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The Moneyless Man
For most of us it seems that money makes the world go round. However, not for Mark Boyle who has turned his life into a radical experiment.
Mark Boyle was born in 1979 in Ireland and moved to Great Britain after getting a degree in Business. He set up his own business in Bristol. For six years Mark Boyle managed two organic food companies which made him a good profit.
However, in 2008, he decided to give up earning money. He vowed to live without cash, credit cards, or any other form of finance.
Mark Boyle began to realise that many of the world’s problems are just symptoms of a deeper problem. He thought that money gave people the illusion of independence.
Mark sold his house and started preparing himself for his new life. He posted an advert on a website asking for a tent, a caravan (a vehicle for living or travelling) or any other type of a house. Soon an old lady gave him a caravan for free. At least he then had a roof over his head!
After that, with his pockets empty, Mark was ready to go. He didn’t even carry keys as he decided to trust the world a bit more and not lock his caravan. On November 28th (International Buy Nothing Day 2008), he became the Moneyless Man for one whole year.
Everything was different from then on. Mark lived in his caravan on an organic farm where he worked as a volunteer three days a week. In return he got a piece of land to live on and grow his own vegetables. His food was cooked on a stove, and he washed in a shower made from a plastic bag hanging from a tree, and warmed by the sun.
Even breakfast was different. With no morning coffee to brew, Mark had to find an alternative drink to start the day with. So he drank herbal teas, sometimes with some fresh lemon verbena that he could find near the caravan. “It’s all very good for you: iron, calcium, anti-oxidants,” Mark said.
Food was the first thing to consider. Mark discovered that there were four ways to find it: looking for wild food, growing his own food, bartering (exchanging his grown food for something else), and using loads of waste food from shops.
Public interest in his project was divided. While a huge number of people supported him, there was criticism of him, particularly on Internet forums.
“People are either very positive about what I’m doing or very negative; I think it’s about 70 per cent/30 per cent. It’s funny, if you don’t have a massive plasma TV these days, people think you are an extremist,” Mark said.
People tend to ask Mark what he learnt from a year of a moneyless life. “What have I learned? That friendship, not money, is real security,” he answers.
Mark’s remarkable journey is described in his new book “The Moneyless Man”, which shows in a detailed way the challenges he faced on the road to his new world.