>>>A life on the move

A life on the move

We Interview Herman and Candela Zapp, a couple that has been travelling the world for 16 years, and that has raised a family along the way.

ho is craziest: the one who goes out to pursue their dream or the one who gives up on it? For Herman and Candela Zapp the answer is obvious. They have been living their dream for 16 years, in a 1928 vintage car.

In their birthplace, Argentina, he was electrician and she a secretary. They dreamed of journeying to Alaska. When, at the start of the new century, they finally decided to go for it, they chose to hit the road in a 1928 Graham Paige. Though it was old and would go no faster than 60 kmph, Herman bought the car. It became their new home, practically another member of the family. He called it Macondo Cambalache.

The family normally sleeps in the homes of people who invite them to stay as their guests.

Just another member of the family

Macondo Cambalache is the car they have used to travel the world. It is almost 90 years old and smells like “stories, adventures and kilometres”. As the family has grown, the car has also undergone various refurbishments. What used to be the luggage carrier, for instance, is now the children’s room.

What began as a six-month adventure to Alaska became a trip around the world that continues to this day. After accumulating experiences for several months, Candela and Herman published Spark Your Dream, the book that tells their story. They have paid for the journey through book sales and people’s generosity. They have even sometimes received more than they need. After two years on the road, their first son, Pampa, was born in North Carolina. A note about their story in the local newspaper led the hospital to care for them free of charge, and they received so many gifts that they ended up with 14 pushchairs.

The world is the classroom

After Pampa came his siblings, Tehue (Argentina, 2005), Paloma (Canada, 2007) and Wallaby (Australia, 2009). For these globetrotting children, life on the move is the norm. Candela gives them classes each day, following a home-learning program designed by the Argentinian government. Added to calculations and homework, they have other less academic experiences, like the day an elephant came to visit during breakfast.

When they were 30km from Alaska, Candela began crying: “I don’t want our dream to end.”

“These children have studied mountain systems at the foot of Everest, and the history of the Egyptians at the pyramids”. The Zapps claim this way of life enables their children to acquire skills that are not taught in the classroom. “They interact with diplomats at embassies, and know how to change money and what things cost in each place. They are excellent at calculating distances.”

They began writing Spark Your Dream in Colombia, while seeking new ways to make money. It is now in its 11th edition.

Keeping on, despite setbacks

For the Zapps, travelling is a way of life, and is similar to love. “There are difficult times, and obstacles, but it doesn’t mean you get tired of it or see an end.” For Candela, the worst experience was going through Mozambique. There, Herman caught malaria, and people were begging so insistently that they felt like “cash machines”. However, generally speaking, fortune has smiled on them along the way. Besides pushchairs, they have received hundreds of gifts. A business owner, for instance, paid the high cost of moving the car by boat, simply because he wanted to help them.

The family has already travelled the five continents, and is currently in Europe, at the theoretical end of their journey –  although they also thought Alaska would be the end of their initial adventure, and it turned out to be the beginning of a much bigger one. With the Zapps, it is impossible to know whether or not they will stay still. Their life philosophy can be summed up in a single phrase: “If you can fix love with more love, then you can fix half-heartedness with more heart.” And this family is not lacking either of the two.

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