A couple of weeks ago (Mother's day), I sat browsing through a book in the straw bale cafe and came across a whole list of things that sounded interesting and which I jotted down information about on a little scrap of paper rustled up from the darkest corner of the bottom of my bag. I'm always doing that these days. Things look as if they inspire so I write down just a fragment of info and then store it away until I return home and the next available opportunity to look it up on the good old WWW.
Anyone else like that?
Anyway, on this occasion one of my little snippets of inspiration was a brief reading about a chap that lived for a whole year without any money. I know you probably all think I'm crazy but the idea of having no money is far more appealing to me than having endless amounts. I'm guessing you really are thinking I've lost the plot now....(if you hadn't already thought that!).
So I got home and was rather excited about finding out more.
In 2008, Mark Boyle an Irish business man currently living in Bristol, decided to try his luck at living for a year without spending any money. He foraged for his food and became a dab hand at 'skipping' for food thrown out by shops but still in perfectly good and edible condition. He also worked three days a week on an organic farm in exchange for further food plus land on which to live in his caravan which he obtained for free from his local Freegle website.
After initially reading about this chap I wanted to have him come give a talk locally, however he seems pretty busy and didn't seem overly keen on taking a trip to Oxfordshire anytime soon. I decided I would just have to buy a copy of his book and find out more about what possessed him to carry out such a challenge and how his year went.
Upon reading the first page it was obvious why he perhaps isn't so enthusiastic about visiting every individual who is interested in his story. For the past seven years he has been inundated with requests to give interviews, talks etc etc....he has to move on and live his own life......
So I purchased a copy of the 'Moneyless man'. From the moment I retrieved it from the dogs jaws after she beat me to the letter box, I have been hooked on the chaps story. It wasn't just the whole living without money thing that grabbed my attention it was more about the love and joy that seemed to evolve when no money was involved. Mark could work but couldn't accept a penny (his rules), what a joy to be able to help someone and not expect anything in return.
It occurred to me that this is just NOT how the world works these days. The vast majority of us don't like to do things unless we get something in return.
To me this is rather funny. Many years ago Saturday nights used to be all about the National Lottery and what we would do with our winnings. I craved that life 'when money will make us happy'. Of course it didn't take long for me to realise that the odds are seriously stacked against your winning and besides what would you do with the money anyway? These days, winning the Lotto would be my worst nightmare, I don't do it!
During my recent clear out, I've dug out oodles of 'things' that I could potentially 'sell'. I've chosen not to and have instead given the items away to folk who could make better use of them. What's more, I don't have any feels of regret about doing so. I've actually gained pleasure from the experience.
The same has happened recently with my shoe selling. Much as I need to make a living from the sale of the shoes I purchased back in January last year, I'm not against sharing the savings with others in the form of accepting offers. One lady in Russia was deeply upset about the depreciation of her national currency due to the political situation. It made me feel really good to be able to ask her how much she could afford to pay for the shoes including the postage. She actually paid more than I expected and was thrilled by my generosity. It feels good to be able to help others.
The Moneyless Man set up all kinds of skill sharing and free swapping type arrangements during his year and makes many suggestions about getting by with no money. I'm pretty frugal anyway and not really interested in 'keeping up with the Jones' so much of it was reinforcement of things I am already aware of. For me it offered a new kind of inspiration that I haven't quite put my finger on. I think it's probably more to do with the possibilities relating to being liberated from systems....oh hang on, when did I ever conform to systems anyway??!!
Do look up the 'Moneyless Man' and Mark's second book 'Moneyless Manifesto'....it's free to borrow from the library or to down load HERE, or you could buy it and all the proceeds go towards helping set up further moneyless ventures :-)
Right, need to find something else to inspire now...............
(finds self looking up caravans on Ebay and thinking about solar panels....)