ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Living on the Road - Stage 1: Lithuania

Updated on December 14, 2012

Pakūta Monastery

My first destination in Lithuania was Pakūta, a Franciscan monastery in the North Western part of the country. It is located in a remote place, three kilometers from the next village and 13 kilometers from the next town. I had visited this place the year before, so it was not a new experience to adapt to the rules of living in such a monastery. It was possible to stay there and work for free food and accommodation for several weeks.

Pakūta is a very special place which has much more to offer than the daily routine you can expect in a monastery, for example recovery programs for people with alcohol or other addictions. I do not have any informations about the success rate of these programs but during my stay in the monastery I met a young man whom I knew from the year before and who was in such a program at that time, and he told me that he fully recovered and that the program had enabled him to start a new life. Some weeks later I heard a similar story from a driver who had picked me up when I was hitchhiking in Lithuania. I have no doubt that the special social structures you can find in the monastery have a positive influence on the success of these programs.

Another opportunity the monastery has to offer are Summer camps especially for young people with a religious background who come not only from Lithuania, and there is a hall close to the monastery which is used for concerts and other special events.

And there are, of course, the daily masses which are attended by people who come from nearby villages and towns, the Sunday masses are attended by several hundred people from all over the country. But there is a drawback because these people arrive by car. I was told that one of the reasons these people come to the monastery is to enjoy nature. Maybe they do, but I could not because of this car invasion, and I am not sure if the children or grandchildren of these people can enjoy nature because of the environmental destruction caused by these cars. Wouldn't it be better to offer special bus services from nearby towns to limit the damage?

It was a positive experience to live in a peaceful place like Pakūta, to enjoy the company of friendly people and to learn more about life in a monastery but the road was calling ...

Pakūta Monastery

On the road

During my time in the monastery I had left this place for about ten days to travel in Lithuania. I had visited Mažeikiai, a town in the North of the country, I attended some concerts of a jazz festival in the port city of Klaipeda, and I spent some days in a small and quiet village near the Curonian Lagoon. After leaving the monastery for the second time, my first destination before returning to Vilnius was Šiauliai, Lithuania's forth biggest city where I had another very positive couchsurfing experience. Back in Vilnius I faced a problem. I needed a new passport, and to get a new passport I needed money which I did not have. As an old anarchist I hate the idea of states, borders and all these things connected to it like passports which are invented by people who want to keep you under control. But there is no way to avoid this, and I went to the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Vilnius, asking for help. I come in contact with bishop Sabutis, and I offer him to work for money until I have enough money for a new passport. Unfortunately he has no work to offer but he promises to help me. Next day we meet again, and he tries to find a special arrangement for me to get a free passport but this attempt fails, so he gives me the money I need for a new passport. I stay for about two weeks in Vilnius, surfing four couches and surviving by collecting and selling rubbish like old plastic bottles or beer cans, making enough money to buy some basic food.

On a warm summer evening I decided to go back onto the road for another trip to the countryside. The driver who picked me up offered me a lift for more than 200 km, we had some interesting discussions about the problems our spaceship Earth is facing, and at the end he bought some food for me. Later that evening a young woman gave me another lift for 60 km, she gives me some money, and after a successful hitchhiking trip in the evening I ended up in the small town of Telšiai where I spent the night in my sleeping bag in a park. I had no plans for the next days, no arrangements for couchsurfing, I just follow the road, expecting the unexpected. It is no problem to find friendly drivers in a country with a highly developed hitchhiking culture. I got some more money from two drivers who enjoyed the stories I told them about my trips, and in the evening I arrived in the small town of Kretinga. I found a place to sleep in the train station, and next morning I came in contact with Regina, a friendly woman who lived in a house near the train station. She offered me some breakfast and, after telling her my story, she offers me to stay in a tent in her garden. I spent about one week in this place before moving on to my next destination, the town of Tauragė. Danute, a music teacher, who was hosting me there, brought me in contact with a local newspaper, and Urte, a journalism student who worked as a volunteer for this newspaper made in interview with me (unfortunately in Lithuanian only). From Tauragė I hitchhiked to a small village where I spent some more days on couchsurfing before traveling to the Palendriai St. Benedict's monastery which is run by monks who came from France to Lithuania. I want to check if there is a possibility on offer to work there for free food and accommodation. It is not possible but I can stay there for one night before going back to Vilnius again. The time has come to make the last preparations for the next stage of my trip.

Living on the road in Lithuania for almost three months was a positive experience. Hitchhiking is very easy in this country, sometimes I had to wait only a few minutes to get the next lift, in some cases the drivers were ready to drive an extra mile to bring me to my destination. Couchsurfing is also widespread, and I always found friendly hosts. Another problem was to get regular internet access. In most cases I could use the computers of my couchsurfing hosts, in other cases I used unlimited and free internet access in public libraries. Internet access in libraries is on a high standard, and there are always enough computers available, so you don't have to wait. And there are these friendly elderly women who work as librarians and who served me sometimes tea or coffee and some small food for free.

But there is another thing I noticed - the Lithuanian people have changed during the last two decades. I visited this country for the first time in 1988. At a time when the Lithuanians were fighting for the restoration of the independence of their country from the Soviet Union there was this spirit of freedom, people were thinking for themselves, not listening to what authorities were telling them what to do or not to do, people were able to read between the lines. But this ability was more and more replaced by manipulation, people became more and more addicted to money and consumerism, corruption became an essential part of everyday life in Lithuania. Twenty years ago the Lithuanians were much happier.

Stay tuned - there is more to come ...


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      You have such an amazing hub. I love to travel (cheap) and was always curious about hitchhiking. For translation on your Lithuanian article, maybe this might help Safe journey :)!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I just loved reading about your journey!

    • profile image

      Angie Sanchez 

      6 years ago

      Love your stories thank you, I have very dear friends from Riga.

      Thank you for sharing your stories.

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 

      6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      My husbands Father was born in Lithuania and I am always interested in reading anything about the country and the people. I enjoyed your article and will share this.

    • Bard of Ely profile image

      Steve Andrews 

      7 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

      Very interesting and I have voted up! Seems Lithuania is a great place for hitching unlike the UK where I had mostly bad experiences that put me off years ago.

    • MosLadder profile image

      Chris Montgomery 

      7 years ago from Irvine, CA

      This is fascinating stuff. Thanks for the straightforward writing.

    • surale profile image


      7 years ago from pakistan

      so useful work you done

    • kathryn1000 profile image


      7 years ago from London

      What a fine,interesting way to live.I hope it goes well

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This is so interesting, and the people of Lithuania seem to be so friendly. You are right though about the world of today being so full of corruption, manipulation and greed. It would be nice to be able to return to years ago, in many respects, when life was so much simpler.

    • wilbury4 profile image


      7 years ago from England I think?

      What an interesting life you are having/have had up to present. You must have many tales to tell?

    • gusripper profile image


      7 years ago

      To travelling these days is Happiness.You are lucky mister.

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      7 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I love hearing about these kinds of travel adventures, especially about the people. I have traveled this way most of my life...can't do it anymore and really miss it.

      I've never been to Lithuania, but have been all over Europe, Africa, Mexico, Central Am. Equador/Galapagos Islands, etc.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)