Water-to-Go supports the Darien Gap Project

My name is Daniel Eggington and I’m a solo traveller

So a bit about me:

After leaving the UK in 2010 and embarking on a backpacking trip to Indonesia, I found my love of exploring. I spent 12 days in the forest with three local guides, travelling through and camping at a new spot each night. This added some life-changing experiences for me as a naive 18-year-old alone in a foreign country, not knowing any part of the local language. When I got back to the UK, I decided that this is the career path I wanted to work towards.

I decided I wanted to work in the travel industry, where my passion in life truly lies. After that trip and immediately planned for other journeys. I decided to explore Latin America where I got I real feel of the indigenous culture. I planned and prepared for a journey to the Darien Gap Panama-Colombia border region which was a fantastic experience. I then began planning my return to head to Guyana where I canoed a river with 2 local guides, travelling for 12 days and covering 288km to be exact.

I knew that my dream job would now be to work as an expedition leader where I could live out my passion for leading in remote and exciting places. I now had an abundance of remote travel experience, the required knowledge and soon the qualifications that it takes to do this. I have now done my ML training so I am working hard to make this a career choice a reality.

So my next trip will begin from Jurado in Colombia, travelling north through the Choco Department of Colombia and into the Darien Gap which leads into Panama. The endpoint will be in Jaque and I will be following the Pacific coast of Colombia. I aim to make it a wholly solo project and document it on a daily basis on my return. I will be providing an educational perspective of a region in a part of the world that is relatively unknown. The trip will be around 50 miles in total which should take around 15 days. I want to push myself to my very limit, of my capabilities as an explorer.

The Darien Gap Project will involve visiting the Colombian Choco Department which is the least explored region of Colombia due to its notorious past. Quibdo is the capital of the chocò region where half of the population are said to live and work. The rest are in small communities scattered throughout the region where a majority are on the coast such as Nuqui and surrounding towns of Quibdo.

I also want to use this expedition as a platform to raise awareness for conservation and indigenous communities rights. I will be travelling, wholly unsupported, over a number of different landscapes from primary rainforest to high valleys and wetlands.

I use Water-to-Go for the simplicity and how effective it is.  It helps in a few ways from less weight and not having to carry a few litres of water in 2 or 3 bottles. I have used it from Guyana to Costa Rica.

Daniel Eggington

There are not many detailed maps of the region so it isn’t a journey for the faint-hearted. The journey will be documented via videography and photography and tracked at timed intervals through the Delorme device. As I will be entirely alone in the region, a tracking device will be essential.

The region has many issues from severe poverty to armed conflict between paramilitary and people.  The Colombian Chocò department is the least explored region of Colombia due to its notorious past.

I am planning to do this trip as it is something that I have always wanted to do and if successful, would be first of its kind. Where I will be raising awareness for a cause I am passionate about which is conservation and indigenous peoples rights.

The project will be in partnership with Alpaca Raft, Hennessy hammock, Water-to-Go as well as Backcountry Scot.

Keep up to date with everything Daniel is up to on social media.

Water-to-Go Marks World Environment Day 2019

#BeatAirPollution

Wednesday 5th June marks the World Environment Day for 2019. This year World Environment Day will be hosted in China with the UN’s focus for the day on air pollution. Worldwide, around 7 million people die prematurely from air pollution every year, with around 4 million of those deaths occurring in the Asia-Pacific region.

World Environment day will focus on urging governments, industry, communities, and individuals to join together to explore renewable energy and green technologies as well as improving air quality in cities and regions across the world.

Plastic Production is Contributing Towards Air Pollution

A report published by the Centre for Internation Environmental Law has shown that plastic is a significant contributor towards the greenhouse gas effect. Through its full lifecycle from production to its refining and its management as a waste product.

The report states that “at current levels, greenhouse gas emissions from the plastic lifecycle threaten the ability of the global community to keep global temperature rise below 1.5C’. In fact, amongst the suggestions of the report authors is that the production of single-use plastic should be stopped ‘immediately.”

Plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of its lifecycle, from its production to its refining and the way it is managed as a waste product. This plastic binge threatens attempts to meet the Paris climate agreement. It means that by 2050 plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total “carbon budget” – equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.

The Guardian

Our beautiful planet and environment is under threat and it is imperative that we tackle this. According to this report, the proliferation of single-use plastic around the world is accelerating climate change. In order to protect our planet, we must eliminate single-use plastics.

A great way to eliminate single-use plastic bottles is by using a Water-to-Go bottle. Our 3-in-1 filter technology will provide clean, drinking water anywhere in the world, without needing to purchase single-use plastic water bottles. Make your commitment and join the global movement with Water-to-Go.

Helping Protect Africa’s Wildlands with African Wildlife Foundation

As part of AWF’s multi-faceted approach, protecting Africa’s wildlands from pollution is a big priority within their overall mission. AWF work with local communities in a variety of ways to help reduce climate change from Africa.

They work with communities to introduce climate-smart agriculture as well as working on sustainable energy solutions. Working with rural-scale farmers they aim to introduce new, sustainable farming techniques aimed to reduce climate impacts, maximise soil health and produce higher crop yields.

Water-to-Go in Partnership with AWF

We have partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation, creating limited edition AWF branded filter water bottles. For every purchase of the special edition bottles, a £10 donation will be made to AWF, helping protect Africa’s natural environments and the habitats of the continent’s wildlife. Click here to get yourself a bottle and help ensure wildlife and wildlands thrive in modern Africa.

For more information about Water-to-Go and how you can protect the planet and do your bit for the environment, check out our website.

Chaz Powell – What next for The Wildest Journey?

After many years of travelling and after pursuing many different life changing adventures, I soon realised I needed more and soon realised I needed ‘The Wildest Journey’ and something that would stretch me far out of my normal comfort zone.

I knew I wanted to discover wild lands that were little known to others, lands where people daren’t venture due to tales of danger, mystery and the unknown. Something that would take me to a whole new level of exploration and be my ultimate adventure.

So, in 2016 and 2017 I spent a combined duration of 137 days walking for over 3000km from source to sea along the mighty Zambezi river. An expedition that for me was the ultimate test – To walk the length of Africa’s wildest river….

Photo credit: Frazer Waller

Walking the Zambezi

The expedition had taken two years of strict planning and during those 2 years, I’d managed to find myself a local guide, who had also seemed passionate about walking the length of the Zambezi river and tackling this wildest journey by foot.

But after reaching the river’s source and coming face to face with the reality of walking through remote lands for the next 5 months. He quickly changed his mind and succumbed to his fears, saying that this was a crazy idea and it can’t be done! He then turned back in the direction we had come and left me alone to walk the length of the Zambezi river, I never saw him again.

Photo credit: Alex Frood

After the shock of being left alone in these strange lands, I soon got my head together and started walking. Remembering why it was I had taken on this challenge and knowing I needed to try and embrace every second of this great journey.

From then on, I spent time in the remotest of settlements with the humblest of people. People who had absolutely nothing in their lives but seemed to give absolutely everything. I came to rely on these people not only to help guide the way, but also for the incredible hospitality I received on a near daily basis. But this wasn’t without hesitation, as I was often mistaken for being a demon, a witch, a diamond smuggler and even a reincarnation of the great David Livingstone. I was the first white person many had ever met, so it came as quite a shock to see me walking through their remote lands.

Photo credit: Alex Frood

During my great journey, I faced many a challenging obstacle along the mighty river. From crossing the 400-mile long swampy Barotse floodplains, near-death experiences in the Zambezi gorges, and being held hostage in a small remote village in Mozambique. All of these challenges moulded me and saw me overcome all the fears that I’d built up before tackling this mighty quest. I’d reached the Indian ocean and my end goal knowing that I wanted to continue to take on more wildest journeys and to raise awareness for the devastating loss of wildlife and wild lands across the continent of Africa and throughout the world. I knew it was my passion to explore and discover and I’d now continue to do so to fight for the voiceless.

Footsteps on the Gambia

My next adventure was to be a world’s first source to sea trek along the Gambia river. An epic journey to follow the West African river by foot through Guinea-Conakry, Senegal and The Gambia for 1120km.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

After a long 2-day journey we eventually reached the source of the Gambia river. The river itself starts in the remote highlands of the Fouta Djallon in Guinea-Conakry, and is a wild, rugged landscape consisting of steep hills and remote settlements. Paths along the river’s banks were minimal and we were often forced into climbing the steep tracks away from the river itself! This was the beginning of what would turn out to be an incredible yet wildest journey, where we found ourselves tackling this challenging environment, but were treated like kings in this land of warmth and kindness. Leaving us feeling overwhelmed and fascinated by the amazing cultures and the hospitality we received from the most humble of people.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

Soon the river started to widen and consisted of numerous twists and turns. Its presence left us feeling overwhelmed and in a fascinating state of isolation along its wild banks. We came to rely on it not just for the water it gave us to drink and cook with, but for the sense of freedom it bestowed upon us with its beauty and grace. It was home to not only the good people who accommodated and fed us whilst we hiked its waters edge. But also to the wildest of animals and the most magnificent of ever changing wild landscapes.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

During my journeys I relied on drinking straight from the rivers with my trusty Water-to-Go bottles. There was several sections of river where the water was just too contaminated. So whilst using my bottle it gave me both the confidence and tools I needed to survive in the most remotest of regions.

Chaz Powell

One of the most incredible parts of our journey was walking through the Niokolo Koba National Park. After nearly being denied access into the park, but by some miracle managing to secure a last-minute permit. We hiked and skirted along the river’s edge until reaching the parks gates. On arrival we were accompanied by two game rangers and started by far the wildest section of our trek. Unfortunately, during those 4 days I felt at my lowest. My appetite had disappeared and the heat/lack of food was seriously draining my energy supplies. But these guys got me through and made it by far one of the most memorable moments of our source to sea journey.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

When times became difficult, it was often the good people we met along the way that would lift our spirits and inspire us to keep pushing forward with our journey. People who had very little in the way of possessions but would often open their doors and hearts to us to make us feel welcomed. This kindness of strangers is what motivated us through the difficult times, and the good people of Guinea-Conakry, Senegal and The Gambia made this expedition one of greatest journeys I’ve ever made.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

On reaching the Atlantic Ocean and the end of our 1120km, 47-day source to sea journey by foot. We were left feeling a huge sense of satisfaction, elation and overwhelming joy. We had become the first known people to take on and complete this mammoth task, and we knew that this difficult, yet humbling challenge had all been worthwhile.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

We had hiked through some of the wildest regions in Western Africa and been welcomed by all that we had met on our path. This was an adventure that will stay with me forever and one that will be difficult to compare with any of my future ‘the wildest journey’ expeditions.

Photo credit: Tim Roberts

What next for The Wildest Journey?

In September 2019 myself and (potentially) a small team will be setting out in an attempt to walk not only the width of Madagascar, but also source to sea along the country’s longest river – The Mangoky.

Starting on the East Coast of Madagascar we will walk to the source of The Mangoky River and then follow its 564-kilometer (350 mi) length all the way to the Mozambique Chanel on the country’s Western Coast. We will be heading out on this epic adventure to not only take on an incredible journey. But also to raise awareness and funds for the loss of wildlife and wild lands throughout the region…

So there is a lot to look forward to. Keep up to date with all of my adventures and expeditions on Instagram and Facebook.

Photo credit: Alex Frood

Summer Festival Packing List – Stay Single-use Plastic Free

Going to a Festival this summer? Use this Packing List to avoid Single-use Plastic

Every summer millions of people attend British festivals enjoying some of the best live music in the world. However at the same time, a huge amount of plastic waste is being left behind every year. The festivals are starting to take notice themselves with events such as Glastonbury stopping the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. With more and more festivals abandoning single-use plastic products we’ve created a packing list to help you avoid contributing towards the world’s plastic pollution problem. Not wishing to ruin your festival budgeting, if having read this and want to get your own Water-to-Go bottle then please use the discount code FESTIVAL19 for a 19% saving at the checkout.

 

Overnight Festival Tent

Unless you’re a day-ticket holder, this will be one of your most important items during your time at the festival. This is in a way your home during the festival after all.

Your tent needs will largely depend on how many people you are going with. If you’re travelling with just 2 or three in total you may want to go with your own individual tents or a double and single tent. However, if you’re travelling in a larger group it makes more sense to get yourself one larger tent, which can include your own section if you want some privacy. Gooutdoors.co.uk provide a wide range of festival tents so you will almost certainly be able to find the right tent for you on their website.

Don’t Leave your Tent Behind

Believe it or not, single-use tents seem to be a trend that’s been occurring at many festivals in recent years, especially at the larger festivals. Many festival-goers abandon their tents after the event has finished often due to the fact they think the tents will go to charity or homeless people, according to a recent article by the Telegraph. However, most of the time this isn’t the case and your plastic tent will end up in landfill.

Although we accept you may be a bit worse for wear on that morning! it’s better to pack up your tents rather than leaving them for landfill and adding to the world’s plastic pollution problem.

 

Water-to-Go Filter Bottle

Whilst your out in the sun all day it will be essential to stay hydrated throughout the day, especially with the effects of alcohol as well! Carrying a reusable water bottle is a great way to stay hydrated whilst you’re on the go.

The Water-to-Go filter bottles have been tested and proved to filter out over 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants as well as chemicals and heavy metals. This means the bottles are great for festivals as you will be able to fill up from any tap around the venue and have complete confidence that you won’t catch any illness.

Water-to-Go Filter Bottles save you Time and Plastic

Firstly you’ll be saving on your plastic usage as you won’t be forced to buy single-use plastic water bottles. Instead, you can fill from any tap or even puddle and get clean safe drinking water instantly. Secondly, you won’t be waiting in line for ages waiting to buy bottled water or fill up your bottle from the bar.

 

A Reusable glass for your Alcoholic Drinks

Whilst the Water-to-Go Bottles are able to filter any non-salt water source, they haven’t cracked water into wine yet! However, this does give you another chance to avoid more unnecessary single-use plastic. Bringing a reusable metallic glass means you can get your beers in without having to discard a plastic cup every time you want a drink. I’d make sure to give your glass a wash fairly regularly though.

 

Bring Your Own Reusable Cutlery

Plastic Cutlery is something that has become common in many takeaway shops and food stalls, and is just another form of unnecessary single-use plastic. A fairly new concept of portable, reusable cutlery is something that can help in preventing the need for knives and forks made from single-use plastic.

These generally come as a cutlery set of knife, fork and spoon with a case so that they are easy to carry around. You can also add a straw to your non-plastic cutlery set to avoid having to discard plastic ones. This could be a good idea as whilst paper straws are starting to become more popularly used, most places still use the single-use plastic straw.

 

Wellie Boots in case of Bad Weather

Based on the unpredictability of the British weather, bringing a pair of wellie boots can become extremely useful. You should think carefully about your footwear no matter the weather, however being stuck in a field with a brand new pair of trainers will only end badly, especially if it’s chucking it down. Even if they don’t get any use during the festival, it’s worth bringing a pair just in case.

 

Sleeping Bag

Sleeping bags are a great way to combat the potentially cold nights in your tent. This should keep you warm throughout the night, and some sleeping bags come with a zip feature that allows you to use the items as more of a blanket if it does get too hot.

Air bed or Sleeping Matt

To go along with your sleeping bag, you’ll want some form of comfy, tempory bedding. Whilst you’ll already have your sleeping bag it’s going to be pretty uncomfortable to just sleep in that, so we’d recommend bringing either an Air bed or sleeping matt with you as well.

You’ll need all the energy you can get during your festival, so making sure you get as good a night’s sleep as possible will be very important.

 

Portable Battery Charger for your Phone

Keeping your phone charged during a festival can be a real challenge, especially for those staying over at least one night. There may be some festivals which have charging stations however, it’s probably more convenient to bring a portable charger, especially for evenings at your campsite.

Power Traveller make an excellent solar-powered portable charger. This means you won’t have to find a power socket if you are in need of even more charge. The charger itself is also pretty light in weight so will be convenient for you to carry with you during the day. The use of solar energy also means you can help reduce your carbon footprint during the festival as you will be avoiding non-renewable sources of electricity.

 

Plastic Free Toiletries

You’ll need to keep fresh and clean over the course of the festival, especially if you’re staying over at least one night. One of the bigger challenges in going single-use plastic free is when you’re putting together your toiletries for the festival. It can be very difficult to find items like sun cream, wet wipes and shampoo without having to buy some form of plastic.

However, there are still some alternatives available, so you can avoid unnecessary plastic in your toiletries bag.

Reduce your Plastic with a Bamboo Toothbrush

It can be difficult to avoid plastic when you’re compiling your toiletries for the festival although there are some plastic alternatives out there. One great way to avoid buying plastic is to get a bamboo toothbrush. Anything But Plastic makes a brilliant bamboo toothbrush which is far more environmentally friendly than the usual plastic toothbrush.

Bring a Flannel instead of Disposable Wet Wipes

Getting yourself a reusable flannel (face towel) is a great alternative to bringing a pack of wet wipes. You’ll be reducing your waste as you won’t be having to throw anything away after just one use, plus if you find the right company, you won’t have to buy any plastic packaging that will eventually also be thrown away.

Replace Shower Gel with a Bar of Soap

Another replaceable in your toiletry set is your shower gel. Instead of buying shower gel in a plastic container that will eventually be thrown away, you can swap it for a bar of soap which, in many cases, will come without any plastic packaging.

Another interesting development is ‘Naked shower gel’. Lush has developed a solid shower gel that comes without any plastic packaging. Whilst it may look more like a bar of soap, the actual ingredients used to make the product itself is not made from a soap base, and instead uses similar ingredients to their shower gel range.

Plastic Packaging Alternatives

Following on from Lush’s ‘Naked shower gel’, many companies are starting to find creative alternatives to traditional plastic packaging. Similar to this is a shampoo that is packaging free and simply comes in cubes that you can use straight away to wash your hair. So make sure to keep an eye out for new developments that are able to cut out single-use plastic.

 

A Bum Bag for your Valuables

Also known as the ‘Fanny Pack’ this is a great item for carrying your things around during the day, without having to lug a backpack around with you. This item is becoming more and more popular with festival goers due to its convenience, and with a wide range of designs, you should be able to find one that looks good as well.

It’s also a great way to keep valuables you may be carrying, such as your phone or money, safe. It’ll be important to keep these items safe and secure as there is a strong chance they would fall out of your pockets during the day.

 

Festival Essentials

It may seem obvious but make sure to bring the essential bits and bobs you’ll need to actually get into your festival. These include things like your festival ticket, ID, money or cards and any transport/ parking documents.

 

Water-to-Go and Explore raise over £2000 for charitable projects

We are delighted to announce that through our partnership with UK tour company, Explore Worldwide, we have managed to raise over £2000 for charitable projects.

We started working with Explore on World Water Day 2018 and since then, we have managed to raise over £2000 for charitable projects. Over just a year, £2211 has been raised via bottle sales from their customers who are going on their trips and want to stay safe and single-use plastic free. This is a fantastic sum and we are delighted to be supporting Explore and their charitable projects. Explore support several initiatives and projects such as Toilet Twinning that make a difference to the destinations they travel to.

From left: Naomi Jackson, Product Manager at Explore Worldwide; Joe Ponte, Managing Director at Explore Worldwide; and Dave Shanks, CEO and Founder of Water-to-Go

This money will go towards Explore Leaders’ local communities around the world and the Explore Start-Up Fund. Explore created the Explore Start-Up Fund in 2016 and each year, they award a donation of £1,000 to three sustainable start-ups. The business proposals come from their overseas teams around the world and the only imperative is that the ideas are sustainable, and can continue to grow and flourish without continued financial support. From looms being purchased for women’s’ cooperatives in Morocco, to a vertical garden project in Cambodia, to a bike repair shop with apprentice scheme in Tanzania the scope is wide and the project is very exciting!

Explore Worldwide specialise in small group adventure holidays and travel tours for every kind of customer; offering over 600 trips worldwide in 130 countries. From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore.  

They believe travel should change us, not the world. That communities and cultures should benefit and flourish and that we should leave nothing but footprints behind. That is why responsible travel is at the core of everything they do from sponsoring projects around the world and offsetting carbon emissions of their flights to supporting local communities and protecting wildlife. Water-to-Go are delighted to be working with them and we look forward to what the future holds as we continue to make a difference in the travel and tourism industry.

At Explore, their priority is their customer’s health, well-being and safety. Ensuring you are drinking enough clean water when trekking in Nepal, taking a long, hot train journey across India or snorkelling in the Med is key to staying well and having an amazing holiday. However, whether it’s on the TV, in the paper or over the radio, the ever-growing plastic problem is unavoidable and they are keen to lead the way in reducing single-use plastic on our trips. Sounds like it should be an easy task but it’s not.

An average group of 16 people, on a two-week tour will use, and throw away, between 800-1000 plastic bottles! We have been trialling a few methods around the world to reduce these numbers but we haven’t found a perfect solution – until now. We’re very happy to partner with Water-to-Go to offer our customers an exclusive discount on their refillable, filtration bottles to ensure you can stay fighting fit and guilt free during your adventure!

Explore Worldwide

In fact, since we started our partnership with Explore this time last year, we are pleased to report that their customers have saved around 105,000 single-use plastic bottles from waste on their trips around the world by using Water-to-Go bottles! 

We hope that this is just the start of what is already a very fruitful partnership and we look forward to working further with Explore to help make a difference.

For more information on our partnership with Explore Worldwide, click here.

Water-to-Go and Ramblers Walking Holidays Raise over £1000 for Heart and Sole

Water-to-Go and Ramblers Walking Holidays are delighted to have raised over £1000 that will go towards charitable projects and initiatives that Ramblers support. Dave Shanks, Director of Water-to-Go, presented the Heart & Sole team with a cheque for £1,150 as a donation based on the number of Water-to-Go bottles purchased by their clients in 2018.

Ramblers and Heart & Sole

We appreciate that we are in a fortunate position to be able to use our profits to help make a difference to peoples’ lives. Ramblers Walking Holidays have a scheme called Heart & Sole, managed by their office staff, and their aim is to reach the heart of the communities in the countries they visit. Their hope is to make a long term, direct impact on these communities, particularly in less developed countries where even a small amount goes a long way. Heart & Sole will be able to use these funds to continue supporting ventures at home and in the countries they visit around the world.

Heart & Sole offers much-needed support to projects and charities in the UK and overseas, dealing with both large issues such as animal welfare as well as small, and more personal, ventures such as providing schools equipment to village communities. They are currently working with SPANA in Morocco, Cockermouth Mountain Rescue, SOS Children’s Villages in Costa Rica, Cape Verde, Malawi and Morocco.

In South Africa, Heart and Sole support the Royal Drakensberg primary school, in St Lucia a school breakfast club and Andros Routes in Greece. Most recently, they delivered donated items to an orphanage in Tanzania and foster homes in San Jose, Costa Rica. By travelling with Ramblers Walking Holidays, in addition to experiencing the joy of visiting new places, you can help make a difference in these communities.

Seeing the World on Foot with Ramblers

Ramblers Walking Holidays have been providing great value small-group guided holidays in spectacular locations around the globe for 70 years that allow you to discover the essence of the place you are visiting. They are all about seeing the world on foot, offering everything from lowland ambles to high mountain trekking, from short sightseeing walks to challenging long-distance trails.

Ramblers Walking Holidays also want to encourage sustainable practices in the destinations they send their travellers. They are advocates of responsible tourism in accordance with AITO and are extremely aware of the social and environmental impact of travel. By encouraging clients to buy a Water-to-Go bottle, they hope to reduce plastic waste and do their bit for the environment.

The Water-to-Go and Ramblers Partnership

We have been working with Ramblers Walking Holidays for a number of years to help keep their customers healthy and hydrated on their trips. Through our partnership, we have continued to raise money for Heart and Sole. In 2016, Heart & Sole used money donated by Water-to-Go to sponsor the building of a toilet block in Pakistan through an organisation called Toilet Twinning. In December 2017, Water-to-Go were delighted to present Heart & Sole with another cheque for £750 from bottles bought by their clients which has also gone towards their development projects.

We are delighted to be working with such a fantastic company that has a brilliant ethos and that is supporting some life-changing causes. Learn more about Ramblers Walking Holidays and our partnership here.

Top tips for your Travel Health

A Travel Health Guide designed to Protect you from Illness on your Holidays

Making sure you keep yourself healthy whilst travelling is something very important for your holidays. The last thing you want is for your holiday to be ruined by a nasty stomach bug or potentially something worse.

As a result, we at Water-to-Go have created this guide to help you stay healthy on your holidays. As a company we have worked within the travel sector for many years now, forming partnerships with travel clinics and companies such as Wild Frontiers and  Explore. We’ve used this knowledge and produced this guide to give you an idea of what you need to be thinking about when planning your next trip.

Whilst we can’t tailor this guide to everyone’s specific holiday, these are some general thoughts for you to be aware of in relation to your travel health. For information about a specific country you will be travelling to, check out the Rough Guides website. They provide information for loads of specific countries and regions, such as their backpacker’s guide to India.

 

Travel Vaccinations

It’s important to be prepared medically for whichever country you are visiting, especially if you are travelling to countries like those within Africa where there is the risk of diseases such as Malaria.

The medication you’ll need will vary depending on the country you’re travelling to. Make sure to consult your GP or visit a travel health clinic to recommend the medicines/ vaccinations you will need for your travels. Their’s nothing worse than your experience being ruined because of an illness.

 

Filter Water Bottle

Water can be a common source of illness on holidays, especially if you are travelling to destinations such as India or parts of Africa where the water source may not be reliable. It’s therefore important to make sure you are able to get quick and easy access to clean safe drinking water.

The Water-to-Go filter bottle is the perfect tool for the job. The bottle’s unique filter is able to filter out over 99.9% of microbiological contaminants, meaning you can drink safely from and non-salt water source with confidence you won’t catch any illnesses.

In addition to this, one filter can replace up to 400 single-use plastic bottles. Therefore, you won’t have to contribute towards the world’s plastic pollution problem in the search for clean safe drinking water.

 

Think about your Travel Diet

Your food can carry similar illnesses as the water you drink. To avoid symptoms like diarrhoea, stomach pains, nausea and vomiting there are a few precautions you can take:

  • Tray and avoid fruit and veg that has been washed in local water.
  • Don’t buy unpasteurised dairy products.
  • Eat fruits such as Bananas and oranges which have thick peelable skins.
  • If you can, avoid Ice in your drinks.
  • Prepare your own meals where you can.

 

Use Suncream

Obviously, this will primarily apply to those visiting hot countries where you’ll regularly be in the sun. It’s important to understand the strength of cream you will need and if you’re unsure, it’s better to go with a higher SPF to be safe.

There are numerous health benefits towards using sunscreen with the most obvious being you won’t be having to endure the pain of sunburn during your holiday. However, there are also long-term benefits such as reducing the chances of skin cancer, reduces premature skin ageing and preventing blotchy skin.

 

Carry a First-Aid kit with you

Some form of first aid kit is something that should be essential when you’re travelling, especially for those going on a more adventurous trip. This kit will help you to avoid a small injury, such as a cut or scrape, turning into anything worse that can have a bigger impact on your experience.

A great way to make the most of your first aid kit is to create your own personalised kit. By doing this you’ll be able to prepare for the specific health concerns that you’ll be facing on your trip. As well as including your own first-aid items, there are some essential items you should include. These essential items we recommend are plasters, antiseptic wipes/ cream, paracetamol, scissors and any prescription medicine you would normally take.

 

Travel Insurance

If you are unfortunate enough to encounter some form of illness or injury whilst on your travels you’ll want travel insurance. Dependent on the country you are visiting, it may not be worth relying on local medical care as some countries can be unreliable.

For this reason, it’s important to get yourself some travel insurance that covers your health. You should be able to find some pretty cheap and good value insurance deals online and will certainly be less expensive than if you were to receive medical attention without insurance. Just make sure to check your insurance covers everything you feel you’ll need on your trip.

 

Lessening the Effects of Jet lag

The NHS recommends a number of things you can do to help reduce the impacts of jet lag, including:

  • Start adjusting your sleeping pattern by an hour or two (in the correct direction) before you travel.
  • Drink plenty of water whilst travelling.
  • Use an eye mask and earplugs to help get to sleep, so you can adjust your sleeping pattern.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol as much as possible while travelling.
  • Set an alarm to avoid oversleeping.
  • Spend time outside during the day if you can, sunlight will help your body clock adjust.

 

Avoiding Altitude Sickness

This is something that won’t affect everyone however, this is something that you will have to take into account for a large proportion of holidays, such as skiing holidays or visiting places such as Machu Picchu.

Credit: Leon McCarron – (www.leonmccarron.com)

In terms of counteracting altitude sickness, there are a few techniques and medications you can use. Firstly, acetazolamide is designed to prevent and treat the symptoms of altitude sickness. You’ll also want to bring some paracetamol or something similar to prevent headaches, as well as anti-sickness medication like promethazine. It’s also important if you are experiencing altitude sickness, to stay where you are and not try to climb any higher as well as drinking plenty of water. For more information about medication consult your GP.

Water-to-Go ambassador, Chaz Powell, Becomes One of the First to Walk the Length of the Gambia River

After 47 days, 1120km and 1.5 million steps, adventurer, expedition leader and Water-to-Go ambassador Chaz Powell along with his fellow adventurer and expedition photographer Tim Roberts have become the first people in known history to walk the length of the Gambia river from its source in the Fouta Djallon, Guinea to the Atlantic Ocean on Africa’s Western coast.

This epic journey took them through Guinea, Senegal and the complete length of The Gambia to become the first people in known history to walk the river’s length. The map below shows the route they took.

The 1120km shown on a ZeroSixZero map

“It was an incredible life changing expedition that’s taken us through, wild, rugged and breath-taking landscapes from day one!”

Chaz Powell and Tim Roberts

They said it was “a challenging adventure that’s seen us trek through extreme temperatures and harsh landscapes, whilst enduring constant hunger, dehydration and walking amongst the wildest of animals! But also it’s been the most incredible of journeys where we’ve experienced unending hospitality and kindness from the most humble of people.”

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz is no stranger to adventure and has over 15 years of remote travel and expedition experience. In 2016/17 he spent 137 days walking the 3000km length of the Zambezi River, Africa’s fourth longest and wildest river; becoming only the second person in known history to complete this wild and dangerous journey by foot. Roberts joined Chaz on this latest wildest journey as expedition photographer and to help document this historic feat. He’s also no stranger to adventure and has walked various challenging treks all over the world.

This expedition will go down as one of their biggest challenges but also achievements to date as they have now both written themselves into the history books. Whilst they both wanted to test themselves on another wild journey, an important aspect surrounding the expedition was to experience Africa and learn about the wildlife, the culture and the people that live and depend on the Gambia River.

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz and Tim experienced cultures and communities first-hand that many people would not have known even existed so this adventure was able to provide a real insight to Africa that would have been completely different to what many people had experienced before.

It’s important to remember that this was no walk in the park as Chaz and Tim definitely faced a number of challenges along the way including dealing high temperatures and threats from wild animals. One of the major challenges on the expedition was finding safe drinking water. To solve this, Chaz and Tim were pleased to work with the UK company, Water-to-Go. Water-to-Go is a portable water filtration system that eliminates well in excess of 99.9% of all microbiological contaminants from any non-salt water source. This, therefore, allowed them to fill their bottles up from any freshwater stream, local tap or from the Gambia river itself to keep themselves healthy and hydrated throughout the expedition without getting ill.

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz has used his trusted Water-to-Go bottle on many of his adventures and this on-going partnership highlights his commitment to sustainable travel and protecting the environment. The Water-to-Go ambassador is keen to eliminate all single-use plastic bottles on his expeditions and showcase a simple alternative that everyone can use.

One of the main reason’s behind this expedition was to raise awareness for wildlife conservation and highlight serious wildlife crimes that are happening along the remote regions surrounding Africa’s rivers. Chaz partnered with the African Wildlife Foundation for this expedition, one of the oldest and largest conservation organizations that focuses on the protection of African wildlife and wildlands. Throughout his expedition, Chaz was providing his observations of Africa’s wildlife, wild lands and people to the charity.

Credit: Tim Roberts

Chaz also highlighted our partnership and current charity project with the African Wildlife Foundation whilst on this expedition. Water-to-Go are working with the African Wildlife Foundation in order to raise money and awareness of the work that they do and to ensure wildlife and wild lands thrive in modern Africa. We have produced a limited edition bottle, that Chaz used on his expedition, to raise awareness and funds for the organisation.

If you want to get involved in the campaign, Water-to-Go’s special AWF branded bottles are still available via our website with £10 from each bottle purchased being donated to the incredible projects and programs run by African Wildlife Foundation.

“Through my ‘The Wildest Journey’ expeditions, I hope to inspire people to take note on what’s happening to the remaining wildlife and wild lands and support my journeys to help me raise the vital funds needed to ensure these places are protected and managed well for future generations.”

Chaz Powell

Chaz has a lot more expeditions in store so watch this space to see where he will be exploring next on ‘The Wildest Journey.’

Credit: Tim Roberts

You can help support his remote journeys and be part of helping support his cause by visiting and donating at – www.justgiving.com/TheWildestJourney

Keep up with what Chaz is up to and follow his expeditions on Facebook and Instagram (@thewildestjourney)

Credit: Tim Roberts

Ash Dykes: the good, the bad and the ugly of Mission Yangtze

Water-to-Go ambassador, Ash Dykes, is continuing to make great progress on his current mission to trek the entire length of China’s Yangtze River. He has already passed the half-way mark and is encountering a new side of the Yangtze as he goes from very rural to more urban parts of this amazing river.

We wanted to get the thoughts of Ash after getting to the half-way point in his expedition and his observations so far. In particular, we were interested to hear about the food, the people and his observations of the Yangtze in general. It is clear that there has been a good, a bad and an ugly side of Mission Yangtze.

A lot of people in the UK and the western world are into their Chinese takeaways and have asked Ash whether or not the typical Chinese takeaway meals, are the same as the actual dishes in China. The quick answer would be “no, not really”. In China, it’s better, healthier and there is so much more choice, with the dishes being different in each province.

One of the first places Ash visited was Quinhai, a province in West China, which is one of if not the most wildest parts of Asia in general. There are a lot of locals still living the nomadic way of life, herding their yak and moving from place to place. There are a lot of mongols that Ash has come across, living with their families in nomadic tents and yurts. Up here at 4000 to 5000 metres above sea-level, they experience very extreme conditions. It is very wild and isolated. The temperature is below 0 most of the time, and in Winter it hits -30 degrees Celsius or more

So their food is very heavy and stodgy with a lot of calories to keep them energised. Qinghai Province (west China) which has more of a Tibetan food influence, is made up mainly of fats, proteins and dairy products. It’s heavy and stodgy food that is well needed for those kinds of environments, where there are harsh temperatures and it is at altitude. Ash had a lot of Yak meat, yoghurt, bread, milk, butter and tsampa (roasted flour, usually barley flour and sometimes also wheat flour. It is usually mixed with the salty Tibetan butter tea and great to actually carry with you on long hikes).

When Ash’s journey started to drop in altitude and he ventured into the Sichuan province, the food started to dramatically change. The climate was warmer, there were more plantations and vegetation, the food was far more diverse and a lot tastier, with herbs and spices added to the mix. Sichuan is famous for its spicy hotpots (originally from Chongqing) and the food here does have a kick.

Breaking into Yunnan, they have everything here with so many great dishes. They have all the vegetables, all the meats; and produce loads of meals, suited for all types of eaters. This has been Ash’s favourite cuisine of #MissionYangtze so far.

If you have been following Ash on social media, it is clear that there is an awful lot to experience and witness along the Yangtze river, much of which hasn’t been explored before. The Yangtze is officially the third longest river in the world. In fact, it is only a tad shorter than the Amazon or the Nile – only a couple of days extra walking to make up the difference according to Ash.

People assume that, because of the sheer size of it, the Yangtze is very heavily polluted but to say that, you would be very much mistaken. It perhaps is at the end of it and Ash will observe this at the end of his expedition. Ash has walked over 2000 miles so far and the river has been brown at times. But this is mainly because of the heavy storms they experience there; washing down dirt and clay off mountains in the water and turning it that colour. At the moment, Ash is happy to report that it is blue and very fresh, clean, clear.

“This is another shock. I thought I’d find polluted water – but the 2,000 miles of what I’ve done so far, has been quite fresh. It’s blue and there’s lots of wildlife. Now I’ve hit the halfway point and I’m starting to go north-east, towards Shanghai, I will start seeing a different river. I don’t look forward to seeing that. I took a last look at the Yangtze in all its health, nice and blue.”

Ash Dykes

So there is a lot of good work being done that Ash has seen and been told about by the locals. There is a lot of protection for aquatic life and endangered wildlife in particular. Ash only learned a few weeks ago that there is there is still the wild dolphin along with the Yangtze alligator that still habits there; that was originally written off as being extinct.

Ash has walked through the main Yangtze provinces of Yunan, Sichuan and Qinghai so far. Each province has its own different people, dialects, feuds, plantations and vegetation. Ash has experienced a different way of life in each of these provinces which has only furthered his knowledge of the Yangtze and China as a whole. But one thing has remained the same – the people and their manner. Wherever Ash has been, the locals have been so friendly and hospitable. He has been welcomed into the community and has been offered a place to stay and eat wherever he has been. The people always try their best to accommodate.

However, it hasn’t always been easy when the people have tried to show their kindness. This ‘kindness’ has often ended up with Ash being detained and questioned by the police! Ash has gone to such wild places that they don’t know what to do so they just end up calling the police. The police have often rocked up at 2/3 am – not to cause harm but to question him as they are worried for his safety. Ash is aware that they might not have seen a westerner before and this has been part of the confusion. The policed have taken him in but always let him go eventually. Ash has just taken it in his stride and accepted that it has just a part of mission.

One of the main aspects of Ash’s expedition was to experience the people and the different cultures along the Yangtze. Ash has been surprised at the sheer number of communities and people that live along and depend on the Yangtze. There are at least 111 cities along the Yangtze, that Ash is aware of, that have a population higher than New Zealand which is staggering. With it being so long at 4000 miles, the Yangtze caters for everyone so you find a diverse range of people that live along there.

The first half of his journey has taken him through China’s ‘wild west’, exposing him to the elements and vistas of jaw-dropping beauty. Now he’s preparing to tackle the urbanised east, where human development dominates and cities are interspersed with paddy fields.

“The first half [of this trip] was always anticipated to be the most difficult. It’s sensitive being so close to Tibet and it’s so remote and wild. The terrain was tricky, temperatures dropped below minus 20C, there were snow blizzards and there was a threat from bears and wolves.”

Ash Dykes

The mission got off to a fairly rocky start – complications with permits, visas and his support team have pushed the challenge back by a few weeks. “On the way up the mountain I lost my videographers through a combination of altitude sickness and the extreme cold,” says Dykes. “Then, my local guide was doubled over and I checked on him, his nose was bleeding and he was struggling for breath. He’s a local Tibetan, who lives in a village at about 3,500 metres [11,500 feet] [above sea level], but even he had to turn back.” This was a big wake-up call for Ash and everyone following the expedition to realise the sheer danger and harsh conditions that is encompassed with this mission.

Despite this, Ash has carried on like the true Welsh warrior that he is and was delighted to reach the half-way mark after so many setbacks and difficulties. However, Ash will be facing a different set of challenges as he starts to travel through the more urban parts of the Yangtze. Ash still has another 2000 miles of adventuring through Chinese terrain where he will encounter fresh challenges and amazing experiences along the way. Ash is prepared for what is to come over the next several months.

“There will be different challenges – maybe snakes and spiders. I can’t go trampling on someone’s land so I’ll have to go around and that’s going to be more annoying and irritating than anything else. The river is a lot deeper, so the tributaries are wider and there’ll be more detours. The river is just under 4,000 miles but this will end up being more than a 4,000 mile trek.”

Ash Dykes

Whilst the many changes in scenery, people and food; there is one thing that remains the same on his journey that is always there – his Water-to-Go bottle. He has carried his trusted Water-to-Go for the duration of this mission and his 2 previous world firsts across Mongolia and Madagascar to keep him healthy and hydrated with safe clean drinking water.

There have been many points along this mission where he has been desperate for water and has simply filled his Water-to-Go bottle with water straight from the Yangtze itself and the 3-in-1 technology filter has allowed him to drink it straight away.

His Water-to-Go bottle has been an essential item on all of his travels to provide him with safe, drinking water wherever he is. Not only does it help him save money, but it also helps him to save weight and save the planet by not needing to purchase single-use plastic bottles that we find so often polluting our rivers and oceans.

A major part of Ash’s expedition is to travel responsibly and sustainably, and the Water-to-Go bottle allows him to do this. Ash has been explaining this to the people he meets on his journey and is trying to help them become more sustainable as a community. Water-to-Go is the ideal alternative to single-use plastic bottles and we are delighted that Ash is promoting this message on his biggest expedition yet.

Overall, Ash is pleased with how his expedition is going and everything that he is learning about the Yangtze. He is looking forward to the next chapter and will look to keep us all updated with his progress.

Keep track of Ash on his live tracker

So make sure you keep up with Ash on social media as he continues his expedition and experiences the beauties of the Yangtze and China in general.

10 Ways to Reduce your Plastic Waste

Simple Things you can do to Reduce your Plastic Pollution Footprint

The World’s plastic pollution problem has become a source for global concern over the past few years. Of the 6 billions tonnes of plastic that has been produced since the 1950s, only around 9% is recycled. This means there is a phenomenal amount of plastic and waste in general that escapes our waste management systems and ends up polluting our planet.  Every year approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans and result in harming wildlife and wild animals. It is imperative that we all do our bit to tackle this and reduce plastic waste.

This guide will aim to help you reduce your plastic waste and stop using single-use plastic in as many situations as possible. There are some very simple things that you can do and changes you can make in your life that will make a difference.

Use your own non-plastic carrier bags

Whilst the 5p plastic bag charge has made a big difference in the amount of carrier bags people use, plastic bags remain a big contributor to the world’s plastic pollution problem.

There is a range of alternatives to single-use plastic bags available made from fabrics such as canvas and natural fibres, so you can avoid plastic altogether. They generally aren’t too expensive either so if you are a regular shopper it shouldn’t be too long until your bag has paid itself off.

Get a Reusable Water Bottle

With a million plastic bottles bought around the world every minute, getting yourself a reusable water bottle is a great way to help prevent one of the biggest contributors towards the world’s plastic problem.

The Water-to-Go bottle is a fantastic replacement for single-use plastic water bottles. In addition to the reusable element of the bottle, it’s replaceable filter cartridge is able to filter out well over 99.9% of microbiological contaminants from any fresh water source. This means no matter the situation you’re in you shouldn’t ever need to revert to single-use plastic water bottles.

Just 75cl Water-to-Go filter will replace 400 single-use plastic water bottles. If we all adotped this principle and changed our mindset on plastic, just think of the difference we could make.

Opt for a reusable coffee cup

Similarly to water bottles, using plastic coffee cups for just one tea or coffee is another very wasteful practice, with 7 million disposable plastic coffee cups used every day in the UK.

A number of the big coffee companies such as Starbucks and Costa have started reusable cup initiatives such as money off your coffee if you bring in a reusable cup as well as starting to make their own reusable cups.

There are plenty of options for reusable coffee cups with many at a very reasonable price. So if you take advantage of the extra money off your coffee with the reusable cup you’ll be able to pay it off in no time.

Avoid plastic cutlery and plastic straws

Plastic Cutlery is something that has become common in many takeaway shops and is just another form of unnecessary single-use plastic. A fairly new concept of portable, reusable cutlery is something that can help in preventing the need for single-use plastic knives and forks.

These generally come as a cutlery set of knife, fork and spoon with a case so that they are easy to carry around. Non-plastic straws are also widely available in a similar fashion to the cutlery sets. You can get these in a range of materials including wood, plastic and metal, although these will need cleaning fairly regularly.

Carry your own food and containers

Carrying your own food rather than buying, for example, a sandwich from a shop can help you reduce the amount of plastic packaging you are buying and inevitably your plastic waste.

By packing your own food in reusable containers you won’t need to buy food packaged in plastic, and your reusable containers will mean you won’t need to throw anything away either.

Plastic-free chewing gum

The majority of chewing gums are made up of a synthetic rubber which in essence is a plastic. In fact, 85% of people in the UK don’t know that these chewing gums contain plastic. So when used and thrown away most chewing gums are pretty much a single-use plastic.

So avoiding chewing gum altogether is one way to avoid this form of plastic waste. However, there are a few new companies that have been popping up making natural, biodegradable chewing gums. Iceland has now become the first UK supermarket to stock this form of chewing gum from a brand called ‘Simply Gum’.

Buy in bulk

Unfortunately, in today’s world, there may be times where avoiding single-use plastic is unavoidable. Despite this, there are still ways to reduce the amount of single-use plastic that you buy. One concern is when you buy products, such as clothes online or certain foods, they will always come in plastic packaging. A way to reduce the amount of plastic packaging you’re buying and inevitably throwing away is to buy in bulk.

Often when you buy in bulk you will be able to buy products that come in less plastic packaging than they would have if they were to be bought individually. In the case of online clothing, a lot of retailers will put more than one item of clothing in the same plastic packaging, meaning buying lots of pieces of clothing in one order will reduce the amount of plastic packaging they will send out and in turn the amount of plastic waste you are throwing away.

Keep watching for new anti-plastic initiatives

As people and companies become more aware of the world’s plastic waste problem, companies are starting to take action with new plastic-free products, such as the ones we’ve already discussed in this blog. So make sure you’re keeping an eye out for new ways to reduce your plastic footprint.

You can also get involved with non-profit organisations and initiatives which are helping to combat the plastic pollution problem. Incredible Oceans is a fantastic example of a not-for-profit organisation that are helping protect our oceans from plastic pollution. They run education programmes, events and festivals using charismatic marine creatures to tell critical ocean stories in engaging and entertaining ways.

These changes may seem small but if we all change our mindset around plastic, we can all make a huge difference and preserve the future of our planet. Join us on the Water-to-Go journey and together we will change the world, one bottle at a time.