Debt Free Family of 5 living in a van


Do you want to be inspired to sell up everything and travel with kids? Does the thought of schooling scare you? Meet Engjell, Kaleigh, Fiona, Hugo and Remy who owned a restaurant and sold it to travel on budget with their family for a few years.

You don’t need to be a digital nomad to travel with kids. You just need to be brave and prepared to give up what you have to make it happen.

This is their story:

The tide smashes even the best-laid plans to sand… and so it goes! This is a story about two people, who met by chance, were bound by fate and who continue to let the quirky side of life guide their paths! How else could a young man from a tiny town in Albania and a farm girl from the mountains of Montana meet in the middle, with a life guided by adventure?

They met in Rome. Engjell was a waiter in a little Roman restaurant down by Trevi Fountain and Kaleigh was a student abroad, spending a year in the Eternal City. There are some pretty cheesy movies about the giggly American girl meeting the handsome foreigner abroad, who then spent all their time bombing around ancient ruins on a shiny moped, hair blowing in the wind and smiles from ear to ear.

And yet… serendipity delivers!

They did fall in love and he did have a moped… In 2006, they moved back to the United States returning as a family of three, as little Fiona had been born in Rome at FateBeneFratelli, the hospital on an island… where all the Roman babies have been born for centuries!

They moved often, looking for the perfect place. In 2010, they found an opportunity to open their own restaurant in Bigfork, Montana. They spent seven years and thousands of hours bringing the flavors of Italy to rural Montana. They were successful and busy and had finally bought their own home… they had a mortgage and car payments and a full-time, ultra-demanding job!

Then they opened a second restaurant and even added two more family members with the addition of Hugo and Remy! They were living the dream! Or were they? On the outside, it looked like they had it all… that success had reached out its hand and they had graciously accepted. But in reality, they were working 80-100 hours each per week, they rarely saw their three beautiful kids who knew the nanny better than they did their parents, and they were burned out… from too much work, from too little time spent together as a family, from life!

They had bought into the well-oiled idea of success and were realizing quickly the fatal flaws in their plan. So they decided, together, to give it all up! They took the giant, terrifying, leap and sold it all to travel on a shoestring budget and let life teach them again, teach them anew, of what it looks like to be a successful human being!

They are just beginning on this wonderful adventure and have been traveling the U.S. for a year as a family in a motorhome.

They are every day astounded by the diversity and creativity of both humans and Mother Nature. In July, they will set off for a one year trip around the world! This time, too, food and wine lead their adventure.

They hope to dig deep into every culture as they go, unearthing culinary tradition everywhere! They plan to travel to places where they can stage and work in restaurants and vineyards to learn more and to ultimately be able to take what they have learned and start fresh…inspired, changed… wherever they end up. The trip is about re-defining success! It is about food and wine…about a plate of pasta or a shared bottle of wine, about experiences! It is about family and figuring out how we all fit together and what life’s REAL plan for us is! They invite you to join them in this crazy adventure as they travel the world!


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