Family Vacation Turns Into 11-Year Road Trip

family travel, zapp family
Believe it or not, this is the car the family of six lives and travels in. Awesome.

In 2000, childhood sweethearts Herman and Candelaria Zapp set out on a pre-baby road trip.  Once they had kids, they had been repeatedly told, they wouldn’t be able to travel and see the world. So they bought a 1928 Detroit-made Graham Paige (Model 610) and started driving from their home in Buenos Aires all the way up to Alaska.

That was 11 years and more than 100,000 miles ago. Because once they arrived in Alaska? They knew that they wanted to keep going.

Their pre-baby travels turned into family travels — four times. All of their children — ages 8, 5, 3 and 1 — were born in a different country. None has ever known home to be any place but where they are.

Probably most amazing is that they’re still tooling around in that car — which serves as not only transport, but home, school, cafeteria and more.

Here’s how the family of six get by financially on their neverending road trip, according to MSNBC:

In addition to watercolors painted by Candelaria and framed by Herman, the Zapps wrote and sell a book about their early travels, “Spark Your Dream,” from their car and from their website.

Businesses have offered complimentary services, such as car repair and shipping, and most nights are spent in the home of strangers the family encounters.

They plan to keep going until their eldest, Pampa, turns 10. They’ve already been to the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Brunei and Malaysia. You can read more about the family travels at their website. Or you can read their book, which also helps fund their trips, Spark Your Dream.

They home-school the kids, who are also getting a fantastic education just by being out in the world and seeing how others live, learning the local language, and having first-hand experiences of space shuttle launches, car repair, and eating ants and monkeys.

A lot of people disagree with this kind of family life. Another family, the Vogels, set out on bikes to see the world. Their kids missed a couple of years of school, spent their days pedaling and pedaling and pedaling. But some didn’t think that was right for children.

I kind of like the idea. I mean, I know myself and 11 years is excessive for me. But for the Zapps and the Vogels and so many others, they made it work. If we know anything about the modern kid, on average he and she need more open adventure, not less, more time outdoors, not less.

I just drove 2,000 miles solo with my three kids (no DVDs!) and it was fine. Fun, even. I’d like to do that more. Maybe not 143,000 miles more, but more nonetheless.

What do you think of extreme family adventures? Do you hanker for them sometimes? If you could go on a year-long (or decade-long) road trip with the family, where would you go? How ’bout being pregnant and giving birth while underway. Yikes!


Article Posted 5 years Ago

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