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92-Year-Old Grandma and Grandson Are On a Mission to Visit Every US National Park

The majority of people strive to spend their lives experiencing excitement and making long-lasting memories, usually with the people we love most. When we have an opportunity to make memories with the people we love, our cups become full and we feel revitalized. Our bodies and souls crave the peace and beauty of nature. Therefore, visiting National Parks is a great way to accomplish all of that, in one trip. If you needed a reason to smile today, here it is: a woman from a small town in Ohio has decided to explore the great outdoors. What makes this story so much more precious is, she’s visiting the National Parks with her grandson!

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Just Getting Started

Back in 2015, a young man named Brad Ryan, invited his 92-year grandma, Joy Ryan, along on a weekend getaway. She hadn’t had the chance to do a lot of traveling in her life and he really wanted her to have that experience. “I felt bad that she was always living vicariously through my stories,” Brad told GMA. “And so just knowing that she had never seen deserts and mountains and the ocean and these incredible wild places on Earth, it just felt like a responsibility that I had to her to make sure that she had some memories to take away in her life story as well.[1]. He invited her on a weekend trip to a National Park, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park to be more specific. 

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A Grandon’s Kindness Changed Lives

He figured this would be a great experience for her to have and was thrilled to share this time with her. They enjoyed the trip so much, that they decided to embark on a mission to see every National Park they could. Then Covid hit and everything was shut down. It was unknown if they’d be able to complete their goal and make it to all 63 National Parks. ‘They had visited 29 parks until the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to slow down. “All we could do was hope that things would change and that those opportunities would still be there and then be grateful for everything that we had been able to do and see up until that point,” Brad said.’[1] They were able to resume their adventures and have now been to 62 of the 63 National Parks. The last park on their list is National Park American Samoa and we can’t wait to see the pictures and updates.

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Instagram Made them Famous

In 2019, Brad decided he wanted to document these grand adventures so he began an Instagram account. When Brad originally began the account the intent was to share these National Parks adventures with Grandma Joy’s friends and neighbors back home. However, with such a heartwarming story, word got around and the account blew up. It’s gotten bigger than either anticipated but both are thrilled to be able to document and share this exciting excursion with others. This special story has made waves in the world of social media. The account, @GrandmaJoy’sRoadtrip, now has over 58K followers!  

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Their Most Thrilling Adventure.

The most exciting excursion they’ve been on was to Alaska to visit 8 of 63 National Parks. Together they went hiking and white water rafting. They also encountered some incredible wildlife and breathtaking views. “I always wanted to see the bears get the fish and I finally got to see it. And it was fun, it really was,” Grandma Joy said.[1]  With her thirst for adventure, Grandma Joy is an inspiration to many who’ve been held back by the notion that their bodies just won’t cooperate any longer. She has pushed her body to the fullest and redefined what it means to grow old. 

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A Truly Inspirational Story 

While the opportunity to go on so many great adventures is an incredible gift, the most magical part of this whole story is that they did it together. Many people I know, including myself, have (or had) special bonds with our grandparents. To experience these adventures with them would bring such joy and leave a truly lasting impression. Brad is incredibly lucky to have this opportunity and has been able to make some very special memories. He’s sure to remember these moments forever but what else makes this story so magical? Brad can one day share these National Park adventures with his children and grandchildren so his grandmother’s legacy will live on. The special bond she and Brad share will live on in the hearts of everyone around them and those who’ve heard of their great National Park adventures.

Keep Reading: Woman finds 4.38-carat diamond at Crater of Diamonds State Park

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Sources

  1. 92-year-old grandma and grandson are on a mission to visit every US national park together.” Good Morning America. Caroline Kucera. August 25, 2022.
  2. Grandma Joy’s Road Trip.” Instagram
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