As someone who has traveled the world both in extreme luxury and on a minuscule budget, I am aware of wealth inequalities, especially when it comes to water, food, and lodging. As a sailor who loves the open sea, and as someone who drinks a minimum of two liters of water a day, clean water issues has become important to me over the years. It breaks my heart to see someone, especially a child, drinking water from a dirty source such as a brown river stream. As a traveler with a conscience, I feel the need to step in and help in whatever way I can.
When I worked aboard superyachts, I saw with my own eyes how simple it is to filter salt ocean water into clean water. Each day, we used the yacht’s filtering system to clean hundreds if not thousands of gallons of sea water. We used this new fresh water to rinse off the salt that dirtied the yacht several times a day. I have personally spent a few hundred hours of my life rinsing off salt off a superyacht for the sheer purpose of bringing aesthetic to the life of the wealthy. It was a task that was never ending, a task that was futile in so many ways. The waves and ocean breeze were against us every step of the way, yet we persisted in wasting this clean water for no real purpose. This waste among the others often made me sick to my stomach, especially when I recalled what I had seen in my previous travels.
Then, I realized. The rich don’t necessarily waste this water. They create it for this single purpose. When you see the sheer lack of drinking water in remote areas around the world, you start to wonder if billionaires who own superyachts should be forced to filter water for the poor in the same fashion. For every gallon they use to wash over their superyacht, they should provide a gallon to someone in need.
Then, it hit me. Why put all the pressure on billionaires? Why can’t I and everyone around me do the same?
Clean drinking water is scarce in some places, but the solutions are abundant. The technology exists everywhere and in so many variants yet accessible drinking water is not the norm around the world. I was aware of the challenge, and needed a way to join the effort to bring clean water to those in need.
One day, in a small boutique hotel on Lake Apoyo in Nicaragua, I meet a woman who brought me a solution. She worked for Waves For Water, a do-it-yourself initiative that encourages travelers to carry MVP water filters with them to distribute along the way. She had brought over 300 water filters to Nicaragua and was developing a network to donate them to families in need. I was impressed by her efforts and passion.
Founded by Jon Rose in 2009, Waves For Water has touched over 7 million people in more than 27 countries. The solution they offer is simple. Travel the world as you usually do, bring a few water filters in your backpack, distribute them to people who will benefit from them and help out the cause. Each one of these MVP water filters can clean up to one million gallons of water which could impact 100 people for up to five years. All this for just $50. I wanted in.
Since I believe that we should distribute water equality among all, in 2015, I became a clean water ambassador for Instytutum, a new luxury skincare brand. In partnership with Waves4Water and One Year One World, I delivered over 30 water filters to three indigenous communities in Panama. At first, the communities didn’t understand what I was bringing them, but when they tasted the clean filtered water, I received hugs, smiles, and even tears. Water is such a pure pleasure to share.
You can preview the experiences here:
As a traveler, you can join the clean water courier initiative with Waves For Water directly at http://store.wavesforwater.org/ or you can connect with me at roxanne @ luxeinacity.com to donate to my efforts. Whatever you choose, choose to help out.
I currently have another 20 water filters to donate in Peru in the upcoming months. Stay tune for more information on how you can help.