Meet locals. Airina: “Every trip is like a small life”

So today I meet Airina – she is the guide in Travel Addicts Club. I think it would be fair to say the passion of her life is travelling. But Airina isn’t just another traveler – there’s something special about her, I just can’t figure out what exactly it is. Then a light crosses my mind – despite all the adventures and stories about other countries, Airina has her own strong, deep travel philosophy. She doesn’t search any adventures, she’s searching an experience. And sometimes adventures find her.

A few days ago Airina got back from Georgia where she spent a month. The next stop on her travel map is India. She’s planning to spend at least a couple of months there. 30 is the number of the countries Airina has already been. And she always travels alone. ”Don’t you miss a friend?” – I ask her. She smiles and says: ”Actually no. I’m really good with myself”.

Photo Ⓒ Airina Pinevičiūtė

For how long do you travel?
First time I travelled about 10 years ago. Till I was 20 years old all foreign countries I’ve seen was our neighbor Latvia. My family didn’t travel at all.

The very first trip was by yourself?
No, no, nothing like that. My first destination was the Balkans. I started the trip with three other guys from France. But they have talked French all the time. So after a couple of days I got bored and decided to continue the trip alone. I remember this trip so well, like it was yesterday. First 10 days on the road alone. I’m sure that if I traveled there now, there wouldn’t be so many impressions. But then it was more than amazing.

Photo Ⓒ Airina Pinevičiūtė

On this trip you’ve realized that you can and know how to be and travel alone?
Definitely yes! It‘s so good to know that you can travel alone, take care of yourself and this isn’t scary.

How do you choose your destinations?
The most often criterion for me is mountains.

Probably people ask you about Lithuania? What do you tell them about us?
First of all, that Lithuania is a small independent country – not a part of Russia. That we have our own language and it is not Slavic. Quite often I just take a map and show where exactly Lithuania is. Sometimes I meet people who know Lithuania really well. It’s nice to hear that they like Lithuania.

Photo Ⓒ Airina Pinevičiūtė

What 3 places would you recommend to see in Lithuania?
First of all Vilnius! No doubts. Then seaside, Nida of course. And – this belongs from how much time you have – I strongly recommend to take a trip and see Lithuanian forests and lakes.

Vilnius. Do you have any special places here?
No, the magical spirit of the city is everywhere. Especially in the old town. So you definitely should find some time to take a walk in cozy old town streets, check out the parks, the churches. Vilnius has so many churches and for those who are interested in this culture, there is so much to see. And if you’re looking for nature – try to climb the Three Crosses Hill – I like to joke it’s practically a jungle there!

Photo Ⓒ Airina Pinevičiūtė

You mentioned Nida – let’s talk about it. What do you like most about Nida?
Oh, Nida is absolutely one of a kind. The special calm, dunes, reeds in the lagoon – these little things are essence for me. Bike path all along the lagoon or even weather vanes in the sky – you can’t describe it with words, you just have to see it. Feel it.

Would you recommend foreigner to come to Lithuania? Is it worth?
Sure! But then again – what country isn’t worth to see? I think it all depends on your expectations, you should just realize what are you looking for and then every trip gives you something good.

Photo Ⓒ Airina Pinevičiūtė

What does Lithuania mean for you?
To be honest, I don’t know yet. It is my homeland and takes a big place in my heart. I can’t imagine what it would feel like if I couldn’t come back here.

Written by Edita Norkevičiūtė

Meet locals: What does your life look like when you live in a magical place?

When I met Zolenas, I told him that some of my questions could seem a bit strange, but his everyday life looks almost magical for me. Why? Well, first of all, because he lives in Pervalka – small village in Curonian Spit. And my dearest friends, if there are some magical places in the world, then Curonian Spit is definitely one of them.

24 years – that’s how long Zolenas is a fisherman. ”At the beginning there was no romance at all, it has been just an opportunity to start a business” – says Zolenas. And even though about his experience he talks like this isn’t something big, there is a sparkle in his eyes that gives away a little secret – he loves his work.

Photo Ⓒ Antanas Minkevičius

Let’s talk about the adventures – is there any memorable stories to share?

I hear this question a lot – smiles Zolenas. But there is just one story – you have to be sure that you’ll be safe. This isn’t a forest where you can find out a way, even if you got lost. A few years ago on spring I didn’t mark the fishing net. We just moved from the shore, when the big fog came. It was so thick that I couldn’t see anything at all. Shore, horizon – all gone. I had no idea, which way I need to go. The funniest part is that I was like 200 meters away from the shore.

What did you do?

I called for my colleague – he was on the shore – and asked him to give me a sign – the sound or the light. Actually, it was a common thing before, especially in autumn. Now it’s easier, especially with all the equipment. I remember at the beginning, it was a bit like spells – you take a compass and a watch. If there is a fog, you must be very careful, always keep an eye on the time. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck on the net or get lost.

Photo Ⓒ Antanas Minkevičius

Have you ever found another ship in your net?

Yeah, sometimes that happens. Not that long ago I ordered a net – special order, new net. I was so excited to try it! I set the net and when I came back in the morning – the net was all ruined! Brand new net! It didn’t catch not even a small fish. It was sad. But that happens. For that, one morning I’ve found a yacht in my net – what’s the catch!

Photo Ⓒ Edita Norkevičiūtė

I’ve heard that fishermen and sailors are really friendly – if they see that someone needs help, they always help. Is that true?

Yeah, it’s absolutely true. This is like the unwritten rule. It’s because it’s not that easy to get help when you are in the water – it doesn’t matter it is a sea or lagoon. And when you see that someone is in trouble you can’t just ignore that. It could be that you are the only one who can help.

Photo Ⓒ Antanas Minkevičius

Let’s talk about Lithuania. What is Lithuania for you?

My homeland. The place I live. Where my family, my kids lives.

Would you like to change it?

Well, I never thought about it, but probably no. I like it here. This is my home.

What TOP 3 places you would recommend for a guest to see?

Every place has something worth to see. It depends on what you’re expecting for. Here I would say that the Parnidis dune is one of the most amazing things. I love the bicycle patch from here to Nida – it’s in the woods, so the journey will be calm and peaceful. But my favorite place probably would be the Dead Dunes. It is sad, that not everyone can see the beauty of Dead Dunes. When you are on it – you can see the view and yes, it is amazing, but real beauty is to see the dunes from water – every time I see this I can’t figure it out how nature does this amazing thing. It is breathtaking view. It is worth to come here just for this one.

Photo Ⓒ Antanas Minkevičius

Written by Edita Norkevičiūtė