The Zapp family who have been travelling the world in a quirky 1928 Graham-Paige since 2000, outside Moses Mabhida Stadium yesterday Picture:Shelley Kjonstad

Durban - An Argentinian family who have travelled the world for 12 years in a vintage car with wooden wheels have arrived in Durban from Asia and will now drive to Egypt, and finally to Europe.

Herman and Candelaria Zapp and their four children, Pampa (10, who was born in the US), Tehue (7, born in Argentina), Paloma (5, Canada) and Wallaby (3, Australia), have been hosted in more than 2 500 family homes across the world.

For the past two-and-a-half years, they have been in Asia.

They travel everywhere in a 1928 Graham-Paige car, shipped across continents when necessary, with little more than a few toys, clothes, sleeping bags and snacks. They have no sponsors, no real plan, and their only finance comes from the book they have written about their adventures.

They have sold more than 80 000 copies of Spark Your Dream in English and Spanish, and just recently printed 20 000 copies in Chinese.

Apart from a few odds and ends in the boot of their car, they don’t have any “stuff”.

Of all the amazing stories the couple have to tell, the story of the Uros Indians in Peru encapsulates their free-spirited nomadic lifestyle.

“The Uros live on a floating island made from reeds,” explains Herman. “Their homes are minimal. It’s simple – if they had too much, they would sink. If you go lightly, you will live freely,” he says.

“Children adapt,” adds Cande. “Whatever the situation, even when having to take cold water baths in parts of India, they find the fun.

“They’re also with mom and dad 24 hours a day. Some children only see their working parents for a few hours at the end of a long day. We have time to read, be schooled and time to play,” she enthuses.

She says they are by no means expert travellers.

“Go and be surprised. No expectations and no disappointments.”

The couple – a secretary and a computer technician – met and fell in love as youngsters. They spent their teenage years dreaming, they laugh.

“The secret is to start,” says Cande.

“When we first started our journey, we stopped after 55km because the wooden wheels on the car were giving us trouble, but things did get better. Even for the car – it was painted in the Philippines, chrome-fitted in Mexico, and had its engine rebuilt in New York.”

Some might call them crazy.

But who’s crazy? would surely be their retort. The one who follows his dream, or the who that does not? - The Mercury

* The Zapp family will be at the Hillcrest Heritage Market on July 28 and 29. To find out more about them, visit