No items found.

Traveling with a purpose – that's the motto my wife and I adopted after years of yearning for exploration. We embrace minimalism, prioritizing experiences over possessions. When the pandemic struck, it gave an opportunity to reassess our lives.

We craved a deeper meaning, a way to contribute while experiencing the world.

Living in Barcelona, the ever-present plastic pollution on beaches and streets became a stark reminder of our global environmental crisis. We started picking up trash, a simple act that grew into a daily ritual during our journey from Mexico to Colombia.

The beaches tend to be the most contaminated, here quick morning cleanup in Hopkins, Belize.

Our clean-up efforts aren't solitary endeavors. We actively organize group events, uniting locals, businesses, and tourists. We emphasized an essential truth: we're all citizens of Earth, sharing responsibility for its well-being.

One crucial realization quickly emerged: plastic pollution primarily affects water sources.

Much of the world lacks readily available clean tap water, forcing people to rely on single-use plastics like bottles and bags. This issue transcends social and economic backgrounds; it's a consequence of limited education, awareness, and unfortunately, even poverty. 

Educational talk with a quick recycling competition in Santa Ana, El Salvador.

Many tourists and locals alike resort to buying bottled water for convenience. We come from Czech Republic, a country with one of the highest quality waters and still many people prefer buying packaged water. As we pick up trash almost every day, much of it are plastic bottles, we did not want to add to the already existing huge problem.

Luckily we found simpler, cheaper, and ultimately more sustainable solution: the Sawyer MINI filter.

For three years, this trusty companion has been by our side, saving us thousands of dollars and plastic bottles – literally thousands.
Using MINI to filter water during the visit of Chorrera waterfall in Colombia.

Here's the math: As a couple traveling full-time for three years, with an average daily water consumption of 2.5 liters each, we've avoided roughly 9,000 plastic bottles (500 ml size) and saved a staggering $4,000!

The numbers are significant, especially considering the global plastic problem. Estimates suggest 1.3 billion plastic bottles are used every single day, translating to roughly 1 million per minute.

While our 9,000 bottles seem like a drop in the ocean, we believe in the power of collective action.

Every plastic bottle avoided, every piece of trash picked up, every drop of water saved contributes to a healthier planet.

Drinking directly through MINI from cenote in Mexico.

We're not the most athletic travelers, far from loving hiking, but our commitment to cleaning up nature keeps us active and going.

While picking up trash, our brains don't focus as much on shortness of breath and the liters of sweat leaving our bodies, but it increases water intake.

The MINI has been a lifesaver on numerous occasions, filtering water from cenotes in Mexico, rivers in Honduras, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic, and even refreshing us at waterfalls in Colombia. Wherever we pick up trash, MINI filter goes with us.

Important aspect of our environmental activities is drawing attention and picking up trash, especially as obvious tourists with backpacks and other gear, we draw a lot of attention.

We always emphasize the importance of being visible examples.

Of course, seeing us pick up trash doesn't magically stop others from littering (if that was the case before), but it definitely leaves an impression, something in the brain. It starts conversations, in some it awakes shame, others are motivated and luckily very few are angry. Only one time in Nicaragua we got flipped and shouted some ugly words from a car passing by.

Picking up trash wherever we are, here on Río Dulce in Guatemala.

Even using our MINI friend draws attention from time to time. Recently, we were at the bus terminal in Medellín, Colombia. Despite tap water being available in Medellín, we didn't trust the cleanliness of the water at the terminal. So, I filled the pouch with water and immediately drew the attention of the lady in charge, who gave me a quizzical look: "What the hell is this gringo doing?"

More attention followed when I sat down, screwed the filter onto the pouch, and started filtering water into our reusable metal bottle.

Many people around us started looking, prompting me to engage in conversation with the lady closest to me. I explained everything and noticed others nodding in agreement – a genuinely cool feeling!

Using MINI to filter rain water during visit of Chorrera waterfall in Colombia.

Once in the Philippines, during a canyoneering adventure at Kawasan Falls, our guide was surprised to see that the only thing we had with us for the 4-hour journey was our action camera. He asked why we didn't have any water, adding with a concerned look that there were no shops along the way.

We showed him our MINI filter, explained how it worked, and demonstrated that whenever we were thirsty, we could simply drink directly from the river.

Similar situations occurred in many hostels. We often encountered looks of disbelief, as if people were silently asking, "Do they know they shouldn't be drinking this water?" Well, we know. And thanks to our MINI friend, we can drink water from anywhere and not rely on packaged water and share this information with others who see us.

Our passion for environmental awareness goes beyond personal actions. We strive to inspire others to adopt sustainable practices.

Plastic pollution respects no borders, and we convey this message through every clean-up event, educational talk, and every post on our social media.

The Sawyer MINI embodies this philosophy perfectly. It allows us to rely on readily available water sources, reducing our plastic consumption, and serving as a tangible example of sustainable travel for those we encounter along the way.

LAST UPDATED

June 26, 2024

Written by
Photo thumbnail Blog Author

Misha and Jirka

We're Misha and Jirka, low-cost travelers picking up trash wherever we go and trying to inspire others to join us. We've cleaned up trash in 15 countries with hundreds of volunteers and lectured to thousands of students. Through our educational efforts we aim to foster a sense of togetherness in everyone, as environmental pollution respects no borders and each of us can and should play a role in the protection of our planet.

Explore More Content

No items found.

Media Mentions

Sawyer has an alternative [to DEET] made with Picaridin, which works just as well without spoiling your clothes.

James Wong
Freelance Writer

Media Mentions

Zinzi Edmundson, the founder of Treehouse newsletter, who gardens in Maine, suggests spraying your shoes, especially (she uses Sawyer’s permethrin).

Laura Fenton
Contributor

Media Mentions

I carry bottles of water, but I also have a Sawyer squeeze water filter. Also, if it’s cold, make sure you sleep with your water filter in your sleeping bag, so it doesn’t freeze.

Shilletha Curtis