Facebook pixel

Wish Stories

Adventurous Inky Takes to the Sky

If you were to ask Inky, “What should I do with my life?” she’d say: “Do whatever your heart desires. I don’t let anything stop me.”

That is Inky in a nutshell. And at age 99, her bold spirit remains strong.

Inky, short for Ingrid, was born in Germany. Her family had to flee their home in 1933 to escape the Nazi regime. It was the start of a tumultuous time, as her family moved from France to Italy and finally to the United States throughout her childhood. Inky attended ten different schools in four countries and learned to speak five languages along the way—all before she was 20 years old!

Her unique childhood taught Inky how to live outside of her comfort zone. Throughout adulthood, Inky loved traveling across the United States and experiencing new places. She and her partner Tom even had a custom RV made for their travels in retirement.

Inky posing in front of inflating balloon
Inky watching the balloon inflate
Inky gives a thumbs up

Inky has stayed true to herself while facing an entirely new challenge in this season of her life. Having recently moved into a long-term care facility, she is navigating the lifestyle changes that come with it.

Inky’s new caregivers and acquaintances have quickly picked up on her vigor, energy, and enthusiasm. While she’s becoming accustomed to her new environment, she is also taking time to write a book about her experiences.

Inky is determined never to be afraid of the unknown, regardless of what life puts in her path.

So, you won’t be surprised to hear that Inky’s wish was to push her boundaries to new heights: to take to the sky in a hot air balloon.

But why? “Because it’s one of the things I’ve never done—And I’ve done a heck of a lot of things!” she said.

For Inky, this flight represents a commitment to remaining courageous while facing a new chapter of her life.

After her hot air balloon excursion, Inky remarked that everything was perfect. From the warm weather and the light breeze to the friendly captain and crew—it was an incredible day. Soaring through the sky was one thing, but most of all, Inky loved being a part of a group of people, surrounded by their energy and enthusiasm for her adventure.

Inky riding in the hot air balloon
Inky watching the balloon inflate with two other people

Inky’s wish was just a week shy of her 99th birthday! But “my age is just a number,” she explained. She hopes that her story inspires others to stay adventurous, and to know that there is something new to experience at every age and every stage of life.

So, as Inky would say… “Let’s go!” 

Watch a video of Inky’s Wish of a Lifetime.

Shadow of hot air balloon on the trees below it

Wish of a Lifetime from AARP is changing how we age, one inspirational wish at a time.

Submit a life-changing wish in your community, and share your favorite wish story on Facebook and Instagram to inspire your network!