Saturday, August 6, 2011

Day 271: Livin' Free

After suffering through a frustrating bout of withdrawing money, I sought to find a cafe for me to write and banish my morning hunger pangs. I was fortunate to stumble upon Le Pain Quotidien. Enveloped in their cozy French interior, my taste buds gushed as they hobnobbed with scrambled eggs, toast, and an almond croissant. You may have guessed from their name that delish bread is their specialty, but breakfast wasn't the most beautiful part of my day.

My favorite part of the day was the same reason I didn't write my blog this morning. Over the past week or two I've become increasingly curious in living without money. Yesterday I discovered Daniel Suelo's Free Life Blog, blog about a guy living in the Moab desert who doesn't use money at all. Thanks to a new sustainability blog I've began reading I also found an 'Adventurous Life Zine' which is a PDF guide that covers a handful of strategies that inform someone who is fascinated in living without money. Topics range from dumpster diving tips to composting toilets, and travel to health.

Daniel lives for free in a cave!

While reading this I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I felt ridiculous as I imagined myself doing these things and living happily. Until recently I hadn't thought too much about the free lifestyle. I knew people live in abandoned buildings and eat dumpster buffet but I always thought it was only bums or lazy people. Now I realize that this is not the case. I will let the intro of the zine speak for itself:

"This zine is not about being a cheapskate, being frugal, living in poverty, or scamming people to get stuff for free. It's about letting go of the belief that money is essential to get anywhere, and being open to the abundance of nature. It's about sharing everything you have, and allowing yourself and others to reach their full potential."

Through various experiences on my trip I've realized that none of my favorite experiences have come from money (one could argue this trip wouldn't have been possible otherwise, but this is a separate discussion). I've ranted and raved about hitch hiking and CouchSurfing, both of which are free, and laughing with friends and connecting with people is free too. Often times money is a way of buying myself out of an experience. Money is quick and easy, but never fun. I remember worrying about my budget severely when I was in Italy and cursing at Western Union on multiple occasions. When money is taken out of the picture people come together to help each other through clothes swap parties, shared meals, or community gardens. Everyone is on the same level. Cool.

Mom and dad, don't worry. I'm not going to go live in a dumpster (at least not yet), but I am pleasantly curious about this lifestyle. From my frustrating experience withdrawing money this morning to the €11.45 bill for breakfast, living without money is becoming more and more appealing. Accepting new lifestyles over toast – that's a beautiful thing.

What was the most beautiful thing that happened to you today?

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