When Richard Campbell met his future bride in 2002, friends would say the stylish Brit was more apt to strap on Burberry sandals and a Prada bag for a trip to Holt Renfrew than boots and a backpack bound for the Alps.
“You look at Lynn and she’s very fashionable, so it surprises you when you see her in a big toque and goofy sunglasses, in full hiking gear,” said Richard, 32.
But that’s just what the Calgary pair will do this summer, hiking six weeks uphill through the 700-km GR5 with just a backpack — all in the name of charity.
The couple, married since 2007, is hoping to raise $15,000 to build and stock three libraries through Room to Read.
It’s fitting the inspiration for the biped Geneva-to-Nice journey — for which the pair is footing costs and matching money raised — was a book.
“I got the book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by (Room to Read creator) John Wood for my birthday, and it was very compelling,” said Richard, managing principal with Calgary engineering firm Vista Projects. “It hit us one day that instead of being on a beach, we wanted to do something really worthwhile.”
“We also really wanted it to be something involving kids,” adds Lynn, 31, a creative director in the publishing industry who’s now penning a children’s novel.
Anything raised over their $15,000 target will go to fund more libraries or other directives through Room to Read such as sponsoring a girl’s entire secondary education.
The couple plans to Twitter updates, and eat food from local towns or cook simple meals on a camping stove. An iPod is the only creature comfort coming along, to house books on tape to pass evenings or tunes for the trail.
To donate or view updates, visit Richard and Lynn’s blog at richard-campbell.com.