Grandma Joy is proving that, even at 85 years old, it’s never too late to start a journey of a lifetime. After expressing to her grandson, Brad Ryan, that she regretted not having taken more trips in her life, Ryan decided to make up for that by taking her on a tour of every national park; they began with the Great Smoky Mountains.
Four years since their first trip, the traveling duo has visited 29 national parks, as of Aug. 13, and built a considerable online following. Both intend to visit all 61 national parks in the United States. So far, Ryan’s favorite memories have been watching Grandma roll down a dune at Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado and waiting for a sunrise together atop the Grand Canyon in Arizona.
Grandma Joy’s bucket-list travels have also caught the attention of Airbnb. The lodging and tourism company took notice of her story on Twitter and offered to send her and Ryan to Hawaii if its tweet reached 500 likes. In less than 45 minutes, the tweet reached its goal; as of Aug. 26, the tweet has garnered 1,408 likes and 124 retweets.
While we don’t yet know if Grandma Joy has accepted, Hawaii offers the chance to check two national parks off her list: Haleakalā and Hawaii Volcanoes.
Haleakalā is a volcano on the island of Maui and is the home of the greatest number of endangered species in a United States national park. It’s highlighted by a large crater and a Hosmer’s Grove of alien trees. The Hawaii Volcanoes on Hawaii’s Big Island are comprised of two active volcanoes: Kīlauea and Mauna Loa. Within the park, explorers can go from tropical forests at sea level to lava beds elevated thousands of feet above.
In addition to its national parks, Hawaii is also home to a national historic trail (Ala Kahakai), a not-yet-opened national historic site (Honouliuli), three national historical parks (Kalaupapa, Kaloko-Honokōhau and Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau) and a national memorial (Pearl Harbor).
Follow along with Grandma Joy’s and Ryan’s adventures on Facebook.