The Moneyless Man
with new-found freedom?
Could you live without money? I just read about this guy, Mark Boyle, who’s been living basically as a happy homeless person in the hills of Ireland for the past 7 years or so. He has an old caravan that he parks near the organic farm where he is a volunteer. He scavenges and picks wild foods from fields and forest. He has no TV, no running water, no indoor plumbing. He bathes in a nearby river, and uses old newspaper for toileting. A former economist, he discovered Ghandi and soon gave it up. Now he has two books: one about his experiences, and the other, “The Moneyless Manifesto,” which outlines how to live a life free of money. Apparently all of his talks are free, though they sell his books at each one and he does accept donations to cover costs and expenses.
At first blush I want to join him. Live free, like we were supposed to. Live like the Hippies did in France in the 60’s; all together in a cave, scavenging and picking wild food to eat. Like Buddhist monks living in a temple, growing enough to eat and no more. A stark life, and one that I should think is pretty cold in many places. It could be wet, or hot, or snowing, and I’d be exposed to it all. I’d live without medicines, except for wild ones. I shouldn’t need antidepressants if I lived like this. No bills to pay, no income taxes, no stress. Except the stress of finding enough to eat for a day.
I just can’t imagine. I’d be bummed living in a place where you needed to use an outhouse, let alone an unheated old Silverstream. Fixing my own home-made from scraps solar heater. My books on organic gardening and plant identification lined up on a 1×12 plain plank shelf held up by two cinder blocks. My depression gone without all the stress in my life. No work, no money, no stress, no worries.
I couldn’t do it. I’m too comfortable with living indoors, with some form of heat, and reliable means of cooking, electricity and running water. I could not live without some money. I think I could live with very little, and I think that is the way my life is heading. Finding a small cottage on Orcas Island with our own garden and green house. Raising chickens, selling eggs and vegetables at the local open-air market.
I’m already boycotting Wal-Mart and Target, avoiding things not made locally, and Christmas in general this year. We have always done things simply, so it’s easy to make the transition to less commercialism. The only thing I want for Christmas is a gift card for I-tunes. I don’t even want to put up decorations. I am ready to sell all my lights and decorations. If not for Grandson we wouldn’t even put up a tree. We have not bought him anything that needs batteries, or a charger, or is connected to a screen of any kind. His big gift will be a new bed if we can find one we can afford.
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of living away from people. Living small, with no close neighbors, no studio in Seattle. Living off our little plot of land, just the two of us, like we had planned from the beginning. I do want people in my life. Live people. But we would have the other townspeople. The tourists, and other farmers. It would be a small circle, but I wouldn’t mind that. I think it would be harder to live frugally in the city.
I’ve always said, I could live without money. It’s the fact that there are so many people and entities that want my money. It would mean we would have to do our own repairs, but we’ve never been able to pay the man to come to the house, it’s nothing new. But getting older, standing on ladders, and wrestling with wheel barrows seems a bit daunting. Then again, if it’s something we’d always imagined doing. I could even do comedy, performing at the open air market, the local bookstore, the only bar. Now would our lives be stress-less enough to give up my antidepressants, and husband his high blood pressure pills? Would it be possible?
Somehow it doesn’t seem all that easy to live without (much) money.