John Stamos credits his son for helping him reconnect with his Greek heritage

John Stamos

John Stamos was not having one wild, last night of fun on the eve of his wedding as the former teen idol, who became best known for his role as the Elvis-loving rocker Jesse Katsopolis on the long-running sitcom Full House in 1987, was up all night doing arts and crafts, creating a sentimental gift for his for his wife-to-be, Caitlyn McHugh.

"The night before our wedding, I decided to make her a scrapbook, you know, from the movie Up?" John Stamos told Travel + Leisure. "And I took [it] from the very beginning, like all our texts and stuff, except this was the night before and instead of a bachelor party, I’m scrapbooking [and] gluing."

The scrapbook features a photo of a text message from early on in their relationship in which Stamos asks McHugh, “What do you want to do?” he recalled, and she answered, “Travel.”

So the scrapbook was, of course filled, with memories of their previous trips, including to Disney World (he even proposed in Disneyland), Austin, Anguilla, Berlin, and more.

Stamos reminisces about travel in his new memoir, “If You Would Have Told Me,” in addition to reflecting on his extensive entertainment career and life experiences. Stamos said travel has always been a big part of his life, especially to his family’s home country of Greece.

Stamos’ grandfather, came to the U.S. from the Arcadian village of Kakouri and changed his last name from Stamatopolous to Stamos when he arrived. And to give McHugh a look into his family history, the first trip that the actor took to Greece with her was to his grandfather's village — partly to film an episode of the heritage-tracing show Who Do You Think You Are? that aired in 2017.

But it is not even that village that Stamos said he reminisces about the most with Greece, but just the feeling he gets when he is there.

“It's about my dad and the feeling that I get both with my history and my heritage,” he said.

On a recent trip to Greece he felt like every older man he encountered reminded him of his dad, Bill Stamos Sr. who died in 1998.

“My dad loved it. He found this little tavern, and I haven’t been back, but he was back in the kitchen cooking with the guys and help picking the fish," he told T+L. "He just loved being around that kind of environment. Those kinds of places always remind me of him and I just see him in a lot of that over there. So it's not one place.”

When he went to Greece this past August for his 60th birthday, the ER actor said it was a bit upsetting because he wasn’t feeling his father as much this time around.

“Every time I went to Greece before, it was always about my dad. I could feel my dad, everywhere I went. I took him there before he died, one of the last trips he went on," Stamos recounted. "It was almost like I was trying to manufacture that [feeling] for some reason. It first sort of made me sad because it's been so many years now.”

However, a new travel companion, the couple’s 5-year-old son Billy, has allowed him to see Greece through new eyes and strengthen the connection to his father and Greece with a new curiosity. He references the sentiment of the Disney film Coco in which talking about the deceased keeps the memory and the spirit of the person intact for longer.

“The whole thing there is that you die and you go to heaven. And then if people on earth don't talk about you and tell stories about you and put pictures up then you die for good up there," he said. "So I figured I just need to start talking about it and bring his memories back and then my son started asking about him and it just came full circle.”

John Stamos

Stamos said now his father is surrounding his son and he is asking all the questions about Papa Bill.

He also notes that Billy was an excellent travel companion, “a little buddy and a breath of fresh air.” (Though he was sure to remind his son, who enjoyed the leg room in first class quite a bit, that most children don’t travel like this!)

Stamos, told T + L that the scrapbook he made for his wife still has many blank pages which he hopes to fill soon. Of course with the addition of Billy, too.

“When Caitlin and I got together we just said, 'no more gifts, just travel and experience over objects' — and that's what we've been doing."

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