“I don’t know if my ‘top dream’ fits your criteria, but my gut keeps telling me to try…”
Rhianon’s application letter immediately captured our hearts. A few months earlier, she had shockingly discovered who her biological dad was and that she had two half-sisters and three nieces. And it turns out they live in the area she grew up in – the Central Coast of California. Rhianon moved to Seattle 20 years ago and had always longed to make a trip home again, but it was too expensive. With a deep desire to meet her family (after being alone since the age of 17) and an eagerness to revisit her old stomping grounds, she took a chance and applied for a journey.
Rhianon is deaf because of NF2, but thanks to Facetime’s new caption feature, she had already spoken to her family multiple times. After texting with her sister and niece daily, she said it’s clear they’re not “afraid of me being deaf or having NF2”. Obviously, there was an emotional risk for Rhianon going on this trip, but we all believed the payoff would be more than worth it!
When it came to planning her itinerary, we took a slightly hands-off approach compared to our typical process. Rhianon and her family worked together to create a list of fun activities and set their schedule for the week. We wanted to do everything in our power to create a memorable and safe experience, but to respect the unique nature of the situation and let them sort out the details themselves.
Seeing her family and hometown were Rhianon’s top priorities for the trip, but she also wanted to spend a little time at the end relaxing on the beach with her partner. She also shared that she’s never stayed in a fancy hotel or ordered room service. We knew that a little dose of luxury was the perfect way to end her vacation, and what better place than Santa Barbara!