For many people, life is all about experiences. It’s about making the most of the time we have, seeing as much as possible and living each day to the fullest so we have no regrets.
Joy Ryan, an elderly lady in her late 80s, definitely had some regrets.
She’d never really gone on vacation throughout her long life. She hadn’t even seen the mountains or the ocean, and when her grandson, Brad, heard about that, he decided to take action.
It was in 2017 that Brad decided to invite his grandma on the trip of a lifetime: he offered to take her to all 61 of America’s national parks, from Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon!
In an interview with Fox 31 Denver, Joy revealed her response:
I said, ‘Let’s give it a whirl!’ I’m glad to try anything. I said, ‘I’m not going to sit down and drink tea and watch soap operas until I have to.
Their trip begin in style as the pair visited no less than 21 national parks in just 28 days. Joy, who is now aged 89, climbed a mountain and slept in a tent for the first time ever during that trip.
She developed a real thirst for adventure, rolling down the dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and marveling at the beautiful landscapes in every place they visited.
She got up close and personal with all kinds of wildlife too, with Brad saying “When you have a full-grown moose running straight at you and your grandma can’t run away from it, you just have to stand there and hope for the best.”
Now, a few years later, Brad and Joy are still traveling around and visiting more and more of the nation’s national parks, still hoping to hit up all 61 in the coming months and years.
They’ve visited 36 of the parks so far, traveling around 28,000 miles in the process and traversing many of the country’s states. Joy has seen the Grand Canyon, the Rocky Mountains, and the redwood forests of California.
Joy says her favorite park so far was Rocky Mountains National Park, where she really enjoyed the aspen trees.
I love those aspen trees. When the wind blows, it looks like coins in the air… You just can’t describe how beautiful it is. I hope people go see it.
Brad has shared photos and videos from their adventures online and Joy has been simply overwhelmed by the experience so far.
She and Brad hope that their travels will inspire other elderly people to realize that it’s never too late to pursue your dreams, try something new, and make the most of life.
As Joy herself says:
Everything we see is something new and beautiful and hard to absorb. It really is. You just can’t express it. It’s been really great. I love it.
It’s an inspiring tale, and it’s wonderful to see a young man organize such a life-changing trip for someone he loves so dearly. Learn more about the story in the video below.
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