by Chad Campbell, senior producer
Sometimes when my kids cajole, beg, plead, whine, cry and shame me into buying the latest plastic toy, hermetically sealed in plastic packaging then placed into a plastic shopping bag, I long to join Mark Boyle in his caravan (Irish for “RV” or “camper”) parked on the organic farm near the river. He studied economics in university, became a good little capitalist like the rest of us, until he had an epiphany. And unlike the rest of us, he was able to actually change his life. Boyle decided to give up his life of convenience for a year, get back to a simpler life of finding and growing his own food, of doing everything for himself — and doing it all without money. No cash, no checks, no credit cards. He wrote a book about his experience called The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living. Boyle enjoyed his new life so much — including the unbelievable idea of a cashless Christmas — that he didn’t stop after that year, he’s still doing it himself and encouraging others to join the “freeconomy.” He also donated to charity all the proceeds from the publication of his book. He finds or chops his own wood to heat his camper and to run his wood-fired shower. He makes his own paper and ink from wild mushrooms. He makes his own soap from the soapweed that he grows. He brushes his teeth with the mixture of ground up cuttle fish bones and wild fennel seeds that he finds. Boyle’s time is at more of a premium now. For instance when he comes home on a cold night to a cold camper with no central heat, it takes 30 minutes to get the fire going. But he says he still has a social life, hosting his friends for homemade cider and beer. And Boyle says he feels fitter and healthier than ever.
You can read Mark Boyle’s blog and learn how to join your local freeconomy by clicking here.