The Heartwarming Story of an 89-Year-Old Grandma Who Visited 29 National Parks with Her Grandson


September 27th is World Tourism Day. Since 1980,
the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated the day to
recognize the good things that tourism does, including job creation, heightened
cross-cultural learning and economic improvements.

Road Scholar, the
not-for-profit leader in educational travel for older adults, is taking this
opportunity to celebrate the millions of people from around the world who
travel to lands far and near and leave the world a better place in their wake.

People like Brad and Grandma Joy.

Road Scholar GrandmaRoad Scholar Grandma

The Beautiful Friendship of Grandma Joy and Her Grandson

38-year-old Brad Ryan is a veterinarian at the Smithsonian
Zoo in Washington, D.C. His grandmother, Joy Ryan, 89, currently lives in Ohio.

Brad has fond memories of spending time on the road with his
grandma; in particular, their first road trip together in 1983. They lost track
of each other but reconnected recently and decided to embark on an epic journey
together to visit all of the nation’s 61 National Parks together.

The Duo Has Explored 29 U.S. National Parks Together

Brad documented the trips on social media over the summer,
and the story went viral, with features on National Public Radio, Good Morning
America and dozens of other news outlets. It was the travel story of the

“Once Road Scholar learned about Brad and Grandma Joy, we
knew we could play a role in helping them reach their goal,” said Stacie
Fasola, senior director, public relations.

As an educational travel organization that provides group
travel for older adults, we thought Brad and Grandma Joy would love to experience
their next National Park with us. We reached out to Brad and Grandma Joy, and
are thrilled to host them on their first visit together to the Channel Islands National park.

Brad and Grandma Joy met in Ohio on September 8th – which also happened to be National Grandparents Day – to embark on their 30th National Park visit.

“I can’t
imagine a better place for two wildlife lovers like me and Grandma Joy,” said
Brad. “We have dreamed of visiting these enchanting islands and viewing the
unique flora and fauna that can be found nowhere else on earth. We cannot wait
to share our Road Scholar experience with the countless people who have reached
out to us and expressed a desire to plan an inter-generational road trip for
their families.”

Find your ideal learning adventure with Road Scholar. Get started here.

Brad and Grandma Joy Will Join 30 Other Adult Learners on
the Program

is no doubt that my grandson and I have seen a lot of beautiful places for the
first time during our road trips, but I can’t stress enough how much I have
loved meeting so many interesting people from all over the world,” said Grandma

“So many
people my age are sitting at home and feel like their lives are over. I hope
they hear about our Road Scholar trip and decide it’s time to start making new
plans. It’s never too late to make new friends. It’s never too late to plan a
new adventure. Learning doesn’t have an expiration date.”

So on this World Tourism Day, we salute the Ryan’s, and all
of the other travelers who seek to learn about the world around them, and use
travel to build bridges across cultures and, across generations.   

Learn more about Grandma Joy and Brad’s story on their Facebook page and Instagram.  

Road Scholar offers learning adventures for nearly all of the National Parks in the U.S. Click here to learn more.

Have you ever travelled with your grandchildren? If you
could visit any place in the world with your grandkids, where would you go and

Let\’s Have a Conversation!


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