In times of distress, its only natural for your thoughts to go to your loved ones.
(More on TIME.com: See photos of the devastation in Japan.)
Zack Branham, a 24 year-old American who was teaching English in Japan, couldn’t contact his girlfriend after the Japan tsunami struck their small coastal towns. Enduring by foot, he braved impassable roads to her town – a mere four miles away – for 20 hours to make sure she was okay.
(More on TIME.com: See the complete Japan coverage.)
He tried nearly four times to enter her town, and was constantly turned away by the local police. He finally managed to sneak by passing himself off as an emergency worker. Speaking very little Japanese, he eventually found her rather ingeniously.