Many people have this almost collective dream of living by the sea. Yet, not all the dreamers take the risk of changing the usual, safe daily life and moving to a new city. This interview features a talented young interior designer Diana Kenstavičiūtė, who took the brave step and exchanged the capital city life for more harmony by the coast.
Meet Diana Kenstavičiūtė © Personal archive
Diana, tell us how life brought you here to Klaipėda.
I was born in Panevežys and chose Vilnius for my University studies. Fast forward about 10 years and I’m still more than happy with the choice of the city and the studies. I enjoyed the energy of Vilnius and wanted to give all my knowledge and energy back to the city. I worked in multiple companies, gained a lot of know-how and hands-on experience. Of course, it all stems from my youthfulness and eagerness to build my professional image and reputation quickly. I was very ambitious, wanted to make the most of all the possibilities life gave me – all that led to serious burnout.
At some point, I realized I was getting tired from this rat-race and continuous competition with myself – new priorities started forming in my life. So, I started looking for ways to regain myself and find peace that I have been missing in my life. I started coming to Klaipėda. I spent four summers in a row in here. These seashore days helped me understand that I needed a different ambience than Vilnius could provide me with.
Today I feel blissful where I am. I savour the lifestyle I have built for myself here by the Baltic sea. Once I’ve stopped lying to myself that Klaipėda is just a temporary getaway for my summers and moved here, I felt that I started truly living my life. Currently, I reside in Juodkrantė and take a ferry to Klaipėda every morning. I have my own interior design company and a great studio to work in the Light House co-working space.
Why did you choose Klaipėda?
I am an interior designer – space matters to me. Klaipėda has plenty of it – the horizon opens wide up. In some way this feeling that you can see far and wide transfers to other parts of my life as well. Once I started spending summers in Klaipėda, I felt my quality of life improving.
Here I have no guilt when I spend long hours walking in the forest. One moment I can be in the woods or by the sea and another - working at my computer or answering customer calls. These long and guilt-free breaks in nature help my mind get the rest it needs. That is a true luxury I could not afford in Vilnius. What is important – the slower pace and the quality of life did transfer to the quality of my work.
My decision to move to Klaipėda was built on this desire to have my work and rest all in one place. I was not satisfied with previous conditions where one works non-stop almost suffering till the two weeks of holidays. I was seeking to integrate my work and vacations so that there is more harmony and I can actually have both every day. Now, holidays are not a dream – they are a part of my daily life. This concept of workation is nothing new today but most people I know feel the need to travel somewhere far for that. I felt that I could find this here – in Lithuania.
So what did your first summer by the sea look like?
I need to clarify that when I talk about the summers I mean the warm period of the year. So, my summers in Klaipėda really started in the middle of spring and ended in fall. I spent my first summer in Nida. Found a place to live and set up my office space. Surprisingly, the whole process was super easy.
For the effect to take place I had to start organizing my time very differently. My work and clients were all over the country, and I was in this remote part of Lithuania. It was noticeable how everyone around me started valuing my time more. Before I felt that people did not appreciate it that much. Once I moved, I started feeling that all my meetings are more productive. It was as if everyone came more prepared to the meetings once they knew that I travelled to meet with them specifically.
When I talk to people about my decision to move to the seaside, I feel this strange longing in them as if they all would want to do the same too, but do not dare to make the move. I wish people would just take their lives into their own hands. I am a perfect example that this is possible. Yes, it may be a scary endeavour to just pack up your life and move across the country, but there are less risky ways to do that – just give it a try for a long a weekend, a week, or a summer.
Moments from Diana's life in Klaipėda © Personal archive
A lot of your business is still in Vilnius. How does your day between Vilnius and Klaipėda look like?
Most of the time I organize my meetings so that I can spend two days in Vilnius. I take an early morning train from Klaipėda to Vilnius. The time spent on the rails counts towards my work time. I find the journey to be very productive. The trains have free Wi-Fi and even in the cases when the connection is not perfect I have other tasks I can work on without being constantly connected. Then comes a full day of work in Vilnius, catching up with friends and family or various events in the evening. Next morning – several early meetings in Vilnius and I am back on the train to Klaipėda.
How do you feel about these trips?
Travelling is synonymous with renewal for me and I can get this feeling without travelling to another country. Any trip gives me an opportunity to see life from a slightly different perspective. That motivates me. When you travel, you never know for sure how the day might turn out. I find a certain amount of uncertainty to be quite refreshing. By travelling I discover and understand the world around me while meeting different people.
Do you feel you have become a part of the community here in Klaipėda?
I feel at home both in Klaipėda and in Juodkrantė. I have great friends and places I love here. Although I am only starting to get to know the city. The Light House co-working space is a great place for anyone opening their business in Klaipėda. I found a highly motivating community of like-minded people here.
Diana teaching in Light House © Personal archive
Diana, you live in Juodkrantė, have an office in Klaipėda and talk about these places as one. When talking to you, it seems like Klaipėda is bigger than it is shown on the map.
For me, life here has very flexible geographical boundaries – it is not just Klaipėda or Juodkrantė. We have great SPA facilities just 25 minutes away in Palanga. The amazing Franciscan monastery in Kretinga brings yet another dimension to my life here. It is like a full „life by the sea“ package – what else one could wish for?
So, what is your advice for those thinking about moving to Klaipėda?
Put all your doubts aside and just take a shot: enjoy the long walks and the great food, give me a call and I will meet you for a coffee and a tour of the co-working spaces in Klaipėda. If you have doubts, the easiest way to deal with them is by experimenting – give it a try.