These people live without money

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live without money? To not worry about your bank account balance, your retirement fund, or your mortgage payments? Here’s a look at a handful of people who’ve managed to do just that—live without money in our modern world.

Mark Boyle

In 2008, on Buy Nothing Day, Irish economics graduate and former businessman Mark Boyle gave up money—completely. He sold his house, began trading work for accommodation, made a stove from cans, built a solar shower, planted a garden, and dug a compost toilet. His motivation? Dissatisfaction with modern life and the health of the planet.

After his experience of living cash-free, Boyle went on to become a writer—writing with pencil and paper by candlelight, no less. He wrote a series of articles for The Guardian, earning him the nickname the Moneyless Man, followed by his first book, The Moneyless Man, which recounts his first year without money. Somewhat ironically, Boyle used the money he earned from his book sales to buy a small patch of land on which he built a cabin, where he lives without a car, running water, electricity, or modern technology. Instead, he rides a bike, chops wood, hauls water, forages in the woods, tends his garden, and fishes for pike and trout. Boyle recently released his third book, The Way Home: Tales from a Life Without Technology, which reflects on his minimalist lifestyle.

Daniel Suelo

In the fall of 2000, Daniel Suelo, on the cusp of turning 40, took his last $30, left it in a phone booth, and stopped using money—for good. Suelo quit his job in Denver, Colorado, and moved to Moab, Utah, where he lives in caves and forages for food, from mulberries and wild onions to roadkill and dumpster discards. His goal? “To stay free from the illusion of money.”

Suelo’s inspiration for going moneyless came from a chance encounter with the Dalai Lama in India, who “recommended that everybody go back to where they were planted, instead of trying to find greener grass on the other side of the fence.” Suelo took his advice, returned to America, and moved into the wild. Although he occasionally accepts lodging from strangers and house-sits, he doesn’t take welfare, food stamps, or any kind of government assistance.

Heidemarie Schwermer

After a career as a teacher and then a psychotherapist, mother of two, and grandmother of three, German Heidemarie Schwermer gave up her job to live without money. Schwermer had long been fascinated by the idea of living without money, and first founded an exchange circle, Give and Take Central, in 1994, helping people exchange goods and services. The more she bartered, the less money she needed, which prompted her to try living without money for one year.

n 1996, a 50-something Schwermer sold her apartment and everything in it except what she could fit in a small suitcase. What began as a one-year experiment lasted nearly two decades. Once she got a taste of a new way of living, she didn’t want to go back to her old life. She gave away her pension and relied instead on what she found and what people gave her. She would move from place to place, giving lectures. The only payment she would accept from her speaking engagements, however, was enough to cover her train fare. The documentary Living Without Money tells the story of her life without money.

Jo Nemeth

Australian Jo Nemeth lived a normal life as a community development program coordinator with a family, but she felt frustrated with the fact that she had to drive all the time and didn’t have time to grow her own food. She was stressed and unhappy, just working to pay the bills. That is, until January 2015, when she decided to stop using money.

After reading Changing Gears by Greg Foyster about a couple who travels Australia by bike and Mark Boyle’s The Moneyless Manifesto, Nemeth took the plunge and started living without money. Although she and her partner went their separate ways, Nemeth began her journey, living on friends’ land, house-sitting, and receiving donations of second-hand clothes and other items. She also grows much of her own food and reuses items. Her golden rule? Not to use anything that was bought specifically for her personal benefit, thereby reducing her environmental footprint.

Amanda Barker

In July 2017, Amanda Barker began living without money. As a vegan and an animal rights activist, Barker is part of a close-knit community that helps her live currency-free. To maintain her minimalist lifestyle, she combines hitchhiking, dumpster diving, couch surfing, camping, and cutting her own hair. She gave up makeup, coffee, alcohol, and other items that require money. Barker got inspired by the book The Man Who Quit Money, which tells the story of Daniel Suelo. Her goal is to show that there’s an alternative way to live.

Lasqueti Island

For the roughly 400 residents on the small island of Lasqueti off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, going off-grid isn’t just a dream—it’s a reality. Not connected to the provincial power grid, residents create their own energy from solar, wind, or hydro, or simply go without. People spend their days working hard to survive by chopping firewood, tending their gardens, and maintaining the water and waste systems, like composting toilets.

On Lasqueti Island there’s no grocery store, no paved roads, and no sanitation services such as garbage collection or a sewage system. But there’s a free store where residents can take what they need, a recycling centre, an elementary school that runs on solar power (pictured), volunteer firefighters, organic farms, a few Bed and Breakfast, and a restaurant that also serves as a bakery and general store. While the island isn’t completely cash-free, there isn’t a lot of money exchanging hands.

Elf Pavlik

Elf Pavlik decided to live money-free when he returned to Europe after working in California at a highly competitive internet company. Elf quickly had enough of that lifestyle and turned to working on organic farms (WWOOF), after which he decided to give up money for good. He also recycled his passport, driver’s licence, and state ID. Now he travels around, focusing on how to use technology to develop a more decentralized way of allocating assets so that people can “use their time on what they find meaningful, not just what produces money.”

Raphael Fellmer

In 2010, Raphael Fellmer travelled with two friends from the Netherlands to Mexico without money via Europe, Morocco, and the Canary Islands, where they found a sail boat which took them to Brazil. Riding on the success of this experiment, Fellmer decided to continue living without money with his wife. Along the way, he became a vegan for animal welfare, world hunger, and environmental reasons.  

After 15 months of travelling, Fellmer and his wife returned home to have a baby. Back in Europe, he continued his “money strike” to raise awareness of how wasteful society can be. He went on to help develop, a foodsaving website that connects supermarkets, bakeries, restaurants and other businesses with foodsavers who regularly collect and share unsold food. The five-year experiment of living without money ended with the birth of his second child. In 2014, his book Happy Without Money was published. Fellmer went on to found Germany’s first SIRPLUS food outlet to save and redistribute good food that would otherwise go to waste.

An Teach Saor

In 2013, Mark Boyle, the Moneyless Man, along with friends Thomas Smith and Jesse Pasteiner, founded An Teach Saor (Irish for “The Free House”), a moneyless community in County Galway, Ireland. The trio turned a neglected three-acre plot into a permaculture demonstration site with 700 coppice trees, a nut orchard, a young forest garden, a no-dig vegetable plot, natural beehives, mushroom logs, rainwater harvesting, humanure compost systems, a stone cottage, and more. They run it collaboratively with visitors, neighbours, and WWOOFers. In 2014, the centre crowdfunded to retrofit a large dilapidated pig barn into an event space, eco-learning centre, and moneyless pub featuring home brew.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe without commenting