According to renowned author J.R.R Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost”.Most of the time, it’s just a soul embarking on a grand adventure of faraway places.White rivers gushing through the tallest trees, climbing snowcapped mountains, or trekking through a dry desert.
In Duncan Falls, two people are preparing to travel to the South Pacific.The National Park of American Samoa is a sight to behold with crystal clear waters and jungles covering the lowlands.This island is over 6,700 miles from Duncan Town, and at almost 100 years old, Grandma Joy is saying no to giving up the dream.
The grand adventure started with a conversation.
Brad Ryan, her grandson, talked about his adventures through the Appalachian Trail. Since then, Grandma Joy has been gripped with wonder.
Living vicariously isn’t enough.
Ryan shared to Good Morning America that he felt bad that his grandmother was living vicariously through his stories.
She was almost a hundred years old but Ryan said she hasn’t seen deserts, mountains, and oceans.
That’s when the duo from Ohio decided to embark on an adventure they’ll never forget.
The duo began their travels in 2015.
Ryan was looking for a way to spend his three-day weekend. He wanted his grandmother to have stories of her own and luckily for them, the United States boasts an array of national parks.
The wildest of wonders
Their first stop was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At first, they expected it would be their only trip together.
After all, Grandma Joy was already 85 at that time. Both of them underestimated what the spirit of adventure can enable someone to do.
The duo became the unexpected ambassadors to America’s most impressive collections of geological, biological, botanical, and oceanic wonders.
They set up an Instagram account to document their adventures and have quickly gained a following of over 63,000 people on the platform alone.
They have over 1,000 posts from the swirling walls of the Grand Canyon, the surreal rock formations of Utah, the torched land of Joshua tree, and the bluest waters of Hawai’i.
And while the pandemic slowed their adventures down, they bounced back to one of their greatest adventures yet – they visited Alaska’s eight national parks.
They went whitewater rafting, hiked through glaciers, and encounter wildlife in America’s last frontier.
The adventure continues.
You might think that age may have stopped Grandma Joy, but she’s determined to get to the finish line.
According to their Instagram account, they’ve visited 62 out of 63 national parks. The duo is excited but also feels that the last one will be “bittersweet”.
“It’s been a grand adventure, it really has,” Grandma Joy said. “It’s really been a beautiful, beautiful time. And I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
As for a piece of advice
Grandma Joy said that she always wanted to be positive in her life and it won’t hurt to try something once.
After all, it’s better to live without regrets.
Meanwhile, Ryan conceded that not everyone is privileged enough to visit all national parks.
He said this shouldn’t stop people from going on adventures because there are always places to discover around us.
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