Since 14 years Herman and Candelaria Zapp have been traveling the world in their Graham Paige, built in 1928. They started in their home country Argentina crossing the three Americas to reach Alaska. After that they discovered Australia, New Zealand and Asia including many islands. Along the way their four children – Pampa (11), Tehue (9), Paloma (6) und Wallaby (5) – were born in different countries. It wasn’t planned that way, in the interview Candelaria explains how it happened.

At the moment they are driving through Africa followed by Europe. We met them in Cape MacLear in Malawi. As soon as they pulled into the lodge, many people surrounded them curiously asking questions and taking pictures. Also we were enthusiastic: Our two vintage cars looked very well together on the campsite.

We could spent more than one week with this amazing family, who really inspired us. They proff: everything is possible, if you really wanted it and have guts. At the beach I had the opportunity to talk to Candelaria in a very relaxed atmosphere.


 “The journey and the car have to adapt to the family” – Interview with Candelaria Zapp

Your website and your book are called “Spark your dream”. What is your dream?

Our dream is to travel – it wasn’t to travel around the world and it wasn’t to travel in this kind of car. Our dream was to travel and then we made it bigger. What happens often is that you idealize your dream. Sometimes you start your dream and then suddenly you realize, that you are not feeling the way you thought. But when we started, we felt so good. Then we realized, that traveling really is our dream. So we said: “Let’s just keep going! At the beginning, of course, the limitation was the money. We were only able to save a little bit of money – for a low budget journey of six month. Then we ran out of money. Since we started to make money along the way, we don’t have any limitations – except maybe the age of my children. We might stop, when my oldest son becomes a teenager.

How do you make money during traveling?

In Ecuador, six months after we started, we ran out of money it was the best thing that could happen to us. Of course we needed some time to realize that. We wanted to keep traveling and reach our destination Alaska, so we had to find ways to do it. But at the moment we were in the middle of the jungle and we really didn’t know how to earn money there. So I started to paint and Herman started to write. We always wanted to do that but before we never did. Now we live from the sales of our two books – one in Spanish and one in English. Also we don’t spend so much money because we neither have to pay mortgage, rent or electricity bills. Many people asks us how we can possibly finance traveling, but if they would sell their expensive car, they could travel themselves for two years.

So at first you had a goal and the plan was not endless travel?

Yes, the first goal was to drive from Argentina to Alaska. Then, 30 km before before we arrived to Alaska, we were feeling very very sad because the dream was over. The best part of dreams is to live them, not when you get to the end.

Although you were sad, you returned home and what happened then?

We felt sad but we decided, that we have to feel happy because our dream is accomplished. Spending one more night in Canada we realized that reaching Alaska may be the end of one dream, but it is also the beginning of a new dream: We can do another journey. So we went back to Argentina for eight month to write our book, to be able to keep going. After that it was very difficult to start and leave everything behind again. Many people asked me: “Why you already did it before?”. But for me it was even worse than the first time. Before I had a limit, we were leaving for six months and I knew that I was coming back. At least that’s what I was thinking. The second time I knew I didn’t have any limitations and I would be doing what I love to do. And I was afraid about that, because I knew it will be for many years.

Where did your dream come from and since when did you have it?

We met, when we were very young – I was 8 and Herman 10 years old. At the age of 14 and 16 we started dating. So we were growing together and we had the same feeling that we would love to live in a farm and to travel – both of us. Reading about different kinds of travelers – in sailing boats, on horses and so on – made us ask: “Why not us?” Later we got married and made a plan: We will save money and after two years we will travel and afterwards we will have children. But then the years past and we always found an excuse to not go: We can’t do it now because we have to of the house, the car, the job and so on. Six years after our marriage we finally wanted to have children, but what happened to our dream: “If we have children now, we will never leave.” That’s why and how we started.

Start, do the first step and see what is going to happen

What advice would you give to people, how to live their dream?

Everybody has fears – just like us. You have to try that the fears do not block you. So go for your dream with your fears because you will never be able to go without fears. The question is, are they in front of you or are they behind you. My advice is: Start, do the first step and see what is going to happen. Usually when you do the first step, you’ll think why I didn’t start before. People always feel like they are not prepared. They say: “First I have to have all this money, I have to have this and that.” But if it’s your dream, something that you really really want to do, then you are already prepared and you will be able to do it.


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