Two months ago, my friend Rose and I traveled to the south of France, where, over the span of two weeks, we traversed the Côte d’Azur, exploring coastal, seaside towns and eating our weight in bread and the freshest, briniest oysters that tasted like the ocean. It was a truly magical trip — my first international one in four years. The only problem: I forgot that tap water overseas wasn’t necessarily always the safest to drink. So, every night, I had to boil water and fill my bottle for the forthcoming day, and if I forgot, I had to buy a new plastic bottle of water, which felt like a dagger to my environmentally conscious heart.
But Rose didn’t have this problem. She carried her LifeStraw Go Series — a water bottle that comes equipped with a filter — with such freedom and ease, because it allowed her to fill it whenever she wanted, even when she traveled internationally. “I love that I can fill my LifeStraw bottle with tap water when I travel, and not have to think twice about it,” she once boasted to me. And I saw it firsthand: She never had to worry about thirst or whether water from a sketchy airport sink or hotel was safe to drink. With the LifeStraw Go Series, that fear of getting sick from drinking contaminated water while abroad ceases to exist.
It’s all thanks to its two-stage filtration system: The membrane microfilter removes bacteria, parasites, and microplastics, while the carbon filter reduces chlorine and improves taste — and it’s for this reason that LifeStraw, the purveyor of superior filtration systems in pursuit of safe, drinkable water, is such a hit among avid travelers.
And I was jealous.
The thing is, I never gave a whole lot of thought about water. Growing up, I only drank when I was thirsty, when my throat felt scratchy and dry. Water always felt more like an obligation than something to crave. But if I could pinpoint when that shifted, it would be during the pandemic. At the height of what felt like an apocalyptic nightmare, when so much of my life felt out of control, my whole perspective around water changed — I saw it as a simple way to take better care of myself.
“I’ve definitely noticed a shift in culture and in attitudes toward water, because I feel like everybody is now more into wellness,” confirms Ann Wang, pilates teacher-in-training and all-around wellness expert who consumes about a gallon of water every day. “Since the pandemic, people finally learned to slow down, to take care of themselves, to find a better balance after working such crazy hours. And I also think more people are into fitness — it’s so much more accessible now, with at-home workout classes — so everybody’s hydrating more.”
All of a sudden, it felt like everyone was into water. For a liquid that’s so ubiquitous, that’s notoriously flavorless, that’s sometimes taken for granted, it became…cool. It’s most obvious on social media, specifically TikTok. #WaterTok yields nearly 415 million views, with utterly mesmerizing videos that range in tone, from sincerity to parody. There are water recipes featuring experimental flavor combos and fancy names for these concoctions, like “peach ring water” or “tiger’s blood water” or “nerds ocean water.” And there are many, many attempts at making water taste like anything but water, like a Bomb Pop popsicle or a Dr. Pepper.
“It’s not surprising that water is trendy or cool now, because it goes along with the entire era of self-care, clean beauty, and all things centered around wellness,” says Emma Sarran Webster, Chicago-based lifestyle journalist. “In terms of internet trends and TikTok, I can see how something like this can pick up, where people talk about how they're drinking so much water and how it can help your skin and energy. It’s in the same vein as Hot Girl Walk — it’s something that’s theoretically so simple, but when it’s packaged a certain way, it catches more people’s attention.”
To wit: In much the same way a dopamine-boosting activewear set can inspire a better workout, I believe anyone will be more inclined to up their water intake if they’re doing it from a cute bottle. I’m now a proud owner of a LifeStraw Go Series bottle, a 24-oz stainless steel vessel in the prettiest, most serene shade of blue. It’s minimalist in design and gloriously chic.
Do I wish I had it with me during my Europe trip? Yes. Yes, I do. But I’ll be prepared next time. And in the meantime, water — something I’ve always thought of as void of flavor — surprisingly tastes…better. And now, at least I’m drinking it from a bottle I love.
Take 20% off the purchase of any LifeStraw Go Series product at LifeStraw.com with code R29. Cannot be combined with other offers.