University students apply for inventive hitchhiking trip

Jason Kerr
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It will be one of the more unorthodox backpacking trips ever taken through Europe, but Nathan Thoen wouldn’t want it any other way.

The University of Saskatchewan business student and two of his friends are hoping to be selected for Red Bull energy drink's Can You Make It contest.

“We saw the competition and it was pretty darn unique,” Thoen says.  “(We’d) never seen anything like it.”

The competition features 100 teams from around the world trying to hitchhike to Berlin by trading cans of Red Bull for what they need to survive.  That includes everything from food and water to transportation.

“It’s basically here’s 24 Red Bulls and give us your phones, give us your wallets, credit cards, cash, anything that’s of value,” Thoen says.  “We just need to hitchhike from our destination point to Berlin.”

Thoen’s group includes fellow U of S students Jaz Gatin and Matt Kelley.  All three were born and raised in Prince Albert, which Thoen says is a big advantage.

“I think being from P.A. and northern Saskatchewan has given us the biggest edge there is,” he says with a laugh.  “We’ve been unintentionally training for this competition our entire lives, what with all the canoe journeys and northern adventures we’ve gone on.”

However, nothing is guaranteed yet.  The three students had to make a promotional video about why Red Bull should pick them to go.  They’ll find out on March 17 whether they’re one of three Canadian teams chosen to make the trip.

“For us to represent Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Canada would just be unbelievable,” Thoen says.  “We’re really excited and honoured to hopefully have that opportunity.”

There are six possible cities the group could start from, including London, Paris and Vienna.  Thoen hasn’t been to Europe since he was a child, and although he has his preferred destination, he won’t complain about where they start.

“Pretty much anywhere they put us we’d be pretty stoked.  We’re game for anything.”

Thoen says they’re also excited to meet some of their fellow competitors.

“It’s probably going to be a pretty cool group of people,” he says.  “We’re looking forward to meeting some of the other teams from around the world if we do in fact get chosen.”

Now they’re just waiting and hoping to get picked.

Their entry video can be viewed at

Organizations: University of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: Berlin, Prince Albert, Northern Saskatchewan Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Canada London Paris Vienna Europe

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