BUFFALO, N.Y. — At Buffalo’s Delaware Park, on a 75 degree Thursday, you can find plenty of people following their passions.
That’s where we found 26-year-old Mike Lempko.
But unlike those around him, the Amherst native is taking his passion to a whole new level.
His dream took off two years ago.
"I got the idea in my head like 'what's the farthest I can go?' And so a little seed was planted and then ever since then I haven't been able to escape it so I'd dabble here and there in the long distance ones and I'd be like 'wow, I could maybe go across the country,’” said Lempko.
He's now going 4,200 miles across the country, to be exact—from San Francisco, CA to Brooklyn, NY.
The goal is skate at least 45 miles each day.
Ever the people person, he says the isolation on the four-month journey will be one of the hardest parts.
"Mentally I've just been preparing for and trying to get myself more into the isolation mindset where I can handle being alone and not slipping into insanity and madness,” said Lempko.
Another hurdle will be sleeping arrangements.
He'll be traveling with the clothes on his back, a tent, a backpack and his blades.
And he’ll only be staying in hotels or motels sparingly.
“So I’ve got a hierarchy. First is social network, like if I know someone or knows someone or someone sees me on the road and offers to put me up, that’s going to be number one. I'm expecting to rely a lot on the kindness of strangers out there. So if you or anyone you know knows someone in Idaho or Wyoming or Nevada that can connect with me I'd love that opportunity. Second, is the extension of the my social network, churches, community centers, homeless shelters, things like that is what I’ll take up as my second one,” said Lempko, “Third, and I’m not expecting this to be that great, is knocking on doors and saying ‘hey, I’m doing this crazy thing and I’m in your neighborhood, can I pitch a tent in your backyard?’”
But his dream doesn't end with him.
The organization provides meals for kids during school, after school, during summer break and so much more.
"Seemed like a great opportunity to help give kids a better chance to succeed in school on a national scale,” he said.
Lempko says he understands that not everybody can take this approach, but he does encourage everyone to follow their dreams.
"Whatever your passion is, just dive fully in,” said Lempko.
He takes off from California on May 28.
If you want to check out Lempko’s route or donate to his cause, click here.