Hiking in Lithuania: encouraging tourism and healthy lifestyle

Hello, my name is Gerda and I am volunteer at IVY for a month now. Since I am a Bachelor’s student of Public Governance, I was interested in participation in project, where I could include my personal experience from studies and gain additional experience from cooperation as being a volunteer.

Thus, I found my way in participation in “Hiking Project” (“Development of Forest trail in Latvia and Lithuania and expanding the Baltic Coastal Hiking route in Lithuania”), which refers to creating cross–border hiking tracks around the Baltic countries and connect them with international E11 and E9 hiking routes. At the moment together with Kaunas Regional Development Agency we are marking and checking forest tracks in Kaunas region and communicating with other partners to ensure success of the project. In terms of project itself, it unites two countries – Latvia and Lithuania – and tourism associations across them. As Interreg partners, we are constantly communicating with each other to ensure the success of the project and make improvements.

So how everything’s going for me? I would say better than I expected. Firstly, I have an opportunity to get acquainted with Lithuanian tourism and evaluate what people expect from the projects like “Hiking Project”. Hiking is rapidly developing branch of tourism, which provides a chance to visit sightsees on marked route and at the same time to maintain healthy lifestyle. Secondly, I am testing the routes and spreading the information on social media. Nowadays most of the activities are transferred to social platforms, where people could reach the beneficial information and the project or event could be promoted. I and my fellow Rūta, with whom I am volunteering in the project, are sharing the important information of Baltic Trails via Facebook as well as adding moments from when we are testing tracks and what we see there via Instagram.

During the pandemic, world stopped and we lived inside our homes just to stay safe. Even now when restrictions are being facilitated, there is an opportunity to travel, we still cannot go back to our normal lives. Thus, I would say that every person in this world found something new in his or her home country in order to leave virus behind. I found hiking and I should thank for the IVY and my host organization! Volunteering helped me to recover myself after 2 years non-activity as well as get acquainted with my home country and solve how should I help Lithuanian residents that they would return to their normal rhythm of life.

Therefore, if you are hesitating to make a decision – just try, because IVY experience is something that you won’t regret!

Gerda Naumavičiūtė, Interreg Project Partner at “Hiking Project”, Kaunas Regional Development Agency

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