November 24, 2017.
The project began in early 2016 with the idea to travel around the world as cheaply as possible through overlanding. The group; Max, Becca, Joel and Rich, created the concept of attempting to complete a full loop of the globe with no planning and with a tiny budget. We knew this would entail many challenging situations that would require serious team work. Shortly after sharing this idea on Facebook a number of people got involved and the team began to grow. We looked for the cheapest cars available on Gumtree, the first being a Skoda Felica for ?75 and the second being a Nissan Micra for just ?150. After purchasing these and getting more people involved this created a solid team for the convoy. We then started approaching sponsors asking for help through donating kit or support us and as a result, Water-to-Go were one of first product sponsors.
Then we set off East. Travelling across 4 continents and a total of 46 countries, we found ourselves in all sorts of situations both good and bad. Being an optimistic and a slightly crazy team from the start, we were ready to face all challenges ahead of us and only hope for the best of situations. Our first continent, Europe showed us the possibilities of collecting hitchhikers and at one point we had a total of 5 cars with 26 people. We were lucky enough to have our Water-to-Go bottles for the entire journey but even within Europe, we found ourselves cutting our costs by filling up from waterfalls, lakes and rivers.
Entering Russia and Central Asia on the other hand, was another story. Things became a lot more serious and challenging. Due to the roads in this part of the world being in some cases ‘non-existent’ we had some of our biggest breakdowns on the trip. The first, being in Kazakhstan, when we hit the oil sump on the diesel Skoda and were stranded in the desert. A twelve hour journey turned into 3 days, but we were rescued by the amazing workers at a nearby oil refinery. During this time as we weren’t prepared to be stranded in the desert, Water-to-Go was literally a life saver. We were given water from a passer-by and we didn’t even question using our bottles as we knew that although we had no idea where the water had come from we could drink without having to worry about illness or dehydration.
After our final sprint to Vladivostok just in time for our visas expiring, we flew to Japan. This was the first time the Convoy as a whole were without the cars and to embrace Japans hospitality and quirky culture we decided to hitchhike our way to Korea where we would later fly on to Canada to collect the cars. Japan gave us some of the most in-depth cultural experiences from to drifting down Mountain ranges near Mount Fuji and Samurai sword making, but this was our first experience backpacking with Water-to-Go. It allowed us to carry all our gear and not have to worry about lugging around litres of water. This convenience allowed us to focus our time on absorbing the culture rather than worrying about when we would next find drinking water.
Canada was the first of our shipping nightmares! We were faced with a month-long delay but on the positive side this allowed us to venture out into British Columbia and explore the beautiful nature that Canada has to offer. We were lucky enough to experience the beautiful landscapes of North America by visiting an array of national parks, including Yosemite. As hikers we used our bottles frequently in Yosemite, filling up from some of the most famous waterfalls! Being able to drink such untreated water and not getting sick felt literally so refreshing.
As we headed south through both Central and South America we continued to be accepted into communities across Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. This part of the world was very much new territory for the majority of us and we found ourselves captivated by its temples and Mayan history. Unfortunately, some of these areas are heavily covered in rubbish. We were horrified to see piles burning on roadsides continuously through Central and South America and beaches swamped with plastic. It was saddening to see beaches in Utilla, Honduras covered in plastic that had washed up from other places, destroying the environment. For the team it was a time of realisation that Water-to-Go bottles help prevent this. We calculated that if the team were to drink an average of 2 litres of water a day, for the duration of the trip, we would have used around 2,760, 1 litre plastic bottles.
We wanted to create a project where everyone and anyone could be involved and we would work with what people had to offer. Not only were we optimistic for ourselves, but by creating a project for all to be involved, created optimism in others and gave opportunities to likeminded people. The project specifically demonstrates how little equipment or modification to your car you need in order to survive. At times we wished we were more prepared but our teamwork and optimism got us through the journey and from this we have created some strong friendships with people all over the world. Sponsors like Water-to-Go really helped us achieve this goal and have been hugely influential on our journey and survival. Upon our return we have been taking our Water-to-Go bottle with us across Europe to an array of Outdoor and Adventure shows where we were able to share this amazing product.