For the past 17 years, Herman and Candelaria Zapp have travelled the globe, from South and North America, to Asia, Australia and Africa in their 90-year-old car, raising a family along the way.
The 17-year oddessey was originally supposed to be a six-month trip
In January 2000, Herman and Candelaria Zapp set out as newlyweds in a vintage car on a road trip from their native Argentina to Alaska. The trip was only supposed to last six months. However, the couple ended up travelling around the world for the last 17 years, visiting more than 80 countries across five continents so far. Gathering countless memories and collecting many keepsakes, the couple also had four children along the way!
“It was a blessing running out of money.” — Herman Zapp
In January of 2000, Herman and Candelaria Zapp climbed into a vintage car, started the engine, and began what they believed would be a six-month adventure from Argentina to Alaska. The young couple had around £3,000 (€3,333/$4,000) in the kitty, just enough to see them through their last big road trip before they returned to Buenos Aires to start a family.
Seventeen years and nine months later, that same vintage car, a 1928 Graham-Paige, now smothered in maps, photos and memorabilia from around the world, pulls into the driveway of the Argentine embassy in Dublin (see below). As the old car draws to a halt, the back doors swing open and three boys and a girl leap out, chatting excitedly with the small group of well-wishers who have gathered to meet this unique globetrotting family.
After those first six months on the road, Herman and Candelaria ran out of money. With no means by which to return to Argentina, Candelaria began painting watercolours which they were able to sell to make ends meet.
“We were able to finance ourselves, and said instead of going back let’s keep going,” says Herman. “If we can do it here we can do it anywhere. We were much more confident. It was a blessing running out of money.”
“What we want to teach our children… is that if they have a dream, they can accomplish it.”
The adventurous couple had been travelling for two years and were in Guatemala when they decided to share their adventure with someone else… by starting a family!
“We were so nervous because who was gonna take care of a family with kids? But it was the best! It’s so beautiful to learn together and grow up together,” says Herman.
Pampa, who is now 15, was born in North Carolina. His brother Tehue (12) was born in Argentina during a brief visit home to visit Candelaria’s mother who was sick. Paloma (9) was born on Vancouver Island and Wallaby (8) was born in Australia. Candelaria has taken on the role as the children’s school teacher and follows an educational programme from Argentina.
“Imagine the chance to learn about the Egyptians and the next day go inside the pyramids. Or go to see the animal life in the Serengeti. Or go scuba diving in the Red Sea or at the Great Barrier Reef. Imagine the chance to stay in more than 2,000 homes. That’s the best part for the kids,” says Herman.
Candelaria adds, “What we want to teach our children, more than school, is that if they have a dream, they can accomplish it.”
Spark Your Dream…
Herman and Candelaria have written a book entitled Spark Your Dream which helps fund the family’s adventurous lifestyle. “People buy the book and help us to keep going but at the same time, maybe we are helping them with their dreams.” Herman told Sorcha Pollak, for The Irish Times.
Now, after nearly 18 years of travel and relying on the kindness of strangers for a bed each night, the family are on the final leg of their journey through Europe. They plan to cross the Atlantic on a wooden boat from the Canaries to Brazil before returning to Argentina to begin the next chapter of their lives. However, Herman does not plan to fall into the “routine lifestyle” he escaped nearly two decades ago.
“I believe that the worst thing for any relationship is routine because we are not made for routine. We are made for adventure and discovery,” he says.
And for those planning on setting off on their own adventure? “Just jump on it”, says Herman. “You will not feel ready because you are not. But the world is ready. Go and have faith. It will work out.”
How to Be More Adventurous: 14 Steps (with pictures)
The formula for adventure is really quite simple: Novelty + courage = adventure. A person with an adventurous spirit might jump out of airplanes, be the first person to volunteer to rescue someone, or even ask someone on a date. You may not be that type of risk taker. If you get motivated and create a new habit for adventure, then you will be exploring a new world in no time!