Richard Swanson

I never met Richard Swanson. In fact, I’d never heard of him until yesterday evening. Richard had begun his own journeyfoot on May 1st, with a goal to walk from Seattle, Washington to Sao Paulo, Brazil in time for the 2014 World Cup. Along the way, he would dribble a soccer ball and promote One World Futbol Project. He was only two weeks into his journey when he was struck by a vehicle and killed on the Oregon Coast Highway yesterday morning.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking of Richard. This person I never knew.

Here was a man that not only created an original idea, but also had the courage and determination to put it into action. I envy his journey and though I never met Richard, I can’t help but feel connected to him. A fellow Journeyfooter. A fellow Seattleite. A fellow blogger. His blog, Breakaway Brazil, captured his excitement for his trip, and his videos show him walking the same streets I walk, training for his goals.

His blog also features a GPS map which tracked his movement with a blue line. A soccer ball icon he chose as a marker for his position sits just off Highway 101 and has not moved since yesterday, a haunting indicator of where his journey ended abruptly. It shows his elevation, his speed, his direction, and even how much battery he had left.

And a video he recorded yesterday morning, only hours before his death, shows Richard happy and carefree with morning sunshine above him and sandy beach below him. “Hopefully today will be a wonderful day,” he says with a peaceful demeanor.

It makes me sick to my stomach; his eventual fate to which he was completely oblivious. Boom. Gone. How can it be?

I never met Richard Swanson, but I will remember him. I believe he could have made it to Brazil, and I’m saddened that he will never have that chance.


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