Brad Ryan and his 93-year-old grandmother Joy visited all 63 parks in about 8 years time, becoming the oldest person ever to do so.
The pair tells goodnewsnetwork.org their journey began in October of 2015 when they visited Great Smokey Mountains National Park in Tennessee and concluded last Monday when they made it all the way out into the South Pacific to American Samoa.
Brad Ryan says it was the ‘greatest privilege of my life’.
The most recent and final trip, organized by Brad who works as a veterinarian, has been particularly bittersweet (though he emphasizes the ‘sweet’) since it came just a week after the death of his father, Joy’s oldest son.
Throughout the recent parks, Brad and Joy have been documenting their trips on the @grandmajoysroadtrip Instagram account.
“Grandma Joy has taught the world that you are never too old to show up and live the adventurous life of your dreams. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be in the driver’s seat as Grandma Joy made history to become the oldest person to achieve this historic feat.”
While Brad said their national park adventure has ended, their travels will not. They plan to take it internationally, visiting Kenya on a National Geographic-organized expedition as the first stop on a mission to touch all seven continents, and maybe, if Joy keeps her enthusiasm, outer space as well.