elven glare

Whether it works or not, this is a great experiment: (UK)

Mark Boyle, 29, plans to put his potatoes where his mouth is and become the ultimate 'freeconomist' by ditching cash for 12 months.

He intends to live completely off the land and waste products he scrounges around his borrowed caravan at Timsbury, near Bath. 

And he'll even use his very own composting toilet for good measure.

"I've been preparing a lot over the last couple of months, but the challenge will be the things I can't plan for - a broken arm, exhaustion or the worst case scenario, a family bereavement," he said.

"I suspect the most difficult thing will be socialising in a world that revolves around money. I'll be living on a day-to-day basis, hand to mouth, which means I'll never really know where my next meal comes from."

Mark plans to scour skips and other people's rubbish to find what he needs. He'll also make use of a scheme called Freecycle, a network of recycling enthusiasts; and Freeconomy which allows people to swap skills.

A friend, he says, will pay his National Insurance for the 12 months.

"Any skills you need you can get through Freeconomy and with other 'pay-it-forward' based organisations such as Liftshare and Couch-surfing now flourishing, the simple life doesn't have to be so difficult anymore," he said.

And with the credit crunch biting Mark, from Bristol, believes there's never been a better time to seek out the good life.

"It is the disconnection we have with what we consume that is the primary cause of the wasteful culture we live in today," he explained.

"If we all had to grow our own food again we wouldn't waste one third of it. We've absolutely no respect or real appreciation for the energy that goes into the things we consume and buy today, so we think nothing of throwing them away."

Mark will be hoping this 'freebie' experiment goes a bit better than his last cashless odyssey.

In February he set off to visit Gandhi's birthplace on India's west coast, aiming to get there without spending a penny.

But he only managed to get to Calais - about 300 miles - before cold and the language barrier forced him to hang up his boots. He then had to use money to pay for his trip back to Britain.

At the time he told Sky News: "Not only did no one speak the language, they also see us as just a bunch of freeloading backpackers, which is the complete opposite of what the pilgrimage is really about.

"The advice was to make a bee line for Belgium as folk said they would be more likely to want to speak some English.

"The only trouble was the first decent-sized town in Belgium was 170km away, and all we had was three tins of soup, a bag of trail mix and a chocolate bar to sustain us."

Mr Boyle begins his money-less mission tomorrow (Sat) - on the rather aptly named Buy Nothing Day.

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(no subject)

I'm in college.  I've dropped out three times and still have a full scholarship.  I'm thinking about a forth.  I'm a gay, vegetarian, anarcho-pacifist.  neo-pagan, too.  I could put myself into more boxes if you'd like.

I'd like to go off the grid.  I don't want to pay taxes.  I don't want to shop at wal mart.  I've had enough of bombs and sweatshops and industrial agriculture.  there are so many days where I feel like if I were to really listen to my conscience that I'd just get up and leave, hitchhike somewhere, stop using money.  I don't know how to do much.  I write a mean research paper, which is not exactly the sort of skill I need for this.  does anybody know of someone or somewhere I could go to?  I'd love to be a gypsy for a while - or settle down with some cool people and learn permaculture and some skilled trade things like carpentry or something.  renaissance fair nerds are cool too - I'm all about learning how to make my own clothes, instruments, and stuff like that.  I know I can't be the only one out there who feels this way.  the only reason I'm not already out on the road is because I'm afraid of doing it alone, and not knowing where to go.

what's up, folks?  anybody hear me?  anybody already doing this?