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“Personalities among us” : interview with traveler, interview show “Kitokie Pasikalbėjimai” initiator Mantas Bertulis

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“Personalities among us” is the latest kARTu project that you will be seeing through the upcoming months for a whole year. We’ll be sharing short, friendly, intellectual conversations with the strong, inspiring personalities that surround each and every of us every day. Each month we will meet people from very different backgrounds to talk about their lifestyle, career, piece of mind, interests and style choices. By developing this project we aim to reveal these very special, but close to us people through the perspective that they don’t really see themsleves through. Every one of us is a unique everyday hero – rushing, pursuing, creating. We just need to stop for a moment and notice how special we actually are.

 

Mantas Bertulis is one of those people that could assure you – there is no bad that wouldn’t turn out to be good. The idea to launch one of the most popular interview shows in Lithuania was born when Mantas was on a cold bus just few minutes after he was fired, so he was wondering about some fresh new idea he could start working on. Now “Kitokie pasikalbėjimai” shows are being visited by crowds of people and those interviews that started being held at small, cozy “Punto Jazz” cell now move to the biggest festivals during summer. But no matter how quickly and successfully Mantas’s career is progressing, he doesn’t want to get caught in an endless circle of work and projects only so he stays true to himself and his dream to travel the world. Even after visiting countless spectacular cities Mantas doesn’t want to move somewhere else – vice versa, he just falls in love with Lithuania more and more each time.

 

How would you describe your current everyday work?

My current occupation is limited to organising “Kitokie pasikalbėjimai” interviews and launching new “Youtube” channel, creating its content. I do have enough to do with “Kitokie pasikalbėjimai” although people don’t believe it and think that I have various other projects to work on. I also travel from time to time.

 

When and how you got interested in traveling and decided to link your career with it? How did the idea to create page “Kvepia Kelionėm” come up?
I didn’t have this desire to travel straight since being a kid. I remember when my classmates were telling everyone about the places they’ve been to, things they’ve seen abroad during the summer holidays, meanwhile me and my mum – we didn’t travel really. But after moving to Kaunas I started working as a sport journalist specializing in basketball and Vytautas Mikaitis became my colleague, he is that kind of person that works crazy much but still manages to travel. I still don’t understand how he does it, how he combines his work schedule with traveling. Vytautas was always an example for me, I’ve always wanted to be like him. My very first trip happened whilst being a first year at university when me and my friend from the same course spontaneously bought one way tickets route Vilnius – Rome. We thought, well, we’ll figure it out how to come back as we’ve watched so many videos, read books about how easy it is to travel so we thought there is nothing to worry about. Later we understood – it’s not so easy as it looks. We’ve experienced most of our travel struggles during that exact trip. For example, we’ve got a fine for hitchhiking in Austria. But maybe it were those adventurers that inspired me for future travels. Later on I’ve started to travel alone, my first solo trip happened in 2014, I’ve gone to Portugal. I’ve realised it’s not necessary to have someone to travel with, it’s perfectly fine to travel on your own. I’ve always liked to take many pictures and write about adventures that happen to me during the trips. At first I was writing articles for www.15min.lt and then I’ve thought of offering people ideas for their next trip as I was often receiving questions about how to find cheap flights, hotels and etc. So I created my website called “Kvepia Kelionėm”. There we had various video interviews about traveling, we talked with well known people, prepared all the news and translated them from English ourselves, were suggesting best value cheap flights, that page was full of all kinds of news for people who love traveling. And that desire for traveling is not leaving me just yet.

 

You’ve visited many different countries and cities, aren’t you dreaming to move and live somewhere else rather then Lithuania?
Absolutely not. Maybe I didn’t find a place that special, but for me the most wonderful feeling is knowing that the journey is about to end and I’ll be waiting for my flight back to Lithuania. No matter how great the trip would be and how much I would like everything there I always know – I’ll be coming home and that makes me happy. I like Lithuania, I like my hometown Kaunas and the more I travel the deeper love I feel for my country. Kaunas is a very attractive city for me, Vilnius seems too big. I’ve noticed that I tend to like second cities by size, not the capitals. For example, in Kazakhstan I was mesmerized by Almaty, not Astana city, I liked Edinburgh more than Glasgow, Porto more than Lisbon.

 

How did the other project of yours named “Kitokie pasikalbėjimai” start? How did it become so popular?
Everything started simply. I just got fired at that time and had to come with a new idea for daily news website of Kaunas www.kasvykstakaune.lt. I remember that the idea was born while I was on a cold bus. I was interested in such shows as “The Late Night Show” and such hosts as Ellen Degeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and others. So I was thinking that we don’t have anything similar here in Lithuania – open type of interview show with an audience close listening to two people talking in an unofficial manner. Everything started on March 16 in 2014 at the very cosy “Punto Jazz” attic in Kaunas. We’ve filmed with one and only camera, quality was dreadful, but we’ve grown to filming with as many as six cameras now and attic was changed by the biggest music festivals in the country and “Rysiu kiemelis” where sometimes more than thousand people come to listen to our interviews. So, step by step everything was growing and growing and now I can hardly understand myself how did we appear where we are now. But there was a lot of consistent work and efforts put in this.

Talking about your everyday – is there a routine you follow or every morning is very different?

Each and every of my workdays are absolutely different and there is not much routine in my life overall. Although about half a year ago there was, I was working at the municipality of Kaunas, 8AM TO 5PM. But last February I started living a life that’s a bit more relaxed. Now I sleep till noon if I want to – I am an owl. So my mornings can be very different, sometimes I don’t even have that essential cup of coffee. I always spend my days working on my laptop, my Youtube channel, sending emails, brainstorming ideas, editing videos. I don’t hire people to help me as I think I can do everything myself, in the best way possible. I know which part in a video needs cutting out and which I should leave, who should I invite for an interview, how much should the tickets cost and what kind of marketing is the most suitable.

 

What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
Hardly anything motivates me to get up in the morning. But I do like one word that an enterpreneur Casey Neistat uses a lot – hustle. I try to get this into my head every single morning – today I need to hustle more than I did yesterday. I need to get up because ideas won’t just come up and all the tasks won’t finish itself, it all depends on me, the amount I do the amount will be done. I don’t have someone upon me that keeps telling what to do, I need to know everything myself, to know what am I reaching for. Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes complicated, but I like it.

 

If routine sneaks into your life – what do you do to run from it?

Usually in that case I get ready to go on a trip. I like to spend time alone so I don’t need to run, sometimes reading a book or watching series at home is what I need. I always have one solo trip once a year. This year I’ve been to Sri Lanka all alone, it was a great disconnection both from myself and others.

 

How do you understand the notion “career”? How would you describe its part in your own life?

Career takes quite a big part but I wouldn’t call myself a total careerist. Although I want and I try to combine my career and my free time, traveling is much more important for me than work, I could cancel on meetings, call of “Kitokie Pasikalbėjimai” shows. Of course, it wouldn’t be financially beneficial but I don’t want to be obsessed about working and making money. It’s really important for me to create, not to stay in one place, not to be limited by my recent luck as I clearly understand that it isn’t forever and that show “Kitokie Pasikalbėjimai” will come to an end one day or another. We all need to think about plan B or C. So career doesn’t take the very first place in my life but it’s somewhere up there.

 

During your everyday rituals what kind of a backpack or a handbag is your most trusted companion?
I’m a total backpacks fan. I always carry a backpack on my shoulders. As I can’t be separated from my laptop ever, everything is thoughtfully packed there, I don’t carry a lot in it. I don’t even have a suitcase whilst traveling unless it’s a work related journey.

 

Do you have someone you always look up to?
I have few of such people in my mind. For example, colleagues of mine – I just don’t get it where do they take that energy from, they could be called workaholics, but they really manage to enjoy life. As I mentioned before, Vytautas Mikaitis is a great example for me of how to enjoy life without caring about minor things too much. I’ve been considering him someone I want to be like for quite a while and last year we’ve travelled to Tanzania together. There I’ve experienced how nice it is to travel with someone who doesn’t have any commitments, we don’t have to visit all the places from some check list, we could just be lazy, don’t go anywhere if we don’t want to. I would also name Casey Neistat, Gary Vaynerchuk.

 

Do you have some big, but realistic dream that is stuck in your head for a while?
There is one closely related to my current working environment. I want to raise National Internet TV to a whole new level in Lithuania. Five years ago when we ourselves started doing it, we really struggled because nobody believed us. But now I can see it coming and coming fast as more and more people choose Internet over TV. We really want to create quality Lithuanian content and want it to become casual – turn on Lithuanian Internet TV. And the other goal I have is to travel the world and to feel joy visiting new places.

 

If you would have a possibility to have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be?
Vytautas Kernagis, because I didn’t have the opportunity to invite him to “Kitokie Pasikalbėjimai” show.

 

Follow Mantas’s everyday and travel adventures: https://www.instagram.com/mantas_bertulis/?hl=en

Pictures by Ieva Rudzionyte
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