Fiona Griffin, a granny from Co Kerry, is embarking on a J1 work holiday at the age of 66 to fulfill a lifelong dream of working abroad. 

Griffin is in Wisconsin this summer where she is working as an activities counselor at Clear Water Camp for Girls, a summer camp.

"I've always had a dream to live and work abroad," Griffin recently told RSVP Live. "I fell in love young, got married, and had four children, so raising four children put all of that on hold," 

However, she said she decided to fulfill her lifelong dream after turning 66 in April. 

"I was 66 in April and I had to retire from work. Then a few things happened - my mum went into a nursing home, she's 90. Then a family member was diagnosed with motor neuron disease, which was very difficult for them and the rest of the extended family.

"So I thought, if I don't do something now, I'll regret it for the rest of my life."

Griffin recalled her J1 visa appointment at the US Embassy where she got a great laugh "buzzing and chatting away" with younger applicants awaiting their own appointments. The J1 program, which returns in full this year after two years of pandemic disruptions, is mainly taken on by Irish students in their 20s.

Speaking with Newstalk, Griffin explained how she was able to pursue the J1 program despite her age: "It's because camp work, coming to camp, and the American camps take older people on staff if they feel they're a good fit for their camp.

"I was very fortunate that Clear Water Camp contacted me and asked to interview me, which was great.

"But that's my understanding because the type of work qualifies because it's a student exchange, cultural exchange slash job, so it qualifies for a J1 visa."

She admits she likely wouldn't have gotten the job if she didn't have relevant work experience back in Ireland.

Now in Wisconsin, Griffin says she is getting on brilliantly with her fellow workers, including a fellow employee from Dublin, who are mostly young people but "very inclusive". 

"They're certainly aware that I'm older, but have no problem sitting and chatting with me," she said. 

Griffin is documenting her uplifting adventure on her Instagram account @retiree_on_a_j1_visa.