Billiards and kicker tournaments, musical quizzes, visiting theatre – Godel locations hold events that bring teams together, allow employees to share their interests and acquire new hobbies. Hiking became a favourite activity for the Godel Vilnius office – the team walked around Vilnius far and wide, explored Druskininkai and visited Latvia twice. What attracts the team to walk together? How can you join corporate hiking? Do beginners need special preparation? We talked about it with the Head of Operations (Godel Vilnius) Dmitrij Saveljev and the guys who regularly join such events.

I really love hiking – I shared my hobby with my colleagues. This is where it all started – we found the responsible organiser, the first hiking happened a year and a half ago. The guys liked it ­– about twenty people joined, now about ten constantly participate. They ask when the next hike is, sometimes they themselves find something interesting and share the information with others. As a rule, we join hiking trips of the same organiser – nothing is required of us, we just need to register. We spend a lot of time together while hiking – the easiest route takes about four hours. I can say that a hiking community has spontaneously formed here – the guys participate, then discuss the event, and share photos. We suggest choosing the route that is most suitable for everyone, sometimes we cover 40-50 kilometres.

Dmitrij Saveljev, Head of Operations

The team’s first hiking trip took place in Druskininkai last year – the guys walked 23 kilometres. There were many participants – despite the cold weather and the considerable distance from Vilnius (Druskininkai is located 200 kilometres from the capital). The guys note that after hiking they feel excellent and cheerful, as if the body is being rebooted and a second wind is opening.

“During the process, the distance was not felt. When you walk, you don’t think about how many kilometres are left to go – you walk through the forest expanses, and you feel the magic of hiking. It seems to me that we walked around the entire Druskininkai, which has many forests. I have very warm memories and, probably, the most vivid ones – since hiking was my first, I got a new experience. It seemed that all the hikes were more or less the same – when we joined the next ones, we thought that they would be similar to the previous ones. But each of them had their own unique motive – they were remembered for something in their own way,” Vadzim Rashkevich shares his impressions.

What was your most memorable hiking experience? Opinions differ on this matter: some prefer walking along the shores of the Baltic Sea, others prefer extreme night walks.

“What I remember most is the night hiking timed to coincide with the Lithuanian summer holiday Joninės – the organisers combined it with a special program. I really liked the design of the checkpoints – with backlighting and simulating the sounds of thunder and rain”, – says QA Engineer Karyna Karmaza.

“An interesting episode happened while hiking at night. It was the shortest night – only two hours of darkness,” – says Senior JavaScript Software Engineer Pavel Drazdou. – We walked through the forest and talked about what to do if wild animals appeared. The organizers put up signs along the route with the number of steps we took and information about how many we needed to walk per day to improve the functioning of the circulatory system. Sometimes they post pictures of animals. And so, we ask ourselves: what to do if a wild boar jumps out? And half a minute later we saw…a wild boar! “Well, we’ve agreed,” we thought until we realised that the boar was painted on the shield. It wasn’t very cool at that moment, but then it was fun.”

The guys recall how they walked through the thickets of ferns – according to Lithuanian tradition, on the shortest night of the year, you can find a magical flower there that will make you happy for life.

Hiking in Latvia was no less impressive – in Liepaja on the Baltic Sea coast. What they remember most was the route along the beach – walking on the sand was very unusual.

At first glance, hiking is almost no different from an ordinary walk or short hike. But it’s not that simple.

“A lot of people gather in one place – it’s not like hiking in the mountains with tents – you can go there and not meet anyone the whole way. There are different routes: you can walk 23 kilometres, you can walk 50. Simple ones can be walked even with children and dogs – 5-7 kilometres. This kind of hiking is more like a mass event than a hike. There is no need to use any special techniques for passing the path – as a rule, there are no steep ascents and descents,” – says Pavel.

Some people see a competitive element in hiking – there is a goal to complete a certain route, and they are given medals for this. Some people enjoy the process itself.

“I have never been in a race for results. I like to breathe fresh air, and set my thoughts in a certain way,” comments Vadzim.

There is one point where opinions completely coincide – hiking unites us.

“The company decides: it can be difficult to force yourself to go out from home and plan such an event,” –says Karyna.

Getting started with hiking is easy. The only thing you need is a strong desire. Here are a couple of tips for beginners from the Godel Vilnius team for motivation and an easy start:

1. Shoes should be comfortable – it is not necessary to buy trekking boots, you can wear ones that are comfortable for walking around the city. Boots or sneakers must be broken in before going out on the route – this should not be done with new shoes.

2. Trekking poles are suitable for hiking in the mountains – it doesn’t make sense to use them on flat terrain. It’s convenient to use poles in winter – you won’t slip with them.

3. Walking costs more and more often – it will be easier to complete the routes, and frequent hikes can partially replace training in the gym.