Meet the family who have spent the last 17 years driving around the world in a 90-year-old car
“Are we there yet?” For an Argentine family nearing the end of a 17-year round the world odyssey, the answer is finally “yes”.
Husband and wife, Herman and Candelaria Zapp, were fulfilling a childhood dream to travel when they set out from Buenos Aires on January 25, 2000, bound for Alaska and with enough money to last them six months. They hope to finally return home, more than 16 years later and with four children in tow, before the end of this year.
The four Zapp children were all born on the road - Pampa (15) in the US; Tehue (12) in Argentina; Paloma (9) in Canada; and Wallaby (8), as his name would suggest, was born in Australia.
Their home from home has been a vintage 1928 Graham-Paige car.
“My grandfather told me a long time ago if you want to go for something you have to go slowly; if you want to do something, do it with style,” explained Herman.
The car, and its occupants, have had many adventures en route, from battling through blizzards in Tibet to rafting 4,000km down the Amazon.
“We had planned to get to Alaska in six months and we had only £3,000 in our pockets. On the journey we ran out of money in Equador and Alaska was still so far. So we built a raft to travel down the Amazon and put the car on it,” he explained.
Candelaria turned her hand to painting watercolours, which were then framed by Herman and sold to fund the trip. Since then, Herman has written a book, ‘Spark Your Dream’, which they sell on their journey around the world.
They stay with families they meet either in person or through social media and when, all else fails, they have a tent packed away on top of their trusty car.
And while their contemporaries endure the daily grind of school, the Zapp children are taught by their mother. The world has become their classroom as they learn about space travel while watching a rocket launch in Florida and wildlife while crossing the Serengeti.
“I think with this journey you get a very strong bond between the siblings, they are all very good friends,” said Candelaria.
“By teaching them we have to talk about subjects maybe if they were at school I wouldn’t get to talk to them about. I see how they see the world.”
Yesterday the family called in on the Argentine Ambassador to Ireland Laura Bernal at her residence in Ballsbridge. They Zapps will spend the next two weeks in Ireland, before they head to mainland Europe eventually reaching the Canaries next month from which they hope to find a ship willing to take them and their car back to Argentina.