Seven years ago, Brad Ryan was struggling to finish his veterinary program at Ohio State University. For the first time in his life, he began feeling suicidal, and not long after, one of his classmates took their own life. This sent Ryan into a tailspin, and he knew he needed a break.
He recalled a moment a few years earlier when he was chatting with his grandmother, Joy, and she admitted to never seeing a mountain in her life. With that moment in mind, he called his grandmother and started planning their first trip to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Thus began a 50,000-mile journey for Ryan and Joy. Ryan is now a veterinarian and mental health advocate, famous on social media for his travels with his grandmother. They’ve flown to Alaska, Hawaii and the Virgin Islands to reach their goal of visiting all 63 U.S. national parks, and will visit their final park in American Samoa this year when Joy turns 93.
Ryan shares the critical perspective of intergenerational relationships during our darker hours. As he astutely notes, “A dark day, a dark week, a dark month, a dark quarter is not a dark life. It’s not the totality of what’s possible for our future.”
Ryan and In the Details host Karen Allen weigh the pros and cons of ambition, and how the untold pressure of social perception and judgement keeps us silent. He also revisits memorable experiences with Joy, who is from the Silent Generation, and how they forced each other to confront their individual fears and the trauma they both experienced to help each other overcome.
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