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This guy travels the world in his VW food truck

A man is standing in front of a VW food truck with a sign on it.

These days there’s no shortage of “I gave up my job to travel” stories, but this one might just be the tastiest of them all. Meet Franco Paltrinieri, a 28 year old adventurer who left his beloved Buenos Aires with the dream of taking his Volkswagen food truck all the way to mighty Alaska.


The story began back in 2012, when a 24 year old Argentinian with a career in marketing made the life-changing decision to purchase a 1985 Volkswagen bus and drive it from South to North America. After dreaming about an Alaskan odyssey for years, Franco decided one day that enough was simply enough. No more dreaming – time to start doing. And so “Rutas Salvajes” was born, literally translated to ‘wild routes’, the name of Franco’s mission.

But before he could hit the road, there was the small question of funding. Franco juggled various jobs, from waiting tables and working in construction to selling snacks on the beach. Any option was good enough as long as it achieved the goal of travelling as far and wide as possible.

A black and white photo of a man in an apron operating a VW food truck.

Thanks to his hard work, the Argentinian managed to put enough money aside to give Clarita (because every beautiful VW deserves an equally beautiful name) a new makeover, pimping her into a glorious food truck. Franco had never trained as a Chef, but that didn’t stop him from making the most succulent lomitos on the road – a traditional Argentinian steak sandwich cooked with Fernet, a local liquor. His home cooked delights were a hit in every country he visited, creating a formidable money making team.

Seriously, who wouldn’t want to buy a sandwich from this guy? Apart from making tasty food, Franco also looks like he’s one heck of a joker…

So far, Clarita and Franco have travelled more than 6’000 km across 12 countries: Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panamá, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador, and not without their share of adventurous and often slightly scary stories, like the time the VW’s brakes failed on Death Road in Bolivia…

Travelling the world in a retro van whilst selling delicious sandwiches, continuously making new friends and learning from the school of life: we’re pretty sure Franco won’t quit THIS job any time soon. And why would he? Originally Franco thought it would take 2 years to complete his journey, but turns out he’s been on the road for three and a half years and has still got a loooong way to go before reaching Alaska, so the journey continues…