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 is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 102 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. She is the founder of the website WeSaidGoTravel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. Niver is a speaker at the Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Dallas Travel and Adventure Shows for 2023. Her podcast, “Make Your Own Map,” has been watched in more than 11 countries on 4 continents. Niver is represented by Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary, Inc. Look for her memoir in Fall 2023 from Post Hill Press/Simon and Schuster. You can find Lisa Niver talking travel on broadcast television at KTLA TV Los Angeles, Satellite Media Tours, The Jet Set TV and Orbitz travel webisodes as well as her YouTube channel, where her WeSaidGoTravel videos have nearly 2 million views. With more than 150,000 followers across social media, she has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best, is verified on Twitter and listed on IMDb, and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed Deepak Chopra, Olympic medalists, and numerous bestselling authors and been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She has been a judge for the Gracie Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media, and has run 15 travel competitions on her website, publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded three Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards and been a finalist twenty times.   Niver has published more than 2000 articles, in more than three dozen magazines and journals including National Geographic, Wired, Teen Vogue, HuffPost Personal, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, AAA Explorer Magazine, American Airways, Delta Sky, enRoute (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, BuzzFeed, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, USA Today, TODAY, Wharton Magazine, and Yahoo. https://bit.ly/m/lisaniver Awards National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards 2021 Winner: Book Critic: Ms. Magazine “Untamed: Brave Means Living From the Inside Out” 2019 Winner: Soft News Feature for Film/TV: KTLA TV “Oscars Countdown to Gold with Lisa Niver” 2019 Finalist for: Soft News, Business/Music/Tech/Art Southern California Journalism Awards 2022 Finalist: Book Criticism 2021 Winner: Technology Reporting 2021 Finalist: Book Criticism 2020 Winner: Print Magazine Feature: Hemispheres Magazine, “Painter by the Numbers, Rembrandt” 2020 Finalist: Online Journalist of the Year, Activism Journalism, Educational Reporting, Broadcast Lifestyle Feature 2019 Finalist: Broadcast Television Lifestyle Segment for “Ogden Ski Getaway” 2018 Finalist: Science/Technology Reporting, Travel Reporting, Personality Profile 2017 Winner: Print Column “A Journey to Freedom over Three Passovers” Social Media Presence YouTube Channel: We Said Go Travel (1.7 million views) Short form video:TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts Twitter: lisaniver (90,000 followers) Instagram: lisaniver (24,000 followers) Pinterest: We Said Go Travel (20,000 followers and over 70,000 monthly views) Facebook: lisa.niver (5,000 followers); We Said Go Travel (3,000 followers) LinkedIn: lisaellenniver (9000 contacts)

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