The Gran Adventure – Backpacking Asia with Grandma
Nathanel Creson and his last-remaining grandparent wanted to get to know each other better and together they decided to take a four-month backpacking trip across Asia.
Now, this isn’t your ordinary vacation. The 26-year-old former Stirling student is venturing across six countries with his 74-year-old grandmother Edna Nahari and they’ll be vlogging their journey along the way.
They hope that by grabbing a rucksack and hitting the road together that they will learn from one another and inspire people to help narrow the gap between generations.
Creson and his grandma whom he calls Safta – the Hebrew nickname for grandmother – began their adventure in March. So far, they have visited China and South Korea and were headed for Tokyo when I spoke to Creson. After their stay in Japan, they plan to visit the Philippines, Taiwan, and will round off the trip in India.
Originally from Gothenburg, Creson is already quite well travelled since leaving Sweden seven years ago. He has lived in Norway and attended university in Scotland for four years before moving to Barcelona. It was when his grandmother came to visit him in Spain that the idea of The Gran Adventure was born.
He said: “We took long walks together and started talking about life and I really felt that I wanted to get to know her better and not think one day ‘wish we had spoken more’.
“Being the crazy person that I am I asked if she wanted to go travelling with me. She thought it was a brilliant idea and said yes immediately. Since she is my last grandparent, that also made this decision very easy for me.
“We both hope to inspire others, both young and old, to narrow the gap between our generations. And even though we have always been very close, we are also confident that we’ll get to know each other even better. This is just one of those experiences that one day you will look back at and say, ‘that was the experience of my life’”.
Creson is one of Safta’s 24 grandchildren and though their age gap is approximately 48 years, Creson tells me it could actually be more.
He says “Safta was born in Yemen at a time where women did not have birth certificates. As such, when she moved to Israel, they did not know her age, but she should be approximately 74. Fun fact, because of this her ID says she’s born on the 1st of January.”
So far, they have slept in hotels and hostels, but say they are not afraid to stay on a sofa if they get the chance. Creson says “Neither me nor grandma are looking for luxury. If we have the opportunity to sleep on the couch, we will do that.”
Although it is a “backpacker trip” across Asia, they are doing things differently than if Creson was travelling with friends his own age. Whilst Creson and his grandmother aren’t partying into the night it doesn’t mean they are taking it easy. They recently visited a Korean rave and he said he is amazed by the strength his grandmother has shown on the trip so far.
Safta needed to shake it so we ended up at a KOREAN HARBOR RAVE! :DWe also took the time to speak out and reflect about what this trip means to us and what message it is we are trying to spread to the world. Please let us know what you think.SHARE to spead the POSITIVITY on Facebook! ?<3 LIKE The Gran Adventure on Facebook and Instagram. ?Take It Easy by MBB https://soundcloud.com/mbbofficialCreative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported— CC BY-SA 3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b…Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/8DAL4muQUC8
Posted by The Gran Adventure on Saturday, 28 April 2018
“We travel at a slower pace than I would have normally done if I had travelled with friends. But I don’t mind that, to me, seeing things from her perspective and how much this trip means to her is more than enough.
“We have visited the Great Wall of China, hiked up 1000 stairs to see incredible mountain views, seen women dive without tubes to pick shellfish from the ocean, seen a show on a lake with more than 500 actors, and walked through a cave that was formed by a lava eruption more than ten thousand years ago, and these are just a few of our experiences.
“I think my favourite experience was hiking up the Moon Mountain, which we made a video blog about on our Facebook page. We didn’t know it would be so difficult but gran managed to get to the top without giving up. Thinking about it, I am so proud that she managed to find the strength within her to complete the hike. She’s amazing! “
Safta has six children, 24 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren and at the age of 74 you could be excused for thinking that her and 26-year-old Creson may not have much in common. They are different in many ways but Safta believes there is much Creson can teach her.
Safta said: “It’s hard for people to imagine how an old grandmother and such a young guy travel together and are having fun. So maybe our trip inspires them and shows how the young should think more of the elderly.
“There is a lot to learn from this. I have learned a lot myself. That the world is so beautiful it would be a shame not to see it. The older generation can also learn from the young. We need to understand their mentality, that it’s another generation with another way of thinking. It’s the generation of interest.”
And the experience has also had a profound effect on Creson who says he respects his Safta more than ever.
“I have always known this but having spoken to her has just reinforced that Safta is the kindest human being I know. Everywhere she goes she moves people on such a deep level.
“As an example, at our latest AirBNB stay, our hosts gave us a gift. How incredible is that? Safta is the only one I know that can have such an effect on people and I think it is because she is so pure and innocent. She is also religious and for me I have gained a deeper understanding where her faith comes from and how that has shaped her into the beautiful human being that she is.
“Overall, I respect her a lot more, not just as my grandmother but also as an older woman, which I think is very important. I think Safta has learned to respect me as a young man who is more tech savvy. I am in charge of the planning and I make sure we get to our destinations. I also think she understands that what we are doing is more than ordinary and without having to say it I know that she is very grateful.”
If you’ve read enough and you and an elderly relative are considering an adventure of your own, then Creson has some words of wisdom for you.
“To the young ones looking to do a similar trip, my biggest advice is, remember that this trip is not about you. Throw away your ego and ask yourself why you are doing this. Avoid the touristy destinations so that you will not fall for the temptation of going out every other night with the other backpackers in your hostel.
“Make sure the purpose of your trip is clear and when it is, make sure that every decision thereafter is for your travel partner. Remember that the person you are travelling with is much older than you. Respect that you might have differing opinions about things but that it is okay. You might not always agree, but it is learning about your differences and similarities that will bring you closer in the end.”
“To the people who are young in spirit but not so young physically, help your travel partners and communicate. Pack lightly and remember that this trip is to open your appetite for the world. Your travel partner will inevitably worry about your health. If you feel tired make sure to let them know and take it easy. It is better to speak up than to get injured. Your partner will also get stressed at times. Give them some space and a lot of love. They’ll get over it soon and before you know it you will be having another “best experience of my life”.
Creson and Safta will continue on their journey over the next couple of months but say that this trip might not be the end of their Gran Adventure.
“After this, I will probably move to Tel Aviv and work in something related to social media. Perhaps I will continue to occasionally vlog with gran from there. She is already looking forward to planning her next adventure.
“It is and has never been about the destination. This is all about the journey.”