The photo on the left is of Sam Thomas. He's currently two months into an 8 month hike across Canada.
Last summer I was contacted by a very old friend of mine who works at BBC Radio Oxford. She knew a "really nice young guy" who was going to walk across Canada for charity and would be passing through our neck of the woods, could we do anything for him?
I offered to put him up for a couple of nights and give him a shower and a decent meal but secretly thought that there were a million obstacles that would probably get in the way before he got here. Did he for instance realise there would be snow on the ground at the start of his trip?
I heard from Sam again in March when he arrived in Vancouver and enthusiastically told me he'd see us on a couple of months ("Sure, whatever" I thought!) as the weeks went by, he touched base several times, eventually calling us last Sunday to say he'd be with us at 3pm on Wednesday.
He didn't get here at 3pm on Wednesday. He got here at twenty past three, which I think is pretty impressive!
As luck would have it, he arrived on the same day as one of my colleagues was leaving us, so he ended up joining us on a great night out in Medicine Hat. He polished off not only a 20oz steak (see right) but also most of the leftovers on our table. I think it had been a while since he'd seen a decent meal!
Sam left us this morning to head east. For the next 6 months he's going to be carrying that 30lb rucksack you see in the photo and sleeping at the side of the road. I couldn't do it for any money and I think its a pretty amazing thing to do.
If you'd like to follow Sam's journey or sponsor him, follow this link