On Tuesday, April 25, 28-year-old Lithuanian Aurimas Valujavičius completed his four-month journey across the Atlantic in a rowboat. Valujavičius set off from Spain on December 26, 2022, hoping to reach the US Florida shore in 110 days to break the world record. Although his journey took longer than expected – 120 days – and did not break the world record, Valujavičius became only the third person in the world and the first Lithuanian to complete such a journey. His journey commemorated the 90th anniversary of the flight of Lithuanian pilots Steponas Darius and Stasys Girėnas across the Atlantic Ocean from continental Spain to Florida in the United States.
He was delayed due to a strong ocean current that carried his single-person rowboat further north. Then, he was forced to spend another night on the boat because he could not find a port which would issue a permit for his arrival on short notice. He was finally allowed to enter the Castle Harbor Boats – a small port in Florida where he arrived on April 25th. He was met by a hundred Lithuanians, as well as his family members and journalists. “Pursue your dreams – everyone has their own Atlantic Ocean,” the rower said as he approached the finish line.
Valujavičius is an experienced traveller. He has cycled through Europe and Indonesia, and climbed volcanoes. “This was another trip, but bigger in every sense. I’m tired and exhausted, but that’s always the case. You recover and move on”, he said. Valujavičius captured his historic journey across the Atlantic and is planning to make a documentary film scheduled to premiere in Lithuanian cinemas in January 2024.
Who is Aurimas Valujavičius? He has an architecture diploma under his belt, and was the first Lithuanian to win the European Shotokan Karate Championship, but left those pursuits behind to follow his passion for travel and testing his own limits. He has said that for him, travelling is a solitary adventure, a test of physicial and psychological strength. Travelling with friends is a holiday, but alone – it’s a true journey.
Aurimas spent his childhood in the countryside, near the Kaunas Lagoon, where he developed his love for nature. He still spends more nights sleeping in a tent than at home in a bed, and does not see himself as a city-dweller. He remembers that every summer, from ages 14 to 17 he would turn off his computer and keep only the most important contacts on his cell phone. Even his grandparents didn’t understand this. He was determined to spend his time outside, training – on the streets, in the woods or in parks. Having tried out various sports, he settled on karate, and became European champion in 2014, yet decided to pursue other goals with the discipline and determination he had acquired. In 2015 he cycled 2500 km in 19 days to visit a friend in Norway.
Thus began his career as a traveller, and he cycled around Scandinavia, Namibia, Indonesia and Slovakia, kayaked the Nemunas and the Danube Rivers, and climbed 16 of the world’s most active volcanoes. He was awarded the traveller of the year designation in Lithuania in 2019, and broke the country’s record for the longest journey by kayak.
Aurimas has already made his travel plans for the next five years.