About a month ago I believe I mentioned that me and my wife went on a month long trip to our birth country of Lithuania. It was somewhat short notice due to our busy life schedules, but it all seemed to align as our schedules freed up for this awesome opportunity.
You see I haven’t been back there for over 17 years, but after so many years who is counting right? We still have some family there and so this was really important for us to visit them now, rather than later, or never. So let me go ahead and tell you a little bit about my journey.
We landed in Vilnius International Airport and after being kindly greeted by friends and family we drove to the house my wife grew up on. On the way there, while looking out the window I quickly noticed the true beauty of this country. Everything seemed so largely green and growing, forests seemed bountiful with one of a kind allure.
Reality took over me as I noticed people there don’t have the opportunities we are presented with here in America. They really do have to work much harder to get ahead making a proper living, without a guarantee of financial survival during retirement years. I say that because the pension system is in shambles as it doesn’t provide enough for everyday necessities. Many folks I came across try to get ahead by traveling to work in other European countries that pay them more than in their home country. In many cases leaving their loved ones for years at a time until they can make enough money to come home and take care of their family.
Fuel prices really shocked me as people are paying almost triple the amount we are paying here in the states. I thought we have it bad here in the U.S. more specifically Chicago, IL, BUT HOLY FUCK… To put it in a perspective, it can cost anywhere from 25%-50% of someones monthly salary to fill up one full gas tank. That of course is depending on an average salary of 1,000 litas, which is equivalent to 400 dollars. I couldn’t figure it out how can these people get around and travel if they don’t have the resources available to them at affordable prices. Later, I realized that most of these people are not driving on regular gas. The county is actually way more adapt than I though. Many have diesel cars that get way better miles per gallon and even some have propane tanks installed in their vehicles making it even cheaper transportation.
The lakes of this country is what really captured my heart as there are really stunning bodies of water. We would go swimming almost every single day. The crystal clear water is truly amazing as I have never seen so many lakes being so clear. It truly left many valuable memories as we enjoyed many days in the water with friends and family.
The food was about half as expensive as here in the states which was a huge plus for me since I love Lithuanian cuisine. My wife grew up in a small farming village and so due to a large self-farming local community it represented, it was easy to find fresh and organic products everywhere. I especially enjoyed the grass fed cow milk we bought from a neighbor a few houses away. I haven’t drank real milk in a long time, so it was a huge thing for me.
Another interesting thing I noticed that properties did not have any property taxes. Unlike in many other countries, here in small Lithuania you can outright own a property. There are plenty of land and homes at very reasonable prices as there are plenty of people building their own homes. The prices can fluctuate from being out in the country all the way to the city, though they do tend to increase in bigger cities as they provide more capabilities.
So overall we had amazing time visiting our families and friends. The weather turned out to be great and we couldn’t ask for anything better as it was clear and sunny days. We ended up visiting about a dozen big and small cities we were so eagerly looking forward seeing. It truly is a whole different world out there. Some struggles out there are much different than here, but people manage it and live their lives to the fullest.
Really great pics of Lithuania can be found HERE.
Photo Credit: We love Lithuania