• Jez

Inspirational People #1:

Teemu Lampinen

On a cold November’s evening after a four and a half hour journey from Tucson, Arizona, we arrived at El Paso, Texas, our next stop on our USA Road trip. We rushed out of our truck to the front door of our couchsurfing host eager to get in out of the unexpected cold. A cold front had moved in from the North with surprising temperatures below zero. As we were welcomed into their warm, cosy home we noticed a tall, rugged nordic looking man, with a long beard, blonde hair and deep blue eyes sitting on the sofa sipping a hot mug of coffee. Little did we know that sleeping on a sofa in a warm house would be a night of luxury for him and an inspiration to us...

Teemu Lampinen was a first time adventurer from Finland. Where most people might backpack Asia or Trek the Himalayas Teemu was attempting to cycle around the world! 29000km in 730 Days to be precise passing two antipodal points (Madrid & Washington) to comply with the Guinness World record requirements. 

Teemu Lampinen, El Paso

On his 34th birthday Teemu left his home in Helsinki to embark on his adventure. At the point we met Teemu he had already been on the road 15 months, had cycled through 21 countries and had accumulated over 20000km! There were three things that really stood out for us that made Teemu such and inspiration: 

1.) Teemu’s “WHY?”

After a few minutes chatting to Teemu, I was eager to find out the reason why he had embarked on such a challenge. Poised expecting to hear him share a life altering story and reason behind his motivation or how he was raising money for a particular charity. In a matter of fact manner with his delightful Finnish accent he simply answered, “I am doing it for fun.” Whilst his reason was the complete opposite of what I was expecting his answer was both fascinating and inspiring. Having spent the majority of our careers and our lives both Jodun and I had focused on living for and supporting other people. It was refreshing for us to hear someone doing something so outrageous simply for the enjoyment of doing it! For me Teemu’s adventure represented a celebration of life and taking the opportunity to do something that brought him joy and freedom. Our lives had become quite stressful before leaving the UK and suddenly this brought fresh revelation: that it was so important for us to also have as much fun as possible on our journey!

2.) Teemu’s “WHAT?”

It became clear that Teemu was pushing himself to his very limits both physically and mentally pushing the capacity of what he was able to do. In an interview early on in Teemu’s trip he said to Medium.com:

How inspirational is that! I believe that it is in these moments where we take a risk and push ourselves to our limits that we have the opportunity to grow and we find that our capacity is much greater than we expect and we are able to overcome much more than we ever thought. As it says (quoted from Jodun) on our home page “great adventure does not happen without first stepping out into the unknown” The conversation left me wondering, am I still seeking to take risks and push myself to the limits of what I have the capacity to achieve?

3.) Teemu’s “HOW?” One of the astounding things about Teemu was that he was motivated to spend as little money as possible. Where most people after a day of exhausting cycling would want to soak in a long bath and sleep in a comfy bed Teemu had decided to camp for most of the journey! He allowed himself moments of "luxury" which came in the form of a couchsurfing in someones house! Now getting into more of the finer details of the gear he was carrying. A one word summary of Teemu’s kit list would be ‘simple’. Obviously not wanting to carry a lot of weight he kept to the basic essentials with two packs on his bicycle and he carried a small backpack. There was enough room to include a change of clothes, sleeping bag, tent as well as a drone which was an essential item for Teemu as he documented his journey capturing some breath taking footage https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yjr-mj6_HnU. The simplicity of Teemu’s kit struck me, how little we really need to be comfortable even on the toughest journey.

So where is Teemu now? Well six months on I looked up Teemu to see how far he had managed to get and I was delighted to see that, despite the impact of the Coronavirus, on the 11th April 2020 Teemu had completed his challenge having cycled 29005km in 587 days travelling through 30 countries! He even managed to achieve cycling 300km in ONE DAY!! We sat down and watched video after video of his epic journey and felt proud and privileged to have met him and shared even a passing moment on his adventure!

Well done Teemu! You truly are an inspiration!

Are we motivated to do things that bring us joy? Are we inspired to do great things just to see what we are capable of? Are we fueled with a zest for life and to experienced everything it has on offer? I don’t know about you but I want to be a little more “Teemu” in my life.

Check out Teemu’s trip on you tube at: https://youtu.be/Yjr-mj6_HnU

Or find him on Facebook: Tour de Teemu https://www.facebook.com/tourdeteemu/

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