Jeremiah never set out to walk all of the Classic treks, it was only after he completed his second one that people started asking him if that was his plan. Before that, the thought had not entered his mind. Then he learned that no one had ever completed all the Classics yet, so he started to deliberately accomplish his goal. And what does he have to say about his achievement: “The thought that I could have been first at something. Especially at an event that has thousands of participants globally, it was an exciting thought. That motivated me.”
Now he is the first person to complete all of the Fjällräven Classics to date and the Fjällräven Polar, which is no small feat. Jeremiah first developed his taste for the outdoors in the military, and now he is an avid photographer, scuba diver and devoted dog dad. It wasn’t until he was older that he developed his passion for travel. In his youth, which was not always easy, he didn’t have the opportunity to travel and the Classics became his outlet for that. Every time Jeremiah completes a Classic he carves out a little bit of time either before or after to see the country, and experience the culture. But in the end he argues “it’s really hard to go back to normal life after completing a Classic.” Jeremiah started out completing the USA Classic the first year it was available, and straight after that he completed the Swedish Classic. The rest is history.
Jeremiah is a strong believer that everyone should experience a Classic at least once in their lives. Like many other participants, the social aspect was what hit home for him. In the beginning he was concerned about the impact on nature, and the way that the whole experience would be handled. “It wasn’t until I did the first one and saw Fjällräven’s commitment to preserving, protecting and educating people about nature. It was an honest commitment.” As a solo backpacker Jeremiah was a bit standoffish at first, but then started to open up and value the real genuine experiences connecting with people. That’s what made him come back. He adds “I still develop and have these relationships to this day with people I met on Classic treks.”
Probably the most asked question Jeremiah gets is: which Classic would you recommend? Or: which one is your favourite? But the answer is not so straight forward, in his words, “each one is so unique. With an entirely different landscape, country and trail. There is something you can love in all of them. Having a favourite is hard.” He concedes that if you are just ‘getting your feet wet’ the Danish or Swedish Classic would suit the best. Denmark is the most forgiving landscape and not grilling elevation-wise. There are also a lot of locations where you will find yourself trekking through towns, so leaving the hike is much easier on this one. The second option he would suggest is the Swedish Classic. This is the only one where you can take your time and camp anywhere. It is both possible to camp in groups or take your solitude. Also, the Swedish Classic has been happening for so long, there is a lot of experience to build on from people trekking this one – and that helps!
To get back to the basics we asked Jeremiah to give us just one word to describe each of the Classics he has been on. To start with the USA Classic “holy cow, that is HIGH.” The Swedish Classic is “VAST, those valleys you are trekking through, I swear there are days where you look at a mountain top across a valley and you will hike all day and get no closer.” For the Denmark Classic it has to be “FRIENDLY, the people are overwhelmingly friendly and welcoming. There are a couple of parts where you hike through villages where people come out and give you coffee and pastries. It’s so sweet and helpful.” And finally, the Hong Kong Classic is “INDUSTRIAL, just because it’s a very developed country. Hong Kong itself is extremely populated. Sometimes, on mountain ridges you can still glimpse the famous skyline far below.”
Next year there will be four new locations added to the Fjällräven Classics, making a new total of eight locations. And how does Jeremiah feel about the four new locations that will be added to the Classic family in 2020? “I am extremely excited. Four new locations to visit and trek, and all of them I have never visited or travelled to before.” Jeremiah plans to start with the new Classic location in Korea. For him, it’s a country with an ancient history, and has a certain mysticism surrounding it. Second on the list is the China Classic, because it is so vast and large. For Jeremiah experiencing some of China’s insanely beautiful nature is a totally new perspective for the country. And does he plan on completing the next four Classics? Follow along Jeremiah’s journey via his Instagram channel @backcountry_boogie and find out for yourself. And in case you spot him on the trial, he asked us to let you know to stop him and say hi.