07/02/2013 07:18 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Former 'National Geographic' Photographers May Just Be The Coolest Grandparents Ever


Photos from most grandparents' pasts typically involve family barbecues in the backyard and game nights on the vinyl-slipcovered couch. But most grandparents weren't photographers for National Geographic at the dawn of commercial air travel.

Reddit user ferballz shared this wanderlust-inducing photo album of her grandparents, Tom and Lynn Abercrombie, and their many adventures as photographers for the iconic world travel magazine. The photos, taken either by Tom or Lynn during their four decades of travel, show a levity and openness to the wonders of traveling we would all do well to embody.

"Your grandparents lived, possibly, the most adventurous lives ever," wrote Reddit user raymo1986. "I would have killed to have seen 1/10 of the world that they did."

Tom started his 40+ year career at National Geographic in 1956, and traveled with his wife, Lynn. Lynn contributed freelance photography to the magazine as well, providing readers access to the worlds of women abroad. From the frigid South Pole to going underwater with Jacques Cousteau on the maiden voyage of the Soucoupe, it seems like there wasn't anywhere the Abercrombies hadn't left their mark.

Sadly, Tom passed away in 2006. But these photos live on and inspire the same wonder the Ambercrombies must have felt during their travels. Before he died, Tom wrote a book about their experiences called "Traveling the World for National Geographic." Lynn, their daughter and a grandson spent three years editing the text. A quote from Tom featured in the book's description on Amazon beautifully describes the pair's adventures:

"This is a story, a picture story, of two very lucky people before whom was spread out the greatest of treasures, the planet Earth. We traveled aboard a magic carpet, the one with the yellow borders, National Geographic magazine. During four decades we wandered over all the continents and left wakes across the seven seas."

"I lost my grandfather too young," ferballz wrote later in the thread. "I was only in my twenties and I was just beginning to appreciate his stories. I was just beginning to pay attention to world politics and his views on the Muslim world were starting to be very relevant to me. But luckily he passed these stories on to my mother, and luckily I have books worth of articles to read!"



Sweet Reddit Grandparent Stories