An Interview with the Zapp-Family … on the road for 15 years in an oldtimer car … with their four kids!


For some time now we have been in contact with the Argentinian Zapp-family, traveling the world in their 1928 oldtimer car with four children, all born while traveling. We have been supporting each other with up-to-date information and through establishing contacts in the countries visited. This really is a wonderful thing and many overland families are connected in this way - across all language barriers or other differences!

The Zapps have spent the last three years in Africa going up north along the eastern route and we are on our way into the opposite direction - from Europe to southern Africa. Unfortunately, we did not meet the Zapps at common friends' in Cairo as planned because our visa did not allow us to do so ... Thus, we had to interview them by internet.


Hermann and Candelaria 15 years ago.


4-w-n: Since when or whereby did you decide to go on traveling for an indefinite period of time, or was that the plan right from the beginning?"

The Zapps: Of course not!!!!!!! Imagine to think about it ... it would be impossible! ... What about money, family and kids?! ... We always dreamed to have kids ... and having kids on a journey ... was not an option! ... We just left to go just for a six months' journey. And it already took so much time for us! But the journey little by little was changing, changing us as well! We started to see things differently ... and we found ourselves doing what we always dreamed to do and enjoying it a lot. ... Then we felt the necessity to share it with our kids ... and they came along!


4-w-n: Many families with small children abstain from camping and overland trips, especially to countries far away from the normal tourist routes. What are your most important motives for doing exactly this? Is traveling this way not rather burdensome?

The Zapps: As we said we want to share with our kids the beautiful world we live in, the most beautiful world in the universe.


4-w-n: Do you meet many overland families on the way? In how far do your own experiences match with theirs?

The Zapps: We do meet some. but not as many as we would love to. The experiences are so similar: a lot of quality family time, learning from the world itself experiencing each culture and ways of living together ...


4-w-n: For the last 15 years, you have been living your dream ... does traveling and thus this dream become a routine like any other "job"? ... How do you manage to make sure it is not becoming just a different type of "job"?

The Zapps: Can't remember a routine in the last 15 years ... We are not in a job we are in a dream. For the last 15 years we have been living our Dream.


4-w-n: How do you earn money? Do you at all? Or did you find another way that enables you to continuously travel?

The Zapps: We do not need much. Poor is the one who thinks they need money to achieve something. To accomplish your dreams you need faith and the will to make everything happen. If you do have the money but not the will you have more chances to fail. [The Zapps have published the first part of their wonderful story in a book called "Spark Your Dream" ... here is our review on the book]


4-w-n: After three years of overland travel through Africa ... what is your impression of this supposedly "hardest continent" for overlanding? Was it dangerous sometimes?

The Zapps: We were so fascinated!!!!!! We were planning only to travel one year.... but it was so wonderful!!!!!! We never were in danger! ... Yes, there were some challenges on the road that we took to have even more fun!


4-w-n: You have just crossed the Sinai peninsula and media and politicians explicitly warn against traveling there. What were your experiences there? How do you deal with traveling to "dangerous" regions anyway?

The Zapps: The Read Sea!!!!! What a place!!!! The Mecca of scuba diving and snorkeling! We were there almost a month and just the idea to camp in front of the sea. wake up in the morning. get the snorkel and go out into a fascinating world of corals and trillions of colorful fishes ... that beats any bad news! We didn't see anything or experience anything but wonderful moments! Maybe we didnt like so many army and police checkpoints.


Candelaria disguised as a beduin woman.


4-w-n: Going back to the topic "overlanding with kids" ... what effect does your way of living have on the personality of your children ... and how do your kids see this themselves? 

The Zapps: Charles Darwin said that it won't be the strongest or the most intelligent who would be the one to survive but the one who can adapt. And I think this kids learn to adapt a lot. Then, it is so important also to be an open minded person. And to believe in dreams.


4-w-n: Do you teach your kids yourself or do they "attend" an internet school?

The Zapps: The kids follow a program from Argentina.


4-w-n: What are your future plans, e.g. thinking of secondary school qualifications of your kids? Is your plan to go on traveling and sending the kids to a boarding school or do you plan to "settle down" again?

The Zapps: Boarding school sounds horrible for us! Where family time is not so important! ... But yes, qualifications. Why is it that today it's more important to have a career than family and dreams? When people ask our son Pampa what he wants to be when he has grown up, he says, "HAPPY!"

How many kids dare to dream today? How many kids dare to be themselves today?...

Why is it so important to know of what we are going to live instead of for what we are going to live?


4-w-n: After all the distance you have created between you and what other people might call "normal society" or "normal life" - will returning be possible at all for you? Or do you plan not to come back anyway?

Did you find a "place" where you could imagine settling down again during your travels so far?

The Zapps: Of course, we will go back! We are normal! The change in us doesn't make us feel out of society! ... As a traveler, you learn to adapt a lot. And all humans are adaptables! We may not work in an office ... but we do want to go back! Best place ... is where your family is. And Cande's and mine families are in Argentinia!

One thought on “An Interview with the Zapp-Family … on the road for 15 years in an oldtimer car … with their four kids!

  1. Odile Keane

    I had the joy & privilage of having the Zapp family come to stay, as they passef through Nanyuki, Kenya en route to Ethiopia. Karibu, if you passing same way!


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