Mark Boyle: The Moneyless Man

Living completely without money is something very few people ever consider. However, Mark Boyle has been living without money since 2008 and living without modern technology since 2016. Inspired by the film Ghandi, about the life of Mohandas Gandhi, Boyle set out on a 2½-year trek from his home Bristol, UK, to the birthplace of Ghandi in Porbandar, India. He carried no money and only a small number of possessions. A month into the trip, he was forced to turn back because of language barriers and difficulties in persuading people to allow him to work for food and a place to stay. Believing it was best to let fate take its course, Boyle decided to embark on an experiment to live entirely without money. In 2008, he began his first year of “moneyless living.” He managed to obtain a camper from the website Freecycle and parked it on an organic farm where he volunteered. He heated the camper with scavenged wood and burned it in a woodburner made from and old gas bottle. He had a compost toilet to make “humanure” for his veggies, and he bathed in a river. Lighting was made possible through the use of beeswax candles, and for toothpaste he used washed-up cuttlefish bone with wild fennel seeds. Boyle said that his time living off the grid and penniless has been the most fulfilling time of his life. He’s made more friends than he ever imagined, hasn’t been sick since he began his journey, and discovered that friendship, not money, is real security. Boyle says he’s often asked if he misses his old life. “Stress? Traffic jams? Bank statements? Utility bills? No chance! Then again, there’s the odd beer at the bar with my friends…..”