Man travels with each of 19 grandchildrenDick Bourne has been to “only” 67 countries in his life. The 74-year-old has it on his ever-growing bucket list to continue traveling the world now, with each of his 19 grandchildren. Bourne, of Oakes, discovered his love of travel while spending 21 years in the military. After the recession hit his retirement funds a year and a half ago, Bourne decided to use the money he had left by taking each grandchild to the destination of their choice.
By: An AP Member Exchange Feature By Kristen Daum, The Forum, The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — Dick Bourne has been to “only” 67 countries in his life.
The 74-year-old has it on his ever-growing bucket list to continue traveling the world now, with each of his 19 grandchildren.
Bourne, of Oakes, discovered his love of travel while spending 21 years in the military. After the recession hit his retirement funds a year and a half ago, Bourne decided to use the money he had left by taking each grandchild to the destination of their choice.
“I could be doing something and having some fun,” Bourne said. “So instead of leaving the kids an inheritance, I thought I’d leave them with some memories.”
Bourne has already taken several grandchildren on trips ranging from Walt Disney World in Florida to Japan. He has many more left.
The 19 grandchildren range from 2 years old to their mid-20s, so Bourne doesn’t expect to finish all the trips right away.
Bourne went to Walt Disney World last winter with two grandchildren and explored four parks in five days.
Although Bourne said he wore the kids out, 10-year-old Christopher Schmit of Oakes just laughed and explained, “He walks very fast.”
At 74, Bourne has energy and drive and says he doesn’t want to waste time missing out on what he wants to accomplish “because I only have about 25 good years left.”
In June, Bourne and grandson Robert Schmit, 15, Christopher’s brother, spent 20 days driving from North Dakota to Maine. During that time, they started knocking off another item on Bourne’s bucket list — hiking the highest point in each state.
Schmit and his grandfather hiked 17 states’ high points during their road trip and plan to hike four more this Labor Day weekend with visits to Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota and North Dakota.
Schmit said his favorite stop on their last vacation was visiting Hershey, Pa., because “there was lots of chocolate.”
Bourne and 15-year-old Abbie Anna Rivas of Raymondville, Texas, ventured to Japan in July, visiting the Tokyo area and taking a memorable hike up Mount Fuji, the nation’s highest peak.
“We climbed Mount Fuji at night so we could see the sunrise at 4:28 in the morning,” Bourne recalled.
Rivas’ mother, Toni, said it was her daughter’s “life dream” to go to Japan.
“We are very blessed that he has given us memories of a lifetime,” Toni Rivas said of her father. “He’s something else. He’s very generous and very giving, and he’s truly a blessing.”
Bourne said his own grandfather helped raise him, so it’s partially that history that drives him to connect with the youngest generation of his family.
“In my whole life of memories, my grandfather really is somebody that was so important in my life, so maybe I’d like to pass that on,” he said.
After the weekend’s excursion with Schmit and another grandson, 15-year-old Rhett Carlson of Fargo, Bourne already has his next trip lined up.
He’s taking Carlson on a spear-fishing trip to Florida in October and then he’s taking a granddaughter to Hawaii for the Thanksgiving holiday.
“It’s just so fun to watch with my own kids every one of them has different things they enjoy, and Dick just loves it,” said Rhett’s mother, Kris Carlson.
Bourne plans to take other grandchildren on trips to London, Ireland and Scotland.
“I’ve got to a stage now where I’m comfortable,” Bourne said. “I’m not as comfortable to be able to take all 19 grandkids right away unless you’re filthy rich — these things cost money, but it’s worth it to me to see the smiles on their face and give them an experience they won’t forget.”
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