It’s so important for us to enjoy as much as we can while we can.
But in her 85 years, one woman never got the chance to experience many of life’s pleasures, including feeling the sand between her toes at the beach or admiring the majesty of a mountain. Lucky for her, she has the best grandson ever — with a matching passion for adventure.
Back in 2015, Brad Ryan traveled to his hometown in Ohio from Washington, D.C. There, he visited his grandmother, whom he calls Grandma Joy. Feeling burned out from veterinary school, he hoped the trip would help him relax and refresh. But while sharing stories of his travels with the octogenarian, he was heartbroken to hear she’d never even gone camping, nor had she seen a mountain or the ocean. It was then that he resolved to help his beloved grandma see the world.
The two first set off on the road in the summer of 2017, driving 10,000 miles to visit 21 U.S. National Parks in 28 days. And yes, Grandma Joy finally saw a mountain…
…and experienced firsthand the sun and surf of a beach, always with her grandson by her side.
“I felt a calling to ensure she was not forgotten and that she was given the opportunity to live the life of adventure she had never been able to fulfill,” Ryan said.
And he made good on it. Since that first trip, Ryan says they’ve spent a total of 50 days on the road. So far, they’ve traveled 25,000 miles and have been to 38 states, where Joy’s infectious smile and pure, well, joy, touches everyone she meets.
“Everywhere we go people are inspired by Grandma Joy’s spirit and attitude. She believes you’re never too old to try something once whether it’s rolling down a sand dune in Great Sand Dunes National Park or hiking 5 miles round trip to see the Alum Cave Bluffs in the Smokies,” Ryan said.
“When she says, ‘I probably won’t be back here again,’ it always affirms that tomorrow is never guaranteed.” he added. “Our grandparents take their stories with them when they leave earth, and I want to make sure her legacy and life’s journey is preserved.”
Now Grandma Joy is 89 years old, but something tells us she’s nowhere near done with her adventures — not if her grandson has anything to do with it. We can’t wait to see more of all the wonders they’ll experience. In the meantime, you can find more photos of their travels on Instagram.
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