Terry Williams took a leap of faith in 2015 and moved abroad. He felt that something was missing from his life, so he took a job as an English teacher in Abu Dhabi.

The following year, Terry received some devastating news. He learned that his mother had been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer and it was in the terminal stage. He was ready to pack up and head back to America without hesitation. However, his mother made him agree not to come home and that she would go through with the necessary surgery and subsequent treatment.

Photo courtesy of Terry Williams


Terry went to see his mother in March of 2016, after her surgery. During that time she said the following to him:

“Terry, baby, I have two things I need you to promise me. The first thing is that I do not want you to come back here for me. The other thing is when God decides it is my time; I want you to spread my ashes around the world while you’re traveling. It gives me so much joy looking at your pictures; I want to be right beside you, seeing what you are seeing. Can you promise me?”

Photo courtesy of Terry Williams

Although it was difficult to hear his mother say those words, Terry agreed to fulfill her wishes. He returned to Abu Dhabi full of emotions. They planned to see each other on August 3rd. Unfortunately, Terry’s mother passed away on July 21, 2016.

A month later, Terry started his mission of carrying out his mother’s wishes of seeing the world. He decided on places based on her favorite television shows. The Taj Mahal was a place that she always dreamed of seeing, so that was the first place he took her ashes.

Photo courtesy of Terry Williams

“Next, I went to places in Jordan. I knew that at that moment, nothing was more important to me than to fulfill this promise I had to keep,” Terry tells Travel Noire.

“Fulfilling my mother’s promise has been truly inspiring for myself, along with others that I share my story with. So far, she is in 54 places around the world and in over 25 countries. Most of these countries, I travel alone. I have found that I enjoy reflecting after, and it helps me connect with her spiritually. It also helps me remember the reason why I was on this mission of self-discovery and purpose. The journey has truly made me stronger, and more caring as a person.”

Terry documents each place that he spreads his mother’s ashes and shares them with his siblings.

Photo courtesy of Terry Williams


Since beginning this mission, Terry has been able to find unique ways to carry out his mother’s dream. He traveled to South Africa and was able to spread some of her ashes while diving with sharks. Since his mother had vertigo, Terry decided to bungee jump the world’s highest commercial bungee, Bloukrans Bridge.

“I have spread her while paragliding and even on top of beautiful mountains and in valleys. For her birthday, I kayaked to the center of the beautiful river, Rio Dulce in Guatemala. But, my most memorable experience was during an Amazonian ceremony I participated in on the eve of my 30th birthday in Colombia. This experience was a game changer for me,” Terry says.

Photo courtesy of Terry Williams


Terry has since resigned from his job in Abu Dhabi. He is now in Medellin, Colombia studying Spanish at a local university. You can follow his journey on Instagram at @Showkase3 or via his hashtag: #Terrystaytripping.

Related: Healing Through Traveler: A Journey From Grief To Invincibility