Our mantra at Mizu goes like this: Enjoy the journey. Leave nothing behind. We believe in adventure, exploration, and taking our fill of all the fun our planet's playgrounds have to offer. We also believe we can carpe diem like the best of them without leaving a trace.
Lifestyle and action sports photographer Chris Lehnert rolls the same way. His recent Mizu Mission took him from Düsseldorf, Germany to the beautiful Algarve coast in Portugal. Check out his inspiration, his journey, and catch a few virtual waves with Chris as he gives us a visual glimpse into his travels. And rest assured, he left nothing behind but good vibes.
Q: Who are you?
A: Chris - My name is Chris Lehnert and I'm a part-time professional photographer from Germany close to Düsseldorf.
I specialize in action sports as well as lifestyle photography.
Q: Where did this Mizu Mission take you?
A: Chris - My Mission took me to the beautiful Algarve Coast in Portugal.
Q: Had you been before or is this a first-time excursion?
A: Chris - Actually this is my fifth, I spent around a week there to catch the sun, a few waves, and to recharge my batteries.
Q: Why did you choose this location?
A: Chris - This place is only three flight hours away, cheap for living, almost always sunny, warm and the beautiful vibe feels like home.
Q: What’s a must-see and/or do in Portugal?
A: Chris - Grab a few drinks with your friends and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets on one of the huge cliffs at Arrifana and there’s a Pizza Party every Friday in Tojero which is wild.
Q: What was so special about this Mission? Tell us a little about the purpose of this Mission/why you did it/who you did it with/etc.
A: Chris - Once a year I try to travel alone for a week at least just to get out, slow down, and have time for myself. During the time, I look at my goals I have set at the beginning of the year and check if everything is going in the right direction, read books, meet new people or take my camera and just take a few pictures to remember. It just feels good to be completely on your own in a foreign country, no appointments, no commitments and just having time for yourself. This time my brother came with me also with the aim to escape everyday life and the week could not have been better.
Q: Tell us about one or two memorable experiences/highlights of this Mission.
A: Chris - During the week we spent a day surfing in Luz in the south of Portugal. Normally there are no waves at all but the swell came in very well and so we spent several hours in the water. The best thing about this trip was that a group of dolphins swam by very close to us, that was pretty amazing.
Q: What are the guiding principles and beliefs that you live by?
A: Chris - On my surfboard is written the famous quote from Steve Jobs "stay hungry, stay foolish". I can identify with this very well and I always try to be curious to see new things and never stop learning. I think that fits also very well with the quote: enjoy the journey, leave nothing behind.
Q: What inspires you to get outdoors and see the world?
A: Chris - I have always been a curious person but especially as a photographer I want to see the beautiful places of the world with my own eyes and make the experiences by myself. It’s the same thing with taking photos for me and my friends to give them a special memory and to make them happy.
Q: What advice can you give to those who want to travel but can’t seem to pull the trigger?
A: Chris - Each and every one of us has so much potential that should be used to go out, see the world, experience things and make beautiful memories. In the end, none of us wants to say that he regrets something and therefore use your time and try to live the best life.
Q: Your work takes you to many other exciting places – do you have a personal favorite destination and why?
A: Chris - The most exciting place that I visited was Iceland for sure. Because of the fact that it’s a volcano island and there’s a low population it’s just so different compared to all the other destinations that I’ve visited. Almost every place looks so untouched and wild- I always had the feeling I had to stop every 15 minutes to get out of the car to take a photo because it's so beautiful.
Q: Being an advocate for reducing single-use plastics is important to you. Was there a certain instance you recall that really opened your eyes to the importance of reusing whenever possible?
A: Chris - There were several moments that made me go away from plastic to reusable bottles as well as plastic boxes. Not only because of the massive pollution of the seas, oceans and countries but also because of my health risk due to microplastics whenever I drink from plastic bottles or eat out of plastic boxes. There are so many documentaries and studies that prove it, and if you keep an eye on packaging afterward then you can only shake your head because there is so much plastic used where it's not needed. Another fact is that for example in many regions of Portugal it is actually healthier to drink from the faucet than from bottled water. It's so easy to just use a reusable bottle and do something good for yourself and for the environment.
Q: Do you often see a lot of trash on your travels? If a memorable experience stands out, please share.
A: Chris - One of the worst experiences with trash was the visit to Thailand.
When we drove through the streets with the scooter and you could always see big fires on both sides of the street where the garbage was burned because there is no regulated system where the garbage is properly disposed of and therefore the people throw the garbage just on the street. That's just so sad to see.
Q: Reusing can be hard while on the go. Do you have any tips to help make going reusable a little bit easier while on the road?
A: Chris - Bring your own reusables, plan meals and cook to reduce food waste, fill up water to avoid buying bottles, shop local, leave campsites and picnic areas better than you found them and always talk to the locals if they have any secret tips for you.
Q: What was your favorite Mizu product on this Mission?
A: Chris - My favorite product in this mission was the M15 because hydration is important especially after an exhausting surf session.
Q: What does “enjoy the journey, leave nothing behind” mean to you?
A: Chris - Just to make the most of your time you have. Always remain ambitious and full of energy and on top of that never shut up for crazy ideas or new things. You should always maintain a fundamental belief that it will work and nothing will hold you back.
Q: Do you have advice for others to inspire them to continue their own mission in reducing single-use plastics?
A: Chris - Open your eyes and learn how to use less plastic. It's easier than it sounds. We only have one world so do your part.
Show Chris some love and give him a follow here: https://www.instagram.com/chrislehnert/
Check out his website here: https://chrislehnert.de