This is a tale that seems dreamt up, and yet is very real. Try to wrap your heads around this one. What if you were very rich, managing a large company, with all you could ask for in life, even including your very own yacht?
Now, what if you gave all that up to live with absolutely no money what-so-ever?
This may sound like a holiwood script but is actually true. The man in question is Irish man Mark Boyle.
Talking to Mark, he'd be the first to tell you that only seven years ago, he would have never dreamed of living without money. He had business and economic degrees and was dreaming, like most people, of finding a good job that would guarantee him a "good" life. He worked hard and was soon the manager of a large organic food company, made tons of money and had his very own yacht.
The change in his life came not by some huge event, but by a process of thought that started when he rented a video about Ghandi. There was a quote that really got to him: "Be the change you want to see in the world."
He began thinking about that quote, pondering it. How was he the change he wanted to see in the world. Over time, he started about how the change he'd like to see in the world is to see consumerism going down, while self sufficiency goes up.
Consumers, says Mark, are not aware any more of how their goods are produced. There is too much of a distance between the consumer and the actual production. A huge waste is made that way, with people throwing out products that are a little damaged in favor of new products, creating a huge waste of materials.
That's when he decided to start living a more self sufficient life. Foraging wild food, growing food, bartering and using waste grub. He cooked outside, day or night, on a rocket stove.
He got a caravan from Freecycle, parked it on at an organic farm he was volunteering at, but did not connect it to the electrical grid. He kept warming burning wood. He bathed in a river, and used washed up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds as toothpaste. He used old newspapers as toilet paper, and got around on a bike. At night, he would use beeswax candles for light.
When asked, Mark says he is not anti-capitalistic. He would rather define himself as pro-nature, pro-community and pro-happiness. He says that the past year, living as he has, was the happiest year of his life. He made many friends, he hasn't been feeling ill since he began, never been fitter and has very few worries to attack him day and night.
But when asked if everyone should live like this, Mark wisely admits it is not possible. With current global infrastructure being what it is, we still need people to do their jobs. But, he maintains, a slow transformation that slowly removes modern pressure and consumerism from our lives while slowly adapting ourselves to more self sufficient living is important, and he predicts it will begin to happen with more and more people as the years roll by.