Paul Gallant is an accountant by training, a free spirit and a mensch. At 84 years old, he is nothing short of youthful. In 2016, he ran a half-marathon and became a Bar Mitzvah. Diane, 80, is a retired marketing executive now active in non-profit causes. She is a cancer survivor twice over. 

One day in 1998, they asked their son and daughter-in-law if they could take their grandsons, ages 6 and 9, on a holiday vacation to Cancun. This would be a first for the grandkids – a week away and alone with their grandparents. The kids loved that time and were hungry for more. And more they got … year after year. For 10 years, they spent the holidays together visiting six continents. Then in 2012, they knocked off Antarctica.

Sweet stuff. Their exploits made for a nice story, which they related to writer Richard Weiss. But Weiss found himself wanting more to the story.


Paul suggested he talk to their other grandchild by way of their daughter. She described an entirely different journey with her grandparents. If the boys were the second coming of Wally and the Beaver, she was channeling Lindsay Lohan. Though Diane and Paul were her grandparents, the two raised her as parents from potty training to 13. And then in 1995, she disappeared without leaving a note. 

In the same years when they were traveling the world with the boys, their granddaughter embarked on a meandering trek across the country in the company of who knows who, hitchhiking and riding the rails. In 2004, when things were at their best with the grandsons and at their worst with their granddaughter, Diane was diagnosed with cancer. 

The story behind the story

Inside the Book

So if you are looking for drama, you’ve got it. If you want to learn how grandparents deal with trauma and at the same time find joy and purpose in grandparenting, here’s your guide. Their heartfelt, honest story is told through first-person recollections in a full-color, scrapbook-inspired journey reminiscent of the beautiful albums Diane created to chronicle their years of travel. You will see the world through their eyes as they share their different memories, sometimes about the very same events. 

Everyone brings his or her own biography to a story like this. Your own experience may dovetail with one of the grandparents or one of the kids – or possibly both. Whatever the case, the Gallants hope their story will inspire those of you with grandchildren. That’s why they are sharing this story.