4 kids, 2 parents and a (literal) world of travel: This family has no home — and they love it!
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Anything but Average

Mark Twain said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness... Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

If that's true, the Kortman family has had quite the head start developing their worldviews.

Paul, 35, his wife Becky, 37, and their four kids — Alia (9), Josiah (7), Mathias (5), and Zander (3) — don't have a home. Well, at least not a stationary one.


The family of six, traveling through Thailand. All photos courtesy of Paul Kortman, used with permission. Check out their website, Home Along the Way.

In March 2014, the family of six traded in their house for life on the road. For the past 18 months, they've been traveling around the world, moving every three months or so. In the past year alone, they've lived on four continents. Currently, they're on their way to Ecuador in an RV.

What made this family give up a traditional life for one of travel and adventure?

Paul and Becky Kortman.

Well, Paul and Becky enjoyed traveling internationally as a couple before they had a family. "When we were teaching in Kazakhstan, we meet many 'third culture kids,'" Paul told me. (A third culture kid is a child who spends a fair amount of time living in a culture other than that of his or her parents.)

He and his wife were inspired to give their kids the same opportunities they witnessed in children who experienced life in different countries, including the ability "to help them avoid the consumerism and American-centric worldview they would have growing up in the states."

Additionally, Paul likes a challenge. "I was inspired by the location independent entrepreneur movement that I'm connected to," Paul said. "[But] none of these are family oriented; they're all 20-somethings who have no commitments. We wanted to prove that it could be done as a family."

Traveling abroad is beneficial to children and adults in many ways.

A recent Atlantic article examined new research on the link between greater creativity and travel. Columbia Business School professor Adam Galinsky has conducted many studies about the benefits of travel. "Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms," he said. "The key critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation."

The Kortman kids and Paul in South Africa.

It's not just a person's creativity that will get a boost from travel, though. Their sense of trust in others benefits as well. "We found that when people had experiences traveling to other countries it increased what's called generalized trust, or their general faith in humanity," Galinsky said. "When we engage in other cultures, we start to have experience with different people and recognize that most people treat you in similar ways. That produces an increase in trust."

There's more! The Atlantic article quoted Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, Associate Professor of Education and Psychology at the University of Southern California, on the benefits that traveling abroad can have for a person's sense of self.

"What a lot of psychological research has shown now is that the ability to engage with people from different backgrounds than yourself, and the ability to get out of your own social comfort zone, is helping you to build a strong and acculturated sense of your own self," she said. "Our ability to differentiate our own beliefs and values … is tied up in the richness of the cultural experiences that we have had."

According to all of this research, the Kortman children's lifestyle should go a long way in helping them grow up as open-minded, confident, and creative individuals.

"It's most beneficial to our kids through firsthand experiences," Paul said. “They'll be watching a video on YouTube and comment, 'Hey we were there!' or 'That's not what the Philippines really looks like.'" He explained that the family experiences life beyond videos and books — "our kids know stuff because they were there."

The Kortman kids in Indonesia.

Additionally, “They have a broader view of differences," Paul continued.

And when it comes to consumerism, a life full of travel is a great way to avoid it. The Kortmans have no trouble saying "no" to unnecessary purchases. Plus? It's a much less expensive way to live, Paul said.

While being away from friends isn't always easy, and the kids miss out on some extracurricular activities like music, dance, and sports, the freedom and flexibility that the Kortmans enjoy make the trade-off worth it.

Parents raise kids in many nontraditional ways, and the Kortmans have embraced a lifestyle that exposes their kids to many different cultures.

To ensure their educational needs are met, Becky acts as their teacher, mixing principles of homeschooling, road schooling, and unschooling.

The Kortmans in Singapore.

Given that their lifestyle isn't exactly "the norm," the Kortmans are met with mixed responses. "Some people think were crazy and irresponsible…" Paul said, "… and some are inspired. Often we receive incredulous responses from people when we explain our lifestyle."

But the people who matter the most — Alia, Josiah, Mathias, and Zander — love their way of life. “When we came back to the U.S., the three oldest made us promise that we wouldn't stop traveling," Paul said.

“They were concerned we would stop this lifestyle. When we bought an RV to live in full time, the kids wanted nothing more than to move into her… They're very attached to the RV because it gives us the ability to take more stuff with us but still live the nomadic lifestyle."

The Kortmans are able to live the way they do because Paul runs a digital marketing business, which sustains their family and three full-time employees. After their first six months of traveling, they realized there wasn't a formal online place for nomad families to gather and receive support, so Paul and Becky co-founded NomadTogether, which offers support through education, tools, and a community forum.

While taking that initial leap of faith wasn't easy — "I do have to admit when it came time to purchase the first plane tickets for the six of us, I got really nervous and procrastinated a bunch," Paul told me — the Kortmans haven't regretted their choice for a minute.

I asked Paul what he wanted others to know about their lives, and he said, "You can do it too! It's less expensive, and we're leaving a smaller carbon footprint. Consumerism is addicting, and the way we found to not succumb to it was to change [our] lifestyle."

As for the future, the Kortmans aren't certain what it holds, but they have a loose plan.

They're currently looking for a "homebase" where they can spend about six months at a time. "At this point, we're headed to Mexico and Ecuador to see if either one of those would be fitting for us."

Their kids will still experience life immersed in another culture and get to travel, and they can have horses and dogs, something they'd really like right now — the best of all worlds!

"This lifestyle aids in contentedness and slows down the pace of life," Paul said.

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We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

Like millions of others, I tuned in last night to watch Oprah Winfrey's interview with (former) Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. Although watching "The Crown" has admittedly piqued my curiosity about the Royal Family, I've never had any particular interest in following the drama in real life. As inconsequential as the un-royaling of Harry and Meghan is to me personally, it's a historically and socially significant development.

The story touches so many hot buttons at once—power, wealth, tradition, sexism, racism, colonialism, family drama, freedom, security, and the media. But as I sat and watched the first hour of just Oprah and Meghan Markle talking, I was struck by the simple significance of what I was seeing.

Here were two Black women, one who had battled sexism and racism in her industry and broke countless barriers to create her own empire, and one who has battled racism and sexism to protect her babies, whose royal lineage can be traced back through 1,200 years of rule over the British Empire. And the conversation these women were having had the power to take down—or at least do real damage to—one of the longest-standing monarchies in the world.

Whoa.

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Tory Burch

Courtesy of Tory Burch

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This March marks one year since the start of the pandemic… and it's been an incredibly difficult year: Over 500,000 people have died and hundreds of thousands have lost their jobs. But the pandemic's economic downturn has been disproportionately affecting women because they are more likely to work in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality or entertainment, and many of them have been forced to leave their jobs due to the lack of childcare.

But throughout all that hardship, women have, over and over again, found ways to help one another and solve problems.

"Around the world, women have stepped up and found ways to help where it is needed most," says Tory Burch, an entrepreneur who started her own business in 2004.

Burch knows a thing or two about empowering women: After seeing the many obstacles that women in business face — even before the pandemic — she created the Tory Burch Foundation in 2009 to empower women entrepreneurs.

And now, for International Women's Day, her company is launching a global campaign with Upworthy to celebrate the women around the world who give back and create real change in their communities.

"I hope the creativity and resilience of these women, and the amazing ways they have found to have real impact, will inspire and energize others as much as they have me," Burch says.

This year's Empowered Women certainly are inspiring:

Shalini SamtaniCourtesy of Shalini Samtani

Take, for example, Shalini Samtani. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare immune disorder, she spent a lot of time in the hospital, which caused her to quickly realize that there wasn't a single company in the toy industry servicing the physical or emotional needs of the 3 million hospitalized children across America every year. She was determined to change that — so she created The Spread the Joy Foundation to deliver free play kits to pediatric patients all around the country.

Varsha YajmanCourtesy of Varsha Yajman

Varsha Yajman is another one of this year's nominees. She is just 18 years old, and yet she has been diligently fighting to build awareness and action for climate justice for the last seven years by leading school strikes, working as a paralegal with Equity Generations Lawyers, and speaking to CEOs from Siemen's and several big Australian banks at AGMs.

Caitlin MurphyCourtesy of Caitlin Murphy

Caitlin Murphy, meanwhile, stepped up in a big way during the pandemic by pivoting her business — Global Gateway Logistics — to secure and transport over 2 million masks to hospitals and senior care facilities across the country. She also created the Gateway for Good program, which purchased and donated 10,000 KN95 masks for local small businesses, charities, cancer patients and their families, immunocompromised, and churches in the area.

Simone GordonCourtesy of Simone Gordon

Simone Gordon, a domestic violence survivor and single mom, wanted to pay it forward after she received help getting essentials and tuition assistance — so she created the Instagram account @TheBlackFairyGodMotherOfficial and nonprofit to provide direct assistance to families in need. During the pandemic alone, they have raised over $50,000 for families and they have provided emergency assistance — in the form of groceries — for numerous women and families of color.

Victoria SanusiCourtesy of Victoria Sanusi

Victoria Sanusi started Black Gals Livin' with her friend Jas and the podcast has been an incredibly powerful way of destigmatizing mental health for numerous listeners. The podcast quickly surpassed a million listens, was featured on Michaela Coel's "I May Destroy You," won podcast of the year at the Brown Sugar Awards, and was named one of Elle Magazine's best podcasts of 2020.

And Upworthy and the Tory Burch are just getting started. They are still searching the globe for more extraordinary women who are making an impact in their communities.

Do you know one? If you do, nominate her now. If she's selected, she could receive $5,000 to give to a nonprofit of her choice through the Tory Burch Foundation. Submissions are being accepted on a rolling basis — and one Empowered woman will be selected each month starting in April.

Nominate her now at www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen.

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When 59 children died on Christmas Eve 1913, the world cried with the town of Calumet, Michigan.

Woody Guthrie sang about this little-known piece of history.

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AFL Labor Mini Series

A one-man drill operation

In July 1913, over 7,000 miners struck the C&H Copper Mining Company in Calumet, Michigan. It was largely the usual issues of people who worked for a big company during a time when capitalists ran roughshod over their workers — a time when monopolies were a way of life. Strikers' demands included pay raises, an end to child labor, and safer conditions including an end to one-man drill operations, as well as support beams in the mines (which mine owners didn't want because support beams were costly but miners killed in cave-ins “do not cost us anything.")

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Few child actors ever get to star in an award-winning film, much less win a prestigious award for their performance. That fact appeared to hit home for 8-year-old Alan Kim, as he broke down in tears accepting his Critics' Choice Award for Best Young Actor/Actress, making for one of the sweetest moments in awards show history.

Kim showed up to the awards (virtually, of course) decked out in a tuxedo, and his parents had even laid out a red carpet in their entryway to give him a taste of the real awards show experience. When his name was announced as the Critics' Choice winner for his role in the film "Minari," his reaction was priceless.

Grinning from ear to ear, Kim started off his acceptance speech by thanking "the critics who voted" and his family. But as soon as he started naming his family members, he burst into tears. "Oh my goodness, I'm crying," he said. Through sobs, he kept going with his list, naming members of the cast, the production company, and the crew that worked on the film.

"I hope I will be in other movies," he added. Then, the cutest—he pinched his own cheeks and asked, "Is this a dream? I hope it's not a dream."

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