Herman and Candelaria Zapp and their family of four's dream trip around the world.
This year Alethea Cocotos(44), a Constantia local, took a risk and opened her home to a South American family of 6 virtual strangers. As a result her life has been changed forever.
“About a year ago my uncle phoned me to tell me about this family traveling the world in a vintage car,” Cocotos said. “So I looked them up on the internet, was totally inspired by what I read and so bought their book, ‘Spark your dream,’ which I read cover to cover.”
Herman Zapp(42) and Candelaria Zapp(40) left Argentinia 13 years ago to fulfill a childhood dream of theirs to travel to Alaska. The initial plan was to backpack there and then return home to make way for their second dream: to have children.
“As it turns out, we neither backpacked nor did we return home to have children, all four of our kids were born on the road and each on a different continent,” Candelaria Zapp says.
Pampa(8) was born in the USA, their second son, Tehue(5), in Argentina, their princess, Paloma(3) was born in Canada and their third boy, Wallaby(1) was born in Australia.
“I was reading the last chapter of their book when my father called,” Cocotos recalls, “and he told me to quickly turn the telly on. It was a news clip about the Zapp’s arriving in Durban for the next part of their journey to the top of Africa.”
Cocotos is a single lady and is, by her own admission, rather shy. Going against her nature though, Cocotos e-mailed the Zapps, inviting them to her home in Cape Town. “I knew I stood a good chance of them accepting my invite because I knew from reading their book that they were a family who followed their hearts.”
So to her great delight, her risk payed off and on May the 6th, 2013, the Zapp’s arrived at her doorstep in their green 1928 Graham Paige car. “When I first met them, I just wanted to hear about their travels, where they had been and what they had done,” Cocotos says, “but the more that I have gotten to know them, the more I have become intrigued with the way that they look at life as opposed to just their travels.”
“Our journey is a heart journey, not a head journey,” Mr Zapp once told Cocotos, “if it were a head journey I would still be stuck in an office working my life away, just dreaming about this journey.”
The Zapp’s dream at first was to cross the Americas and travel to Alaska. That dream grew along the way and four continents later they are now staying in Cocotos’s one bedroom apartment in Constantia, poised to cross their fifth continent. “Their life philosophy has rubbed off on me,” Cocotos said, “I have determined in my heart to be more adventurous relationally and to be more spontaneous.”
Cocotos said that a highlight of hers while having the Zapp family in her home was the trip that they took from Green Point to Cape Point in the vintage car. “It was amazing to see how people reacted to the car, how it drew people and opened their hearts to the Zapp family and then to see how the Zapp’s welcomed those people into their lives.”
“When you travel as much as we do, a mountain can become just another mountain, a beach just another beach, but the one thing that is always guaranteed to be different is people. It is the people we have met along the way that we have loved the most about our journey,” Herman and Candalaria Zapp say in unison.
“My father is helping Herman fix his car, and once it is ready, they will head off. I was hoping, rather selfishly, that it would need a lot of work so that they could stay longer, but my father says it is in a pretty good condition,” Cocotos said.
The Zapp family will be at the Porter Estate Market in Tokai on Saturday the 25th form 9am till 1pm and would love to meet anyone interested in speaking to them about their journey.
Words and Images by Clinton Wittstock, Freelance writer and photographer