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September 07, 2016 3 min read

Written by a wabo fanatic and influencer: Sam Goodell

In Byron Bay Australia, nobody wears shoes. 

This reality can be painful when walking on the gravel sidewalks, or stubbing your toe on the grocery store gondola, isle five. But bare, bruised feet are inevitable for an American study-abroad student trying to fit into Australia’s laid-back free-spirited culture.

Wabo water bottle Sydney Australia

My name is Sam, and I was there when it all happened. “There” was a pretty cool place. “There” was Byron Bay, Australia in a one bedroom apartment with two noise complaints and World Cup Rugby playing on the television. To expand upon “there”, let me tell you a little more about Byron Bay. It’s a shared place. You share waves when you’re capable enough to let the other surfers by when they catch the right one. You share cigarettes in a circle on the beach. The sidewalks are shared with saxophone players, stray dogs, and dancers in colorful clothes. You share the land with tourists and Aboriginal peoples. Ownership is at a minimum.

“There” also happens to be where Wabo was born. Like I said, my name is Sam, not Chris. If my name was Chris, maybe I would be the founder with my face on the Wabo website. But I was there. The idea of Wabo sprouted from several formless thoughts that swirled around in our heads—primarily, how could we squeak by on our social movement assignment for class. When Chris asked me for a $250 initial investment on a Wabo sticker order, however, I knew he was thinking much bigger.

I didn’t pay the $250. I didn’t make the website either, or contact the start-up accelerator, or sell hundreds of bottles to my college—he did.  But here I am, back over a year later to reap his gains because I believe in the Wabo Movement.

Want to hear something crazy? Fiji Water has made billions by exporting water from the Pacific island to their manufacturing plant in California, while only 47 percent of Fiji residents have access to clean water. Water, the fundamental element, has been reduced to capital. The less-than-coincidental yet highly extraordinary combination of hydrogen and oxygen is nothing more than a dollar in someone’s pocket.  

This disturbing reality is what makes the Wabo movement so exciting, and so important. Think of your Wabo as a tool. We supply the infrastructure—the clean, chrome, snazzy looking tube with a twist-on cap. Then comes your part. The first step is simple—fill it up with the good stuff. All the way. Then—make it your own. Toss on a sticker, scratch it with a rock, slam it on a curb. Draw a picture for all I care. But whatever you do, take it away from Fiji Water, and Poland Springs, and Aquafina. Store your water in a place that nobody else can touch it or call it their own. Take a stand in your own personal way; create your own remarkably unique story, and tell the world. Show everyone that water is not a commodity but a public good to be shared among the people—just like the waves I tried to surf in Byron Bay. And that, my friends, is the Wabo movement. Combining the universal benefits of sharing with the spark of individuality. It’s your bottle, and it’s our water.

Our gorgeous writer Sam sporting a reusable bottle in Australia (doesn't matter what kind as long as it's reusable!).

Wabo Fanatic Water Bottle