it.
In 2014, Paul and Becky Kortman decided to sell their home and nearly all their possessions so that they could lead a life of “location independence.”
Along with their four children, Alia 9, Josia 7, Mathias 5 and Zander 3, Paul and Becky travel the world with no permanent address and no real idea of where or when they will settle down.
Since the family set off on their epic journey, they have been blogging on their website, “Home Along The Way,” documenting the joys (and sometimes the struggles) of living with no permanent address.
They also have set up Nomad Together, a website dedicated to equipping families who are considering following in the Kortmans’ footsteps.
It’s impossible to fit their entire journey so far into one post, but below are some of the highlights.
In 2004, two years before the arrival of their first child Alia, Paul and Becky decided to travel the world as a couple.
They spent 6 months teaching in Kazakhstan and 6 months in South Africa -- and of course, they took in some other sights along the way.
While in South Africa, Becky and Paul helped to set up computer literacy centres. They trained poor and underprivileged people to use computers in order to help them eventually find jobs. The students had to be taught basics that we find easy, such as how to click on a desktop icon using a mouse.
Paul told Business Insider that seeing kids he taught in Kazakhstan getting married 9 years later is what inspired him and Becky to stray from the 'traditional American script.' He explains: 'We were humbled to see how they grew up and wanted our kids to have that kind of life, worldview and attitude.'
Last year, Paul and Becky decided to sell all of their possessions in a massive indoor yard sale. From the fridge to the stove, anything they wouldn't need when travelling went.
The family are currently living in Gracie, a 37-foot motorhome in the woods in the upper peninsula of Michigan. They intend to travel down to Mexico by October and after that, continue southwards to Ecuador.
To support the family financially, Paul runs a digital marketing agency remotely and employs three people full-time.
He says the most common response to their lifestyle is 'you must be rich,' but he maintains that they can afford their lifestyles by simply cost-cutting and budgeting. They sometimes spend as little as $800 a month.
The Kortmans' first port of call after selling all their possessions was Davao in the Philippines in early 2014.
The Kortmans stay in rented accommodation wherever they go. While in the Philippines, the family stayed in an Airbnb house in Davao. The kids made friends with other locals. Here, Alia (L) poses with brother Josia (R), and Ashley and Chin-chin.
In between meeting locals, experiencing different cultures, and travelling the world, Becky finds time to homeschool the four children to ensure they're properly educated.
In 2014 alone, the Kortmans visited and lived in almost every continent on earth. They boarded 24 flights and lived in 30 houses.
After the Philippines, the Kortmans moved on to Thailand where they visited the country's famous temples as well as this elephant sanctuary.
Their fast-paced lives can be dangerous, and Becky discovered this the hard way. In Chiang Mai in northern Thailand, while riding a scooter, she hit a patch of gravel and crashed onto the shoulder of the road.
She suffered some serious bruising and scratches, while children Zander and Alia suffered minor scratching also.
The Kortmans say being location independent allows them to remove their kids from 'the consumerism and American-centric worldview they would have growing up in the states.'
While in Sepilok, Malaysia, the family drove to a wild orangutan rehabilitation centre. Here, orphaned orangutans are cared back to health and taught to survive on their own before being released back into the wild.
Bali, Indonesia was the kids' favourite place. Paul described the people, culture, and the country, as 'mystical and magical.' They stayed in a bed and breakfast and grew close to the property manager, Nando.
The food they experienced in Indonesia took 'all natural' to a whole new level. Their salad bowls and lids were made of palm leaves and there were only raw, vegan options on the menu.
The family also spent a very brief period of time in Doha, Qatar. Aside from the architectural beauty , Becky also says the human rights issues are noticeable.
'The human rights issues revolve around workers not being paid, their travel documents seized and essentially forced to work for nothing. Prostitution and Human Trafficking is a frequent occurrence in Doha.'
Paul told us that South Africa is his favourite country. In a blog post, the Kortmans said the country allowed them to live a similar lifestyle to the one they lived in the US. The sports and culture were a particular draw.
But like any country, it wasn't without its problems: The internet, which Paul needs to work remotely, was way too expensive, and the cost of living was too high. The high crime rate in South Africa also meant Becky had to have her guard up the majority of the time.
The country still provided the family with unforgettable experiences, including the opportunity to go whale watching in Hermanus.
When asked what the most incredible experience of the journey so far is, Paul said: 'The most incredible experience is our kids almost crying when they pleaded with us to keep travelling.'
'My 8-year-old (at the time) cried when she found out we bought plane tickets to return 'home.' She wanted Becky to promise that we wouldn't stay there and end our travels.'
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