MIR’s 30 Years: Handcrafted Journeys – Making MIR Movies (VIDEO)
(Douglas Grimes is co-founder and president of MIR Corporation.)
When I look back at the early days of starting MIR Corporation in the mid-1980s, I could never have imagined that I would still be doing what I love three decades later. Looking back, the work we’ve done – and do today – reminds me of making movies; there’s a myriad of behind-the-scenes details, planning, and logistics that go into MIR’s handcrafted journeys as well as overland expeditions that we carefully create with our clients.
These are a few of my favorite “MIR movies:”
- Driving Siberia & Beyond: Epic Movie
- Chasing the Total Eclipse in Siberia: Epic Movie
- Family Films: Heritage Journeys
- Custom Journeys: Healing Through Humor
- Generation-Spanning Action-Adventure Film
One such “MIR backstage movie” was a three-months-long overland expedition in a vintage 1928 Plymouth Roadster and a modern-day GMC, as four American motorists followed as closely as possible in the tire tracks of U.S. winner George Schuster in the record-breaking 1908 Great Race. At MIR, we faced monumental logistical challenges in their round-the-world journey, assisting them with travel in Japan, Siberia, China, back to Siberia, across Russia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland; each country had its own visa and border crossing issues.
While others might have quit and gone home, MIR’s four pioneering travelers faced up to a “never-done-in-100-years” hurdle of clearing a specific commercial border crossing from Siberia into China in order to faithfully duplicate as closely as possible that 1908 Great Race route. It wasn’t easy, but thanks to MIR’s creative “out-of-the-box” solution (one of many!), they cleared the border and successfully traced that historic 1908 Great Race route. There were other hurdles as well that challenged us at MIR, from our travelers losing passports and visas to tracking down gas stations in the backwaters of Siberia. It was an action-packed “film,” indeed.
In this case, MIR’s experts researched the family’s history in Poland, found local guides who intimately knew the towns, landmarks, and neighborhoods of their grandparents, and helped fill in some of the blanks of their family’s almost-lost history. Thanks to MIR’s logistical expertise, these travelers now have family photos, videos, and memories to pass on to the next generation. We have assisted so many who lost contact with their pasts, reconnecting with their relatives’ places of birth, and it is MIR’s honor to help make “family films” for the next generation.
Dr. Adams turned to us at MIR, where we used our expertise and connections as well as logistical heavy lifting to make his humanitarian journey a reality. MIR cut through Soviet red tape, especially in arranging clown visits to Russian hospitals, orphanages and nursing homes. That first visit to the Soviet Union turned into many more; 30 years later Dr. Adams’ original ‘Healing Through Humor’ mission now spans the globe, inspiring others in such humanitarian travel. His humorous and compassionate approach to medicine caught the eye of Hollywood; Dr. Adams’ story became a feature film starring Robin Williams.
MIR’s passionate Balkan expert found the best places to go, including the most scenic, jaw-dropping sites for zip-lining and hiking. Their MIR travel action-adventure epic is one the grandchildren will certainly remember for decades, thanks to their grandfather’s generosity and adventurous love of travel.
It is humbling and rewarding to know that our travelers consider MIR as a “dream trip maker,” “logistical wizard,” and “travel magician.” Our unfettered can-do spirit – steeped in hard work and perseverance – has guided us over three decades of travel, with the hope of opening all of our traveling eyes to this complex, challenging and wonderful world.
More on “MIR’s 30 Years”
Learn more about “MIR’s 30 Years” in the stories below, all embedded with videos. They include MIR’s beginnings and the mindset and mission of MIR’s president and co-founder, Douglas Grimes; MIR’s utterly unique travel offerings at the crossroads of Europe and Asia; and Siberia, one of MIR’s favorites specialties.
- “Imagine Your Journey with MIR” (story); view video – MIR’s 30-year expertise in making dream trips come true.
- “198os Volleyball Diplomacy, and MIR’s Beginning” (story); view video – Volleyball is the game changer: a young Douglas Grimes dreams big, and his (MIR) world changes forever.
- “Back in the U.S.S.R.” (story); view video – Traveling back in time to MIR’s mid-1980s beginning, and a watershed decision.
MIR’s One-of-a-Kind Journeys
- “Handcrafted Journeys: Making MIR Movies” (story); view video – MIR’s memorable custom, private journeys are akin to making movies, including tracing family history “back in the old country.”
- “Epic Journeys: Ultimate Dream Trips” (story); view video – MIR’s adventurous overland expeditions include one Canadian couple’s extensive yearly travels, from driving along the Silk Road to motoring through China, Siberia, and the Balkans.
- “Beyond the Stars, Inside the Russian Space Program” (story); view video – MIR President Douglas Grimes’ favorite tour harkens back to the U.S.-Soviet space race, from exploring Star City’s once-classified cosmonaut training facility to witnessing the manned launch of a Soyuz spacecraft.
- “Overland Expeditions: Roving the World in Land Rovers” (story); view Land Rovers video – Land-roving at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, MIR creates an ambitious itinerary for 54 participants and 18 vehicles, from Kazakhstan to Turkey.
Siberia, A MIR Specialty
- “Why I’m Sold on Siberia” (story); view video – Countless reasons why MIR President Douglas Grimes loves this vast, pristine place.
- “Siberia’s Beauty of Lake Baikal” (story); view video – MIR President Douglas Grimes’ lasting memories of this legendary lake in Siberia.
- “Overland Expeditions: Channeling Siberia and Beyond” (story); view video – One of MIR President Douglas Grimes’ early (ad)ventures into Siberia with one channeler, her five dozen followers, and their six sacred crystals.
- “Overland Expeditions: Driving Siberia and Beyond” (story); view video – MIR helps intrepid motorists re-create the 1908 automotive Great Race in their 1928 vintage car, down to gas station locations in Siberia and tricky border crossings.
- “Overland Expeditions: Running Through Russia and Beyond” (story); view video – MIR’s extraordinary logistics for 79 runners and support personnel, running 5,500 miles from Eastern Europe to China via Russia and Siberia, all to promote safer drinking water.
- “Overland Expeditions: Total Solar Eclipse in Siberia” (story); view video – MIR prepares three years in advance to bring more than 300 travelers – “sun chasers” – to the heart of Siberia for a rare total solar eclipse.
MIR, in a Nutshell
- “MIR in a Nutshell” (story) – Compact and concise, here’s everything you need to know about MIR on one page.
(Top photo: Martin Klimenta – Mountainous Georgia is studded with villages, rich in family heritage history.)
PUBLISHED: October 16, 2016