When Brad Ryan and his Grandma Joy hit the tarmac in American Samoa in May 2023, the passengers and staff on board gave them a rapturous round of applause.
Visiting a National Park in the South Pacific, whilst undoubtedly a lovely thing to do, probably isn't worthy of a round of applause on its own. However, the eight year adventure that led to that ovation is most certainly worth celebrating.
Joy Ryan is known as 'Grandma Joy', not just to Brad, but to over 100 thousand Instagram followers, who watched as, at 93 years old, she became the oldest person to visit every single National Park in the United States of America.
The trip began in 2015 when, in an effort to build bridges after almost a decade of estrangement, Brad asked Joy, then in her mid 80s, if she'd like to go camping in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.
It would be the first time Grandma Joy ever slept under canvas, and the beginning of an 8 year odyssey that would see her summiting her first mountain, rolling down dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado and getting up close and personal with a herd of bison in Yellowstone National Park.
Here at Bucket List Prints, we are obsessed with travel and adventure, and when we learned that Grandma Joy and Brad had completed their epic journey, we reached out to offer our congratulations.
We asked Brad if there was one particular park with a special memory attached to it. He told us about when they went white water rafting in Wrangell St Elias National Park, Alaska - on class 3 rapids no less. “You just have to hang on, that’s all.” – Grandma Joy
When they reached the end of the rafting trip, Grandma Joy exclaimed, “Good gravy, what a trip!” which seems an appropriate summary of the past 8 years.
This charming quote has now been immortalised on a personalised print which we sent to Joy and Brad. We hope it brings back special memories every time they look at it.
The adventure doesn’t stop there. Brad and Joy have recently completed an African safari and now have their sights set on the 7 continents.
You can follow Brad and Grandma Joy’s adventures on their excellent instagram page.
Want to commemorate an adventure of your own? Look no further, Bucket List Prints has got posters of every single National Park in the USA.