Richard Swanson, 42, planned to walk, soccer ball at his feet, from Seattle to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to make it in time for next year’s international soccer tournament. But Swanson was mowed down by a pickup truck Tuesday morning south of Lincoln City, Ore., only two weeks and a few hundred miles into his journey.
“It is with a heavy heart to notify you that Richard Swanson passed on this morning,” someone posted on his “Breakaway Brazil” Facebook page used to document the trek. “His team, family, friends, and loved ones will miss him and love him dearly. You made it to Brazil in our hearts, Richard. Team Richard.”
Described as an “avid runner, soccer player, and all-around lover of the Pacific Northwest,” Swanson planned to visit 11 countries during his one-year-plus trip south. Along the way, Swanson planned to dribble an “indestructible” soccer ball to promote the One World Futbol Project, a charity that donates such durable balls to people in disadvantaged communities. The ball was found among his belongings in the crash wreckage on U.S. Highway 101.
A graphic designer and former private investigator, Swanson said he was laid off but wanted to live his dream of attending a World Cup tournament. “All these pieces just started to come together in a way that — it almost felt that, it felt natural, it felt that I was doing what I should be doing, that this was my next leg in my life,” he said in a video about himself before he started.
Swanson was soliciting monetary donations and asking friends and people online to give him a couch to sleep on as he journeyed south. He documented the trek on Facebook and had a map on his website that tracked his movements via GPS. On Monday night, Swanson posted a photo of him relaxing in his Lincoln City host’s hot tub. The next morning, he posted a shot of a bacon, eggs and potatoes breakfast he described as “stick to your ribs … to keep me fueled as I head to Newport.”
The last GPS transmission Tuesday showed him traveling 2.8 miles per hour along the Oregon Coast Highway, about 20 miles north of Newport. Swanson leaves behind two sons, 18 and 22, both of whom posted remembrances to his page.
“We love you dad..with all our hearts!” Devin Swanson wrote. “You are a inspiration to all to continue doing what you love! One day..I will continue your journey in your name!”
Thanks to Kebmodee for bringing this to the attention of the It’s Interesting community.