Day 297 - Sam

Day 297 - Sam (7th person I approached)
October 24, 2014 - The 'no thank you's.' One person was doing an online timed test, one person was working. Another told me “I’m busy” before I said much more than hello. One lady was willing to talk but not have her picture taken. Another guy was willing to talk, told me he had had a stressful night at work cooking, and was 'a bit all over the place,' then he said he was too shy to have his picture taken. Another man simply offered a polite “no thanks,” and then I saw Sam. He didn’t mind chatting, we went and sat down. I showed him my Facebook page, made sure he’d be okay having his picture taken, and then we got to chatting.


Sam was born in Nelson, in the southern interior of British Columbia.

“I have siblings, but I’m ten years younger than any of them, so I also have a sense of being an only child. Both of my parents had been in relationships before they met, and they both had children. Then they married and had me. I’m the only one that's related to all of them,” he said.

“When I was younger my siblings would do things with me, which at the same time was them taking care of me. Now that I’m older we do things together because we have similar interests,” said Sam.


His father was an English and Spanish teacher.

“I’ve travelled a fair bit for someone my age. My parents pulled me out of school in elementary school and took me to South America for four months. We did that three times. My father actually taught my siblings a class in Spanish that they then got credit for in school,” he said. Sam’s father was just about to retire by the time Sam went to that school.

“He added his name to the substitute teacher call list. There were a few times that he taught my class. I got to see another side of my father. It didn’t happen often enough for me to get a real sense of what it would be like to have my father as a full-time teacher,” he said.


I looked up and two lovely young women were making their way toward Sam. It was evident they all knew each other. They asked what was happening and I told them why I was talking with Sam. They were happy to leave us to chat a bit longer. I made sure with Sam that it was okay.

“Oh yeah,” he said.

“I’d like to continue talking.” His friends walked away telling me it was ‘no problem at all.’


“I was more into academics in school. I still am. I’ve always tried to push myself. In Grade eleven and twelve, I took some of the hardest subjects to give myself the challenge. I took Advanced Placement (AP) Physics and English,” he told me. Advanced Placement is for motivated high-school students, allowing them to experience college level courses while still in high-school. These credits are sometimes accepted in university transfer.

“I like the language part of English,” said Sam.

“Ironically the one class I got one of my lowest marks in was PE9 (Physical Education - Grade nine),” he said with a big smile. Sam clearly has had a change of direction since Grade nine. He is a well-built, muscular young man. He spends time in the gym, regularly.


“I want to be as well-rounded as I can. I had some female friends who were taking dance. They said that they needed more guys in the class. So I started dance class as well. It’s all physical, and involves a lot of lifts and movement. That kind of was my motivation to start weight-lifting at the gym,” he said.

“I did that for two years In Grade eleven and twelve.” I asked Sam if he encountered any peer pressure or any harassment because of taking dance.

“No, not at all. My best friend was interested in it and he took the same class with me. Plus, the people who are my friends all have similar interests and viewpoints, so it’s not a problem. Diversity is important,” said Sam.


“I’m taking a year off of school now. I’m still dancing actually, but only one class a week.” Sam is working in construction and living at home. He's in Vancouver visiting family for a couple of weeks.

“I’m saving my money, and then I’m going traveling. I leave at the beginning of January for Southeast Asia. I’m planning to go for about four months,” he said. Sam is traveling alone.

“My parents are supportive of me taking a trip. They’ve encouraged it. The traveling when I was younger; they gave me the travel bug,” he said. 

Sam intends to go to university next September.

“I’ve been looking around a bit. I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to take. I saw a Science One course that looks good. It’s at UBC (University of British Columbia). I have all the credentials for it, but it’s tough to get in. They only accept seventy-five applicants,” he said.

“I’ve spent the last year saying I wanted to be an Engineer. But I think I’ve said it so many times I might have lost some interest. You know how that is? I’m not sure yet, but I’ve still got time to decide.”


I asked what it is that drives him, what his motivation is. He thought about it for a bit.

“It’s hard to put into words,” he said.

“I want to be the best I can be, for me. I want to prove to  myself that I can do the things I chose to do. I also want to make sure I have the very best base for going into school. I want to be a well-rounded person.” At eighteen years old, I get the sense that Sam is well and truly on track to success. #notastranger