Udaipur: Changing the World One Bottle at a Time


Thank you to Charu at the Butterfly Diary for publishing my article about India: “Raft Building on the raftBanks of the Lake Palace, Udaipur: Changing the World One Bottle at a Time.” I thought sharing this piece on backpackers changing the world was a good fit for Rosh Hashannah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year and High Holy Days.

After meandering in Asia over the last seven months on sabbatical, we began to discern one of the most noticeable consistencies of the region: the piles of plastic one-liter bottles littered across the landscape. The twin problems of absence of access to clean drinking water and lack of recycling or a plan to deal with trash are noticeable in nearly every country in Asia. At home in Los Angeles, the recycling trucks appear with frequency to transport the garbage away. However having been to the largest landfill on the planet, I know that piles of plastic continue to mount in the United States as well.

Innovators are creating biodegradable plastic and clothing made from recycled bottles. Others carry UV filters and metal canteens while traveling to reduce the consumption of plastic. In Udaipur, a veritable G-8 of travelers created community for themselves and the local children while turning trash into movable art and transport.

Isaac, the French-born Israeli fresh from the army, and Assaf, the sabra, have been biking across India. After a dangerous encounter with a truck that required Isaac to nearly rebuild the bike MacGyver style with a few paperclips and some duck tape, they had a few days rest on the roof of their Guest House in Udaipur. Noticing the pile of plastic and ready for the next engineering feat, the duo set out to construct a raft to sail the waters around the Lake Palace.

Their new friends, Katie and Erika from the Northwest of the United States, Kristen, the South African Brit, and Yanira, the Balinese Italian, were ready for the challenge. Their self-proclaimed task was to build a better boat than Team Israel.

Click here to read the full article.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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