Love, peace and happiness to Russia.
That is the message Barry Smedley and his wife, Corinne, will carry with them as they drive across Russia, in a celebration of 30 years of independent worldwide travel.
The Smedleys plan to arrive in Vladivostok, Russia on April Fool’s Day of 2015, and will make their way through the Russian countryside via the Amur Highway, driving their “jolly green jelly bean” – a 1973 green Volkswagen van.
On one side, the green bean is covered in messages signed in permanent marker – messages from American children to Russian Children.
Smedley says he plans to have Russian children sign on the other side of the van, in the hopes of spreading love throughout the world.
“I’m going there to try to reach the young children who live outside the box,” Smedley said. “They have imagination.”
Smedley has four reasons for journeying to Russia. The first is to celebrate his 30 years of traveling the world, the second is to do something he can look back on and be proud of. The third is to plant a seed in the minds of young Russians.
But the fourth reason is due to Smedley’s failing health.
“Something is wrong with my body chemistry,” Smedley said.
Smedley has bladder cancer, and the doctors say there is nothing they can do.
But Smedley has a plan all his own.
“I’ve decided to use the power of my mind to lead my body,” Smedley said.
After realizing that travel gives him the greatest pleasure, thrill and excitement, Smedley has decided to take this journey to Russia in the hopes of sending a message to his cells.
“I aim to prove that there are more ways to keep a body healthy, other than the knife, the poison or the burn,” Smedley said.
The Smedleys will have their Volkswagen van shipped from Long Beach, California to Vladivostok, Russia.
From Vladivostok, the couple will drive for six months through 6,000 miles of Russian countryside, ending in Moscow.
During their journey, they hope to find a sister city for Skagway.
Smedley said he would know which city is the right one because they will instinctively be guided there.
“The greatest opportunity is to be spirit driven,” Smedley said.
Smedley said the trip would cost $20,000 including the shipment of the van and their airfare.
After selling their motor home and some family antiques, the couple has $8,000 saved, but is asking for donations to pay for the rest.
“Here is an opportunity to put your hand in your pocket and feel good that you are doing something positive for the future of the world,” Smedley said.
Smedley said he has traveled the world and has discovered that everybody is the same — they simply want love, peace and happiness.
“The problems that we face today are everybody’s problems,”
Smedley said. “We can only really make our universe -our home- safe, if we all tackle them together.”
Donations can be made directly to the Smedleys or following a service at the Presbyterian church on Sept. 21. – EG
The couple plans to produce a DVD of the experience to bring back to Skagway.
For those wanting to follow the Smedley’s travels, visit their website at www.travelwithbarryandcorinne.com .