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 television host, travel journalist as well as a passionate artist, educator and writer who has explored 101 countries, 6 continents and sailed on cruise ships for seven years on the high seas and backpacked for three years in Asia. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which was read in 212 countries in 2018 and named #3 on the top 1000 Travel Blog and the top female travel blogger 3 times in 2019. Find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over one million views on her YouTube channel. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on both Twitter and Facebook, has over 150,000 followers across social media and ran fifteen travel competitions publishing over 2500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. She has been a finalist for six Southern California Journalism Awards in the past three years and won an award for her Jewish Journal article. Niver has written for AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres (United Airlines), Jewish Journal, Luxury Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Myanmar Times, National Geographic, POPSUGAR, Robb Report, Saturday Evening Post, Scuba Diver Life, Sierra Club, Ski Utah, Smithsonian, Trivago, USA Today 10best, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave Rebel: 50 Scary Challenges Before 50,” about her most recent travels and challenges. Look for her underwater SCUBA diving, in her art studio making ceramics or helping people find their next dream trip. http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

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