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Ultimate Family Road Trip: From Argentina to Philly for the World Meeting of Families

Courtesy of the Walker family

Zelda Caldwell - published on 05/12/15 - updated on 06/08/17

A family of six sets out on an 11,000 mile journey in a VW bus

The Walker family of Argentina took the Vatican’s open invitation to attend this year’s World Meeting of Families quite literally. 

They’ve packed their four children, ages two to twelve, into a 1980 VW bus, and are headed north for an 11,000 mile trip to “meet other families” in Philadelphia this September. 

“We simply want to step out and meet other families. Get to know them, share a piece of their lives, learn to embrace our differences and similarities and nourish our souls with the experiences we will have during this road trip,” writes Noel Zemborain on
Indiegogo, a crowdsourcing website they’re using to help fund the trip.

Established in 1994 by Saint Pope John Paul II, the World Meeting of Families is held every three years. This year’s theme, “Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” will emphasize the importance of family to society and will be attended by Pope Francis and up to two million Catholics.

As Argentinians, the Noel and her husband Alfredo “Catire” Walker felt inspired by their countryman, Pope Francis. 

““We’re very fond of Pope Francis, not only because he’s Argentine, but because the way he talks about things,”  Noël told
CBS Philadelphia.  “He’s very simple, down to earth, and a loving pope, and he’s promoting and defending and taking care of families. As a family, we feel backed up by him — that he understands, and that he wants to take care of families all over the world.”

Noel told the Catholic News Agency that they had always wanted to take a big trip when their kids were older, but decided the World of the Families offered a chance of a lifetime.  

To make the seven-month journey from Argentina to Philadelphia they hope to
raise $14,300 to cover the cost of travelling by VW bus and flying back to Buenos Aires.  

“We are using our savings and selling everything that we will not be using on these seven months and the near future. We want to learn to travel light.” 

Noel, Catire and their four kids Carmin, 2; Mia, 5; Dimas, 8; and Cala, 12, can sleep in a tent and in the VW bus which has seats that convert into beds, but they hope to stay with other families along the way.  

“During seven months we will be travelling across America thanks to the support and generosity of families that are willing to open their homes and lives to share one or more days with us. We know we are quite a few but we are more than happy to accommodate to the possibilities of each host family.”

Check in with Aleteia throughout the summer as we follow the family on their trip to Philly. Last week the family met with a bit of a stumbling block: the ferry that they hoped would take them from Colombia to Panama is no longer in operation and all other alternatives are prohibitively expensive. “We are going to find a way!!!” reads the status on their
Facebook page.

For more information and to help the Walkers fund their trip visit

ArgentinaPope FrancisVatican
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