When choosing a place to live, many young people in Lithuania make the choice among the three largest cities. There is a noticeable trend that an increasing number of young families are choosing the life by the sea – the life in Klaipėda. When talking to the people who have made the move from Vilnius to Klaipėda, one can often hear that Klaipėda is a big city with the benefits of a small town. Here, you spend less time in the traffic jams and more time with your loved ones.
Andrius with the whole family © Personal archive
A few years ago, the founder of an online p2p lending and investing platform FinBee Audrius Griškevičius made a decision to move from Vilnius to Klaipėda together with his young family. Since then, Audrius and his family consider Klaipėda as an ideal city.
Audrius, you now live between two cities: your work is in Vilnius and your family – in Klaipėda. Wouldn‘t it be easier for you to have everything in one place?
When we were choosing a place to live in, we were making a choice between Vilnius and Klaipėda. My wife saw great career possibilities in Klaipėda and we decided to give life in Klaipėda a try. My work life stayed in Vilnius, but we never regretted the choice. Klaipėda is a great city for families, especially for families with kids.
The connection between Vilnius and Klaipėda is so easy – getting into a car and driving to Vilnius feels as normal as driving kids to school. I am sure I would have less time with my family if we all lived in Vilnius. Comfort is our key priority and so I would not want to move to Vilnius with the family. Everything just takes less time in Klaipėda – the distances are smaller and everything is within an easy reach.
People may seem slower in Klaipėda, but it is because they can afford not to rush everywhere. When you are not wasting your time in traffic jams, you can enjoy the luxuries of a slower life.
So, how does your usual week look like?
Usually, I spend 2 – 3 nights away from Klaipėda. I tend to count the nights – usually I start the day with my family in Klaipėda, take my child to day-care and then drive to Vilnius or even fly to some other country. Traveling from Klaipėda is very easy – Palanga airport has convenient regular flights to Riga and Copenhagen and from there you can get anywhere in the world.
At the same time, when I am in Vilnius, I can dedicate all my time and attention to my work. Those are the days when I do not count the work hours: I have meetings during the day and work on my regular daily work tasks in the evening. I work as much as needed in Vilnius and dedicate my time to my family when I am back in Klaipėda.
© Personal archive
How does your team feel about you living 350 km away from work?
It has become a norm that I am in Klaipėda. Such way of working is not a problem today. When needed, we can always have conference calls. On the other hand, I always made efforts to build my business so that I am not the answer to all the questions. My responsibility is the business strategy, culture, and making sure that everyone works towards the same goal.
With the benefits of the life in Klaipėda that you are experiencing, are your colleagues in Vilnius not tempted to move to Klaipėda as well?
Last summer, one of my colleagues participated in the Workation Klaipėda program and spent a month working here in Klaipėda. He enjoyed it a lot and is planning to come back this summer. I believe more of my colleagues will be tempted to give Klaipėda a try this year. There are many good reasons to enjoy the life in Klaipėda: plenty of activities, the resort cities of Palanga and Nida nearby, great beaches.
Vilnius and Kaunas now attract the biggest numbers of young talents, but as these talents mature, they look for different places. Some move to Bali or other exotic places, others understand that they do not need to travel around the Globe to find the same benefits. I have experienced life in London, Shanghai, New York and chose Klaipėda for my life with the family.
When living abroad, I always felt that I was a foreigner. That feeling did not change with time. I find it much easier to connect and build relationships with people in my home country.
Many young people dream about their own business, but not many turn their dream into the reality. Share your business success story with our readers.
My business career really started in banking. I spent 8 years in banking, including the years of the economic crisis. These years gave me valuable experience and helped me understand the main factors leading businesses to success or failure. I saw my dad in business all my life and always dreamt of being like him. This dream led me to the university in London. Back in 2014 I started my own business. FinBee is my first successful business venture. The road to business success is never easy – mine included 4 businesses that failed.
I met my FinBee business partners in a conference in London. At the time, they were working on a consumer lending platform and I was thinking of a business lending solution based on crowdfunding. As we got to know each other, we decided to collaborate and build a business together. We are now in business for 3 years, have helped more than 300 businesses, provided more than 700 business loans that have contributed to the growth of multiple business ventures.
How would you describe the people in Klaipėda?
People in Klaipėda are used to the constant wind, they are the people with a special connection with the sea. As a child, I remember that all weekends included family walks by the sea. That was always the best way to regain energy, refresh my mind.
Klaipėda is also a very international city. I remember that already as a child I always heard different languages being spoken around me. That is how I learned Russian – many of my childhood friends did not speak Lithuanian.
How is Klaipėda different from other cities?
For me Klaipėda is all about the comforts of life. Klaipėda has everything a young family might need. We live in the city centre and everything is at our doorstep: schools, day-care centres, cafes and restaurants, parks and hospitals. And when you want to escape the city, you can enjoy the forest and the sea in just 15 minutes.
Klaipėda is relatively small and there are no real traffic jams. The time I save is the time I can then use to do the things that are the most important for me. I think, it is a fact that now by spending a few days per week in Vilnius and the rest of the week in Klaipėda, I spend much more quality time with my family.
I believe, Klaipėda is the best city for those who already have a stable career, understand their business and are seeking a comfortable city to live in. I think it is just a question of time when Klaipėda becomes the most desirable family city.
What would be your wish to everyone thinking about relocating to Klaipėda?
Make the first step. It is always scary to start with, so it is worth starting with small steps. Klaipėda has a lot to offer. Believe me, that distance on the Vilnius – Klaipėda highway is not so big and it is nothing compared to all the comforts and benefits of Klaipėda.