Thursday, 30 June 2016

Interviewed By Maaike Wijnstra (Dutchies)

Link to the original full interview text (in Dutch).

Name: Liselotte Roosen
Age: 34
Living in: Trondheim, Norway
Since: 28 September 2014

Personal life

How did you end up in Norway?
At the beginning of 2014 I lost my job as a psychologist due to pneumonia (caused by burnout) and I decided it was time for something new; I didn't want to work as a psychologist anymore. In August 2014 I got two job offers at once: one as a teacher of psychology at a women's university in Riyadh and the other as a PhD candidate in environmental psychology (climate change and art) at Trondheim's university in Norway. After much deliberation (it was a difficult decision), eventually I opted for Norway, because I was hoping that having a PhD would lead to even more job opportunities in the future.

Why did you decide to move to Norway? (and what was the deciding factor)
I knew for a fact that I didn't want to stay in The Netherlands... ever. The Netherlands lacks space, nature and mountains. I never really felt at home there. There are too many people, too much red tape (due to the multitude of rules and regulations) and there is too much pollution. The weather in the Netherlands is also not that great, although Norway is not much better in that respect. The winters here are very long, cold and dark. This was the main reason I was not sure about the move at first. But eventually I decided to go, mainly because temporary nature of the job, which can also result in a PhD. The contract was for three years. This suits me quite well because I like change (and after this I can always decide to go to Riyadh if I would really want to). So I went mainly for the job and not so much for the country, even though almost everything here is better than in the Netherlands, but that is true for almost every other country in my view.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of Norway compared to The Netherlands?
The advantages are that there is plenty of space due to the low population density, the mountains and the (relatively clean and abundant) nature. The disadvantages are the long, cold, dark winters, but that is not just compared to the Netherlands, but compared to all the countries I lived in. Also I find it relatively difficult to make friends here and to find like-minded people. That is tough, because now more than ever I feel a strong need to connect with others who have similar views, although the blog helps a bit in that respect.

Do you feel like there is more understanding for your lifestyle in Norway than in the Netherlands?
Not necessarily... although it is difficult to compare because I mostly got serious with moneyless living after I moved to Norway. However, it does seem to me that people in the Netherlands are generally more aware of environmental issues than the people here. Maybe that's because there is so little nature left in the Netherlands (less than 12%) and therefore people might feel more inclined to protect what is left and to get environmentally engaged. Of course it also helps if you have traveled somewhat to other places. Otherwise you may not realize that anything is missing.

Life without money

How did you come across the no-money lifestyle?
I came up with the idea after I had started dumpster diving almost daily, before I came to Norway. I liked it so much that I kept going after I moved here and got a little bit obsessed with it, because I saw so much good food being thrown away daily. Next I started to apply the idea of 'living on leftovers' to more and more aspects of my life. This is how eventually I ended up living 100% moneyless (=without spending anything). It wasn't until I started my blog that I heard about others who were also living the moneyless lifestyle; most notably Daniel Suelo and Mark Boyle. I hope to meet them someday.

How did you get started living moneyless? What are the first practical changes you made?
The first step on my journey was dumpster diving and it was inspired by environmental activist Rob Greenfield. I had been following him for about two years via Facebook and I was very inspired by his lifestyle, because he is always following his passions in everything he does and that makes him free, in contrast to most people, who believe they have to work to make a living and they have to own a home. This idea more or less gets spoon-fed to us from an early age and I think that that (in part) leads many people to give up on their dreams and even forget about them altogether.

When did you decide to take it to the next level and really want to live without money?
At the end of November 2014 I decided to take up the challenge to live entirely without spending money (other than rent), because I saw that it was possible. Shortly after that (at the start of the summer in 2015) I figured I could also try to find free housing, Around August 2015 I found a family who kindly offered me their spare room. I lived there for a few months and after about three months I moved to a farm where I got my own little cabin, with a bathroom and kitchen in the nearby barn.

What are some of the first things you realized you did not really need?
It started with the realization that I did not need to buy anything, because everything that is sold in supermarkets can also be found in the dumpsters. I have found absolutely everything there, including cleaning products and hygiene products. Even (functioning) rechargeable batteries and a charger! But the challenge has also made me question my need for all of these products. It made me ask myself the question whether I could live without, or what I would do if I would somehow run out or no longer have access to certain things. And then it turns out that most of us really don't need so much. For example, I discovered that we don't really need laundry detergent to wash our clothes. Also most hygiene products are completely unnecessary and even harmful for the body and for the environment. And recently I also came to the conclusion that we don't really need the food that is sold in supermarkets, because much more nutritious foods can be found in nature. And of course the process of finding out we don't need as much as we think we do doesn't limit itself to products: for example I also know now that I don't really need a job - and perhaps that is the most liberating discovery of all.

Can you describe what the core of moneyless living is to you?
In the beginning it was mostly about no longer wanting to contribute to the destruction of the earth via the products that I was buying. For example, if I buy a pineapple in Norway, then I know that it had to travel a long way and that I am therefore contributing to the pollution that comes with that.Or if I buy new clothes, then I know that I probably indirectly support the exploitation of workers, perhaps even child labor, and again a lot of pollution. If I buy non-organic produce I am contributing to the extinction of bees, which would mean that many plant species would disappear. I no longer wanted to carry that heavy burden and I also no longer wanted to do so much research every time I wanted to buy something to make sure that it was a sustainable choice. So when I saw that there was a way out of this destructive cycle, because so much food (and other products) gets wasted on a daily basis, I went for it. And of course another great benefit was that I could save 100% of my income to build an eco-home or to start an eco-village in the future.
While I was living moneyless I discovered that there are many more advantages to this lifestyle, which are all the result of developing a new perspective on the world. Money promotes an exchange mentality (a calculated mindset of doing each other favors to get something in return). If you live moneyless then you can slowly let go of that mindset and then you notice how much impact it has on everything you do. That mindset has made its way into almost everything now with most people.

What is your ultimate goal?
For me the goal is total freedom and my mission on a larger scale is bringing awareness to the destruction that we are all contributing to. I hope that I can inspire people to consider making changes in their lifestyle, or at least show them that it is possible to choose another way. Many people consider the status quo as their only option. Before I got started on my journey, I also thought there was no way out. And that is a very depressing and discouraging view of life, especially if you want to give your life meaning and contribute something of value to the earth (instead of just the economy).

You get a lot of questions about how you are living without money, but you are still using facilities that other people pay for. What is your opinion on this?
It is true that I am still using certain facilities that have been paid for by others. For example, I am still using internet and water/electricity, which is paid for by the owners of the farm where I live. In addition I make use of roads and other public structures. However, for me it is irrelevant that these were paid for; it does not make my moneyless life somehow less moneyless. The reason is that when people make this comment, they often mean that they think you are some kind of parasite: leaning on others for support without really contributing anything of your own.
But the purpose of my lifestyle is not to get everything for free and make my life easier. The purpose is also not to do everything by myself without the help of others and be completely independent (although I would probably have the knowledge to survive without anyone’s help for quite a while). The goal and purpose of my lifestyle is to free myself from the structures and constructs that are destructive to the earth – and unfortunately it appears that money is one of those.
If everyone would live the way I do, then of course these comments would not matter anymore, because then everybody would live for free. People would contribute to society because they believe what they are doing to be important, instead of just to make money. Unfortunately my lifestyle is not that common yet that people instantly know what it is like and what it entails. Many people also have wrong assumptions about it and incorrect associations with it.
People often seem to fear that if there would be no money, there would be more people who will no longer contribute to society in any way and therefore take advantage of other people’s hard work. I think this will not be the case. Of course there are always people who will want to lean on others and abuse the system, with or without money. But I think that in a moneyless society this will happen less. That’s because in a world without money, there are a lot more natural (and direct) consequences for inefficient behavior. For example, if your community is in a potential flooding area because it lies below sea level (such as parts of the Netherlands), then it is important for the group to make sure that the dikes and dams remain strong enough. Everyone will be motivated to contribute to this, because it is a common interest and everyone will be equally affected when things go wrong. If everyone would just rely on others to do the work, and there were only a few people left doing everything, then eventually they would get fed up and start a community elsewhere, leaving those lazy people to fend for themselves. It is the same with food: everyone will need to go get their own food and look after the food forests, because that is what sustains you. The links between between actions and consequences are much more straightforward and it is much more likely that there are natural consequences for unhelpful or selfish behavior. It is much fairer that way. In a society that uses money there is also a lot of hidden laziness: people who simply pay others so that they don’t have to do anything constructive, and even people who do have a job, but a job that only causes damage.

At the moment you have a job and you are saving all your money. You want to quit working towards the end of 2017. I am curious:
1. What will you do with the money? Three years of salary is quite a lot of money.
Yes, that is correct :)  I am not sure what I will do yet exactly... Originally I wanted to save up so that I would be able to buy a block of land and start an eco-community, but because of my new lifestyle and new perspectives on life I am not so sure now. If I buy something, then I will be locked into costs again (and once again connected to money) and that is the very thing I wanted to give up and get rid of. So probably I will keep it available as a plan B, but first I will see what life will be like living the nomadic lifestyle, living completely on what nature provides.

2. What will you do with your time?
I would love to take up a nomadic lifestyle for a while, traveling to many different places and learning all about plants along the way (living off the land). For my next project (hopefully starting next year) I am planning to travel from Norway to Spain, either on foot or on horseback. I am already searching for a suitable (free) horse. Horses are given away here on a regular basis, because it is very expensive to keep them. Most of the ones that are given away are retired horses from the sport's industry, or very young and inexperienced horses. I can keep a horse for free at the farm where I live if I find a suitable horse.
I may travel to more countries as well. I would love to complete the silk route one day, also preferably on horseback. It seems like an epic journey! And while traveling I can give (free) workshops and lectures to further spread the word about alternative lifestyles and moneyless living. This is what I would like to devote the rest of my life to: to the well-being of the earth and to promoting and inspiring a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

What is most difficult about your lifestyle at the moment? Are there any issues, concerns or obstacles you've come across?
Strangely enough I can't really think of any difficulties of this lifestyle, other than the growing fear that humanity is destroying too much nature (and will continue to do so), which threatens my way of life and that of many other life forms (including the lives of everyone who is contributing to it)... I think many other beings must be feeling this also. There is less and less undisturbed space and increasingly less room for nature to thrive and flourish. Yet it is nature that gives life to us all. Not the supermarket, not the companies and certainly not the state or government.
But that is the global perspective. Personally I have especially noticed that my life has become a lot simpler and easier and that I am a happier person and feel free. However, I can imagine that if I would get very sick (or if I would already have some serious disease) it could get a little more difficult. Therefore I am learning about natural and herbal medicine and I am trying to look after myself as best as I can. Also, I think that the average lifestyle is much more devastating to health than mine, so even that would not be a reason to give up on my dream. In any case I would do all I can to continue living this way, no matter what happens.

Our discussion on Facebook triggered quite a few reactions when you say you live your life in this way. What are the reactions of the people around you? And in the beginning?
At first most people around me thought I had lost my mind :) but fortunately this changed very quickly. When it turned out that everything I planned to do was possible, my friends and family were very pleasantly surprised and also proud of me that I made it happen (they didn't believe it was possible). On Facebook there are fortunately also a lot of positive responses, but for some people living moneyless is still too big a step. I do empathize with those people on some level, because for me the process was also gradual, so it is understandable when other people (especially if they haven't followed the blog from the beginning) don't always understand how you could do and see things differently than the usual way.

What would you like to offer the world? What changes would you like to manifest?
I would like to see us (humanity) interact with nature in a different way. That we once again consider ourselves to be one with the ecosystem we live in and that we become more aware of the resources we are using. And that once again we start to take responsibility again for the consequences of our choices for example with the kinds of purchases we make and the companies we support. I would like to see humans regain some of their self-sustainability, because that will make the world more sustainable as well. I'd like to see humanity focus more on long-term effects and solutions, instead of clutching onto the usual "throw-away" mentality. That we will once again explore how each of us can add real value to the earth, instead of just in terms of financial contributions. And that the interest of the earth is once again our main concern instead of just self-interest.
I think that moneyless living is a very suitable way to achieve all of these effects, because if you see nature as your most important and primary resource (which of course it is), then you will automatically appreciate it more and be driven to protect it.

For you, living moneyless equals freedom. But isn't it true that many people believe that the exact opposite is true? That they can use money to 'buy' their freedom, so that they can afford doing the things they really want to do or so that they can retire early?
That is true; that is the current trend and belief. And I used to believe this too. But now I see that it is actually a trap; a trap to keep people in the system. Of course there is a lot you can do if you have money, but I can do the same things without money (especially if you value experiences rather than things). And also: what is the price? If I do the things I want to do without spending money, then I don't need to earn money first and so I actually have the time to do those things. With a full-time job and high costs of living you may have money to spend, but you don't have the time anymore to do all the things you may want to do. Then you can only do things that really matter to you in weekends and during holidays. That means your life is suddenly substantially shorter! Now I can do the things that matter to me whenever I want to. Not just at some time in the future when I am retired, but now! I can even dedicate my life to a cause of my choosing.
Also, I can retire right now if I wanted to. I don't have to save up money for years, because money is not a necessity for me anymore. I don't need to stay in a job that doesn't really give me a sense of fulfillment and that doesn't give me the feeling I am contributing anything valuable. Without the need for money, nobody would do those jobs anymore. The world would be a very different place. We wouldn't have to do work that pollutes the earth. Instead we could quit working and dedicate our lives to looking after the planet and do all other things that really matter.

Working hard to eventually retire is not freedom. It is delayed freedom. You never know when it will happen. If the rules change (for example if the state pension age goes up), then it may take longer than expected, and it's not even in your hands. Someone who is free, is not bound by rules. Whatever the rules may be, I can always retire whenever I want.
That is freedom.

You point out that living without money to you means living without stress. How does that work? Because I personally (and I think many others also) feel a lot of stress when I have no money. When I don't know what I will be eating tomorrow and when I have no money to buy anything, then the pressure is very high to find a way to make money. Then it would be really comforting to be able to go to the shop to buy something.
Yes! You hit the nail on the head :) If you don't have any money, it gives you stress because we have not learned to take care of ourselves. This also makes it very stressful if you lose your job (or if the possibility exists). But what if you can just take care of yourself and you know where you can get food? What if you know that you can always rely on nature for your next meal? Then you don't have stress anymore, because you know you are always safe. You can always take care of yourself, also when the government or the system lets you down. And the system lets people down all the time. It happens every day.
If you know how to live without money, then it won't matter if you lose your job. If the supermarkets don't have any food in stock because of some environmental or political crisis, it also doesn't matter. You no longer depend on the supermarket.

Do you still visit the Netherlands sometimes? And how do you travel without money?
I have visited the Netherlands briefly last year to attend a conference (it was a work visit so the university covered the travel costs), but I was glad it was only for a few days. I noticed that the air pollution was bothering me a lot, especially on the first day. I think that happened because I was no longer used to it. When we are exposed to it all the time, we don't notice it so much anymore. This is another danger of what is happening to the earth right now: changes are gradual and so we get used to it and that makes it seem less bad than it actually is.
By the way, after I complete my job next year I will aim to travel solely by bike, (hitch)hiking, or on horseback.


Can you write a short step-by-step guide for the average consumer like me, to save money and to spend less?
1. Dumpster diving is a very good start. This is how I got started as well. (Foraging is an alternative if you don't have dumpsters nearby).
2. After this you can work on finding free alternatives for all your expenses, step by step. Every time you spend money, you can ask yourself: Do I really need this? And if so: How can I fulfill this need without spending money? And then it is a matter of trial and error; experimenting; getting creative.
3. Every alternative you come up with can also be tested for the sustainability factor. If it is not more sustainable than the ordinary way of doing things, then it may not be very valuable. It may not give you that lasting sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. You will see that if you choose to do things that are really good for the earth, they will also be good for you!

Finally, here are some links with more information, with practical tips to get started with the moneyless lifestyle:
More about the Stop-Shopping-Challenge, which started everything
More about Dumpster diving
More about Free Housing
More about the Moneyless Mindset
More about freedom (living free)

(NL) Interview door Maaike Wijnstra (Dutchies)

Hierbij het volledige interview met Maaike Wijnstra, waarvan een samenvatting is gepubliceerd op haar blog.

For the English version, click here.

Naam: Liselotte Roosen
Leeftijd: 34
Woonplaats: Trondheim, Noorwegen
Sinds: 28 September 2014


Hoe ben je terecht gekomen in Noorwegen? Bijvoorbeeld de eerste keer dat je er kwam.
Begin 2014 raakte ik mijn baan als psycholoog kwijt wegens longontsteking door burnout en besloot ik iets nieuws te gaan doen met mijn leven. Ik wilde niet meer als psycholoog aan de slag. In augustus 2014 kreeg ik twee banen tegelijk aangeboden: één als docent psychologie aan de vrouwenuniversiteit van Riyad en de andere als PhD kandidaat environmental psychology (climate change & art) in Trondheim, Noorwegen. Na lang nadenken en afwegen (het was een moeilijke keuze) werd het uiteindelijk Noorwegen, omdat ik hoopte met een PhD daarna ook weer meer kansen te hebben.

Waarom heb je besloten naar Noorwegen te verhuizen? (en wat gaf voor jou de doorslag)
Ik wist sowieso dat ik niet in Nederland wilde blijven. In Nederland mis ik de ruimte, de natuur en de bergen. Er zijn teveel mensen, er is teveel vervuiling en er zijn teveel regels voor alles (red tape). En het weer vind ik ook al niet geweldig, hoewel ik daarvoor ook niet naar Noorwegen had hoeven gaan. De winters zijn hier erg lang, koud en donker. Dus daardoor heb ik nog wel even getwijfeld. Maar ik ging hier vooral naartoe voor de (tijdelijke) baan (een contract van 3 jaar). Tijdelijk past goed bij mij want ik houd van verandering (dus daarna kan ik altijd nog naar Riyad als ik dat echt zou willen). Ik ging dus vooral voor de baan en niet zozeer voor het land, hoewel bijna alles beter is dan in Nederland, maar dat geldt voor bijna elk land in mijn optiek.

Wat vindt je de voor- en nadelen van Noorwegen ten opzichte van Nederland?
De voordelen zijn de ruimte wegens de lage bevolkingsdichtheid, de bergen en de (relatief schone) natuur. De nadelen zijn lange, koude, donkere winters, maar dat is niet alleen in vergelijking met Nederland, maar met alle landen waar ik gewoond heb. Ook vind ik het relatief moeilijk om echt in contact te komen met mensen hier en vriendschappen te sluiten. Ik heb hier ook moeite met het vinden van gelijkgestemden. Dat is wel eens lastig, maar mijn blog helpt hier wel bij.

Heb je het idee dat er daar meer begrip is voor jouw levensstijl dan in NL?
Nee, dat denk ik niet... hoewel ik het moeilijk kan vergelijken omdat ik mijn nieuwe levensstijl (leven zonder geld) pas echt heb doorgezet hier in Noorwegen. Wel lijkt het dat de mensen in Nederland over het algemeen zich meer bewust zijn van milieuproblematiek dan hier. Misschien is dat juist doordat er zo weinig natuur over is in Nederland (minder dan 12%) en mensen het daardoor meer willen beschermen. Uiteraard helpt het ook als mensen gereisd hebben naar andere landen met meer natuur en daardoor weten wat ze missen.

Leven zonder geld

Hoe kwam je in aanraking met de no money leefstijl?
Ik kwam op het idee doordat ik was begonnen met dumpster diving, voordat ik naar Noorwegen kwam. Dat beviel zo goed, dat ik ermee door bleef gaan en behoorlijk fanatiek werd. Vervolgens begon ik het idee van ‘leven van overschotten’ op steeds meer aspecten van mijn leven toe te passen. Zo kwam ik uiteindelijk terecht op 100% zonder uitgaven. Pas toen ik mijn blog gestart had, hoorde ik via lezers van mijn blog over anderen die ook zo leefden: met name Daniel Suelo en Mark Boyle. Ik hoop hen nog ooit te mogen ontmoeten.

Op welke manier ben je er mee begonnen? / Wat zijn de eerste praktische aanpassingen die je hebt gedaan?
De eerste stap was het dumpster diven en die stap was geinspireerd door Rob Greenfield. Ik volgde hem al zo’n twee jaar via Facebook en vond zijn levensstijl heel inspirerend omdat hij in alles zijn passies volgt en daardoor vrij is, in tegenstelling tot de gemiddelde mens die denkt dat hij/zij moet werken voor de kost en een huis moet hebben. Dit idee wordt ons min of meer opgelegd van jongs af aan en ik denk dat dat er (mede) toe leidt dat veel mensen hun echte dromen al snel opgeven en zelfs vergeten.

Wanneer besloot je het naar het volgende niveau te tillen en echt zonder geld te willen leven?
Eind november 2014 besloot ik de uitdaging aan te gaan om volledig zonder uitgaven te leven (met uitzondering van huur), omdat ik zag dat het kon. En kort daarop (begin zomer 2015) bedacht ik dat ik ook kon proberen om gratis woonruimte te vinden. Rond augustus 2015 vond ik een gezin waar ik gratis bij mocht komen wonen. En vanaf 1 october 2015 leefde ik volledig zonder uitgaven. Na 3 maanden verhuisde ik naar een boerderij waar ik mijn eigen cabin heb, met een badkamer en keuken naast de paardenstallen.

Wat zijn de eerste dingen waarvan je je realiseerde dat je die niet nodig had?
Het begon ermee dat ik me realiseerde dat ik dingen niet hoef te kopen. Alles wat te koop is in supermarkten is ook te vinden in de dumpsters. Ook schoonmaakmiddelen en hygieneproducten. Zelfs (werkende) oplaadbare batterijen en opladers heb ik gevonden. Maar de challenge heeft mij ook de vraag doen stellen of ik zonder zou kunnen, of wat ik zou doen als ik zonder zou komen te zitten. En dan blijkt eigenlijk dat we maar heel weinig dingen echt nodig hebben. Zo ontdekte ik dat men wasmiddel niet nodig heeft om was schoon te krijgen. Ook de meeste hygiene producten zijn volledig overbodig en zelfs schadelijk voor het lichaam en het milieu. En recent ben ik tot de conclusie gekomen dat we ook voedsel van de supermarkten niet echt nodig hebben en dat er veel voedzamer eten te vinden is in de vrije natuur. En uiteraard beperkt het zich niet tot produkten: ik weet nu bijvoorbeeld ook dat ik geen baan nodig heb – en dat is misschien wel het meest bevrijdende.

Kun je kort omschrijven wat voor jou de kern is van leven zonder geld?
In het begin ging het mij er vooral om dat ik niet meer wilde bijdragen aan verwoesting van de aarde door mijn aankoopgedrag. Bijvoorbeeld, als ik een ananas koop in Noorwegen, dan weet ik dat deze lang heeft moeten reizen en dat ik dus bijdraag aan de vervuiling die daarmee gepaard gaat. Of als ik kleding koop, dan ondersteun ik daarmee waarschijnlijk lage lonen, uitbuiting van mensen, misschien zelfs kinderarbeid en wederom een hele hoop vervuiling. Als ik niet-biologische produkten koop, dan weet ik dat ik daarmee bijdraag aan het uitsterven van bijen, waardoor een heleboel plantensoorten zullen verdwijnen. Ik wilde dat niet langer op mijn geweten hebben. En omdat ik zag dat er zoveel voedsel (en andere produkten) verspild wordt, zag ik hoe ik eindelijk uit die destructieve cyclus kon stappen. Daarnaast was het ook mooi meegenomen dat ik geld kon sparen om in de toekomst een ecohuis te bouwen of een ecodorp te kunnen starten.
Toen ik eenmaal geldloos leefde merkte ik dat het nog véél meer voordelen had, die allemaal voortkomen uit het ontwikkelen van een nieuwe kijk op de wereld. Geld promoot een voor-wat-hoort-wat mentaliteit. Als je zonder geld leeft (zonder uitgaven) dan kun je daar langzaamaan van loskomen en dan merk je hoeveel impact dat heeft op alles wat je doet. Want die mindset is bij veel mensen in bijna alles doorgedrongen.

Wat is je uiteindelijke doel?
Voor mijzelf is het doel ultieme vrijheid en mijn missie op grotere schaal is het aandacht geven aan de verwoesting waar we allemaal aan bijdragen. Hopelijk kan ik mensen inspireren om veranderingen in levensstijl te overwegen, of hen in elk geval laten zien dat er alternatieven mogelijk zijn. Veel mensen zien het leven zoals het is namelijk als de enige mogelijkheid. Ik dacht dat zelf ook voordat ik aan mijn projecten begon. En dat is heel deprimerend en ontmoedigend, vooral als je iets voor de aarde wil doen en je leven betekenis wil geven.

Je krijgt veel vragen over hoe je leeft zonder geld, maar toch gebruik maakt van faciliteiten waar andere mensen voor betalen. Wat is daarop je visie?
Het klopt dat ik nog steeds gebruik maak van bepaalde faciliteiten die door anderen zijn betaald. Ik gebruik bijvoorbeeld internet en water/electriciteit wat bekostigd wordt door de eigenaren van de boerderij waar ik nu woon. Verder maak ik gebruik van wegen en andere openbare structuren. Voor mij is het echter niet relevant dat hiervoor betaald is; dat maakt mijn geldloze bestaan niet minder geldloos. Mensen bedoelen namelijk vaak dat als je niet betaald en toch gebruikt maakt van dingen waarvoor betaald is, dat je een soort uitbuiter bent; iemand die leunt op anderen.
Het doel van mijn levenswijze is niet om alles voor niets te krijgen en mijn leven gemakkelijk te maken. Het doel is ook niet om alles alleen te doen of volledig onafhankelijk te worden (al zou ik genoeg kennis hebben om zonder hulp van anderen te overleven). Het doel is om los te komen van structuren en constructies die destructief zijn voor de aarde – en helaas is gebleken dat geld één van die dingen is.
Als iedereen zo zou leven als ik, dan zou dit punt er natuurlijk niet toe doen, want dan zou iedereen alles gratis doen. Mensen zouden hun steentje bijdragen aan de gemeenschap omdat ze belang hechten aan bepaalde zaken in plaats van puur om geld te verdienen. Helaas is mijn levensstijl echter nog niet zo algemeen dat mensen direct begrijpen wat het inhoudt. Veel mensen hebben er ook bepaalde (onjuiste) veronderstellingen en associaties bij.
Mensen lijken vaak angstig dat als er geen geld zou zijn, dat er dan veel meer mensen zouden zijn die hun steentje niet meer bijdragen en dus het harde werk van anderen uitbuiten. Ik denk dat dat niet zo is. Natuurlijk zullen er altijd mensen zijn die op anderen leunen en het systeem uitbuiten, met of zonder geld. Maar ik denk dat dat er juist minder zullen zijn als geld geen rol meer speelt. Dan zijn er namelijk veel meer natuurlijke (en directe) consequenties voor ineffectief gedrag. Bijvoorbeeld, als jouw leefgemeenschap in een gebied woont dat kan overstromen omdat het onder de zeespiegel ligt, dan moet je er als groep voor zorgen dat de dijken sterk genoeg blijven. Iedereen is dan gemotiveerd om daar aan bij te dragen, want het is een gemeenschappelijk belang. Als iedereen het aan anderen zou overlaten en er op den duur nog maar een paar mensen overblijven die het werk doen, dan zouden die daar op den duur ook genoeg van krijgen en zich gewoon elders vestigen. Er zijn dus veel eerder natuurlijke consequenties voor onbehulpzaam of egoistisch gedrag. Dat is veel eerlijker. In een samenleving met geld is er ook nog eens veel verborgen luiheid: mensen die simpelweg anderen betalen zodat ze zelf niks constructiefs hoeven te doen.

Momenteel heb je een baan en zet je al je geld opzij. Je wilt stoppen met werken eind 2017. Ben ik nieuwsgierig:
1.    Wat ga je met dat geld doen? Drie jaar salaris is toch een flink bedrag :)

Dat klopt :) Ik weet nog niet precies wat ik ga doen... Oorspronkelijk wilde ik het opsparen om daarna een stuk land te kopen om een eco-community te starten, maar door mijn nieuwe levensstijl en nieuwe inzichten ben ik daar niet meer zo zeker van. Als ik namelijk iets koop, dan zit ik weer vast aan kosten (en aan geld) en daar wilde ik juist van loskomen. Dus waarschijnlijk houd ik het achter de hand als een plan B maar ga ik eerst kijken hoe ik als nomade kan leven, volledig van de natuur.

2.    Wat ga je dan met je tijd doen?
Ik zou heel graag een tijdje als een nomade gaan leven, reizend naar veel verschillende plekken en onderweg leren over (en leven van) eetbare planten. Voor mijn volgende project ben ik van plan om van Noorwegen naar Spanje te reizen, ofwel te voet of te paard. Ik ben momenteel al op zoek naar een geschikt (gratis) paard. Paarden worden hier regelmatig gratis weggegeven, omdat het erg duur is om ze te onderhouden. De meeste paarden die worden weggegeven zijn gepensioneerde paarden uit de sport, of erg jonge en onervaren paarden. Ik heb in elk geval de mogelijkheid om hier een paard te stallen als ik een geschikte vind.
Ik zou ook graag naar andere landen reizen. Het lijkt mij bijvoorbeeld geweldig om een keer de zijderoute te doen. Dat lijkt me een geweldige ervaring! En onderweg kan ik dan gratis workshops en lezingen geven over alternatieve levensstijlen en geldloos leven. Dat is ook waar ik de rest van mijn leven graag aan zou willen wijden: het welzijn van de aarde en aan het promoten van een milieuvriendelijke levensstijl.

Wat is voor jou momenteel het lastigste aan deze levensstijl? Zijn er dingen waar je tegen aan loopt?
Gek genoeg is er niet echt iets wat ik kan bedenken wat lastig is aan deze levensstijl, behalve dan de groeiende angst dat de mensheid teveel natuur verwoest (en blijft verwoesten), wat mijn levensstijl en dat van vele andere levensvormen met mij, in steeds grotere mate bedreigt... zo moeten andere wezens zich denk ik ook voelen. Er blijft steeds minder ruimte over en steeds minder natuur. En het is de natuur die ons allemaal leven verschaft. Niet de supermarkt en niet de bedrijven en zeker al niet de staat/overheid.
Maar wat mij persoonlijk betreft, heb ik vooral gemerkt dat mijn leven zoveel simpeler en makkelijker geworden is en dat ik veel gelukkiger ben en me vrijer voel. Ik kan mij wel voorstellen dat als ik bijvoorbeeld ziek zou worden (of al een ziekte zou hebben) het misschien lastiger zou kunnen zijn. Maar ik verdiep me in elk geval in plantengeneeskunde en probeer zo goed mogelijk voor mijn lichaam te zorgen. Daarbij denk ik dat de doorsnee levensstijl veel slechter voor de gezondheid is dan de mijne, dus ook dat zou denk ik voor mij geen reden zijn om mijn droom op te geven. Ik zal er in elk geval alles aan doen om het voort te kunnen zetten, wat er ook gebeurt.

We zagen al op Facebook dat er best wat reacties loskomen wanneer jij aangeeft op deze manier te leven. Wat zijn de reacties uit je omgeving? En in het begin?
In het begin dachten de meesten dat ik mijn verstand verloren had :) maar dit veranderde gelukkig al snel. Toen bleek dat het allemaal mogelijk was wat ik van plan was, waren mijn vrienden en ouders vooral heel blijverrast en trots dat het gelukt was. Op Facebook zijn er gelukkig ook wel vaak positieve reacties, maar voor sommige mensen is het nog een stap te ver. Dat begrijp ik ergens ook wel, want voor mij is het ook een geleidelijk proces geweest, dus het is logisch als anderen (vooral als ze niet vanaf het begin hebben meegelezen) niet altijd begrijpen hoe je de dingen anders zou kunnen doen en interpreteren dan de gangbare manier.

Wat wil je zelf overdragen?
Ik zou heel graag zien dat wij (de mensheid) op een andere manier met de natuur omgaan. Dat we ons weer één voelen met het ecosysteem waarin we leven en dat we ons meer bewust worden van de resources waar we gebruik van maken. En ook dat we weer meer verantwoordelijkheid gaan nemen voor de gevolgen van ons eigen handelen, bijvoorbeeld door de aankopen die we doen. Ik zou graag zien dat mensen weer meer zelfvoorzienend worden, want dat zou de duurzaamheid op aarde ten goede komen. Ik zou graag zien dat we weer meer gaan denken aan de lange termijn in plaats van de gebruikelijke wegwerp-mindset. Dat we weer meer gaan kijken naar hoe we echt waardevol kunnen bijdragen aan de aarde, in plaats van alleen maar kijken naar financiele contributies. En dat dus het belang van de aarde weer voorop komt te staan in plaats van eigenbelang.
Ik denk dat geldloos leven een heel geschikte weg is om dit allemaal te bereiken. Als je namelijk de natuur weer als belangrijkste en primaire resource ziet (wat het ook is), dan ga je de natuur ook automatisch veel meer waarderen en beschermen.

Voor jou staat leven zonder geld gelijk aan vrijheid. Maar is het niet zo dat er juist veel mensen zijn die dat andersom zien? Dat ze met geld hun vrijheid ‘kopen’, doordat ze zich de dingen kunnen veroorloven die ze graag willen doen of bijvoorbeeld vroeg met pensioen kunnen?
Dat klopt inderdaad, en vroeger dacht ik dit ook. Maar nu zie ik dat het vooral een valkuil is; een truc om mensen aan het werk te houden. Natuurlijk kan je veel dingen doen als je geld hebt, maar ik kan diezelfde dingen ook zonder geld doen (vooral als het gaat om ervaringen). En daarnaast: wat is de prijs? Als ik diezelfde dingen zonder geld doe, dan hoef ik niet eerst te werken om geld te verdienen om het te kunnen bekostigen en dan heb ik dus ook de tijd om deze dingen daadwerkelijk uit te voeren. Met een full-time baan en hoge vaste lasten heb ik er misschien geld voor, maar geen tijd meer om alles te doen wat ik zou willen doen. Dan kun je alleen de dingen doen die je echt wilt in weekends en vakanties. Dat betekent dus dat je leven ineens een stuk korter wordt. Nu kan ik de dingen die ik belangrijk vind doen wanneer ik maar wil. Niet ooit in de verre toekomst als ik met pensioen ben, maar nu! Ik kan mijn hele leven er aan wijden.
Ik kan bijvoorbeeld nu direct met pensioen gaan als ik dat zou willen. Ik hoef daar niet jaren voor te sparen, want geld is geen noodzaak meer voor mij. Ik hoef ook niet jarenlang een baan aan te houden waar ik geen voldoening uit haal en waar ik voor mijn gevoel geen toegevoegde waarde mee bijdraag. Als niemand meer zou geloven dat geld een noodzaak was, dan zou niemand meer werk doen wat oninspirerend was. De wereld zou er dan heel anders uit zien!
Dan hoeven we geen werk meer te doen wat bijdraagt aan vervuiling van de aarde. In plaats daarvan kunnen we stoppen met werken en ons full-time inzetten voor het behoud van de natuur en andere dingen die we werkelijk belangrijk vinden.
Werken om met pensioen te kunnen is geen vrijheid. Het is uitgestelde vrijheid. En je weet nooit wanneer het precies zal komen. Als de regels weer eens veranderen (bijv. pensioengerechtigde leeftijd weer eens omhoog), dan duurt het misschien weer langer dan gepland, en je hebt het niet eens zelf in de hand. Iemand die vrij is, is niet gebonden aan regels. Wat de regels ook zijn, ik kan nog altijd met pensioen wanneer ik dat wil.
Dat is vrijheid.

Je geeft aan dat een leven zonder geld voor jou een leven zonder stress betekent. Hoe werkt dat? Want ik persoonlijk (en met mij waarschijnlijk de rest van de wereld) ga juist stressen als we géén geld hebben. Als ik niet weet wat ik ga eten morgen en geen geld heb om iets te kopen dan is de druk toch juist heel hoog om iets te vinden of te regelen? Dan is het juist relaxt om naar de winkel te kunnen gaan om iets te kopen.
Yes! Je slaat de spijker op zijn  kop :) Als je geen geld hebt, dan is het stress, want we hebben niet geleerd om voor onszelf te zorgen. Daardoor is het ook heel stressvol als je mogelijk je baan kwijt gaat raken. Maar wat als je gewoon voor jezelf kunt zorgen en je weet waar je eten vandaan kunt halen? Wat als je weet dat je altijd op de natuur terug kunt vallen? Dan heb je nooit meer stress, want je weet dat je altijd veilig bent. Je kunt altijd voor jezelf zorgen, ook als de staat of het systeem het laat afweten. En de staat laat het heel vaak afweten.
Als je weet hoe je zonder geld kunt leven, dan maakt het niet uit als je je baan kwijtraakt. Zelfs als de supermarkten niks meer op voorraad hebben wegens een crisis, dan maakt dat ook niks uit, want je bent niet meer afhankelijk van de supermarkt.

Ga je nog wel eens naar Nederland? En hoe reis je dan zonder geld?
Ik ben vorig jaar nog eens in Nederland geweest voor een conferentie (de universiteit betaalde mijn reis), maar ik was blij dat het maar voor een paar dagen was. Ik merkte dat ik last kreeg van mijn longen door de vervuilde lucht. Ik denk dat dat was omdat ik het niet meer gewend was. Als je er woont dan merk je het op den duur niet meer. Dat is ook het gevaar van wat we met de natuur doen: we wennen eraan en daardoor lijkt het minder erg dan het is.
Overigens, als ik klaar ben met mijn PhD volgend jaar ben ik van plan nog steeds veel te reizen, maar alleen nog maar (of op z’n minst voornamelijk) lopend, liftend, op de fiets of te paard.


Kun je een heel beknopt stappenplan maken voor de gemiddelde consumer zoals ik, om meer te besparen / zuiniger te leven? Echt superkort en beknopt de belangrijkste tips om toe te passen in het dagelijks leven.
1.    Dumpster diven is een heel goed begin. Zo is het voor mij ook begonnen. (Een alternatief is 'foragen' (=eten uit de natuur).
2.    Daarna kun je stap voor stap gratis alternatieven vinden voor al je kostenposten. Elke keer dat je geld uitgeeft kun je je afvragen: hoe zou ik in deze behoefte kunnen voorzien zonder geld uit te geven? En dan experimenteren en uitproberen.
3.    Elk alternatief kun je vervolgens ook testen aan de duurzaamheidsfactor. Als het niet duurzamer is dan de doorsnee manier, dan is het misschien ook niet heel waardevol. Je zult zien dat als je de dingen doet die goed zijn voor de aarde, dat dat ook goed is voor jou!

Tot slot hier nog wat links voor meer informatie, met praktische tips over hoe je aan de slag kunt gaan:
Meer over de Stop-Shopping-Challenge, waar alles mee begon:
Meer over Dumpster diving:
Meer over gratis woonruimte:
Meer over de Moneyless Mindset:
Meer over Leven in vrijheid:

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

We Are All Aboriginal

Today is National Aboriginal Day in Canada and I would like to take this opportunity to explain why this matters - a lot - to all of us.

We are all aboriginal
We all used to live off the land and have enough knowledge about nature that we could support ourselves. We all used to live in small communities with appreciation for the land and without having to 'own' anything or pay rent. We all used to live in harmony with nature; supporting creation rather than contributing to destruction. We all used to know what it really means to contribute to the earth and to fulfill our roles as human beings; protectors of nature overseeing and maintaining the balance in the ecosystem with as little intervention as possible.

And then something changed. Some of us decided we needed more. Perhaps it was greed, perhaps it was a hunger for power. Whatever it was, some of us started to create new rules. Segregation happened. Inequality happened. Clearing of entire forests happened. Loss of species happened. Agriculture happened. The balance was lost. The earth was up for grabs and each and every part needed to be 'used' by and for humans.

The land was taken from us all
As a consequence, we all had our land taken from us. People who were driven away by invaders, as well as people who were invading. We all lost. Whether we agreed to the movement or not; whether we participated in it or not. We all lost our land. There are no winners in this type of game. When one loses, we all lose. It is a law of nature.

If you don't believe me, look what happened:
We started selling the land. We started exploiting the land. We forgot how to live in harmony with other beings and each other. We forgot the importance of trees and plants and how they all contribute to our survival throughout the seasons, which is why we need biodiversity. We started to believe that humans are the most important being on earth. We forgot that instead we need to work together with other beings in order to survive. We started acting like a plague. We forgot our identities and we forgot how to live.
We thought we needed jobs to pay for our homes. With that, we lost our lives. We lost precious time; time to ponder, time to experience, time to live. We thought we needed money for all our needs, and with that many of us lost their integrity and modesty. We could now afford more than we needed, and so we lost our sense of fulfillment too. When you combine material abundance with greed, no amount of stuff can bring fulfillment. And so we sacrificed the natural abundance we already had to feed our insatiable need to fill up the void. We forgot that living our lives with integrity is what brings true fulfillment; it can never be found in material stuff.

Meanwhile we had others work for us, and so we forgot how to survive and how to look after ourselves (the most basic skill required of any being on earth). We forgot our heritage: all the knowledge we had about self-sustainability, knowledge of plants, knowledge of wildlife, and knowledge of how all beings work together to support life. We lost our independence and made our survival dependent on strangers: sellers of stuff and food. We created a gap between what we do every day and what the results of those actions are on our environment, because the results are usually happening far away. Most of us have not seen the effects of climate change with our own eyes. Most of us have not seen rain forests (and/or our main source of food) being cut down and vanishing completely, right in front of their eyes. Sure, most of us have seen pictures or videos, but it is not the same. You may not have heard the scared screeches of animals who are afraid they are losing their home. Just like we all lost our home when we agreed to this way of life. Have we forgotten this too?

We are all homeless, or soon to be
Maybe we should all be angry. Maybe we should all be outraged. Maybe it is time we unite as humans, together with all beings on earth to claim back our land; not as something we own, but as something that cannot be owned. It is time we claim back our lives and claim back our futures. And most importantly: Restore the balance to our ecosystems. This is our home. This is where we live. We should not be segregated. Nature should not be segregated either. So no more cities, but communities. No more fear of other cultures, but instead uniting and learning from each other. No more mass productions of food, but self-sustaining food forests everywhere. Biodiversity over monoculture. No more clearing of land and leaving it bare. Bare soil is dead soil. This is why nature has invented weeds: fast growing greens to help restore the damage we are doing. But nature can't keep up with our misguided minds anymore; not without our help... not without your help. Are we going to watch on the sidelines while our home is being taken down?

I hope not.

What can we do?
Words are a great start, but not enough. If we really want to make changes, we will need to take action. The bolder, the better. Here are some suggestions:
-Learn to support yourself; e.g. move off the grid or choose to live moneyless. Start or join small communities. The more people live this way, the easier it will become. We deserve to live on earth as much as any other being, without payment and in total freedom.
-Rediscover your place in the ecosystem. See how you can help restore the balance. Bold actions may be necessary, because we need to counteract the vast destruction that is going on at the same time.
-Support biodiversity anywhere you can. Plant seeds of species that are struggling to survive. Protect nature. Protect wildlife. Demonstrate. Spread the word.
-Help others. Support others in the changes they make and seek support regularly from like-minded individuals.
-Inspire change. Let people know that other ways of living are possible and that they don't have to participate in and contribute to the loss of biodiversity and harming our ecosystem. Change is necessary to live a life of integrity.

In short: Make a difference! Take steps today and share your progress here. We can all support each other in our efforts to change the tide. We lost the balance and now it is time to restore it. We can only do this together. All the species of the world are counting on us. The clock is ticking. Every day we are losing species of plants and animals forever.
Don't wait.
Rise up.

Can we count you in?

Saturday, 11 June 2016

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the questions that I have been asked most frequently by readers of the blog or whenever I posted articles from this blog on Facebook pages, or when others shared my posts.

Feel free to ask another question if yours is not yet listed or insufficiently answered!

N.B: Recently I have decided that 'rewilding' is a better term to use to describe this way of life than 'moneyless' because living without money (as much as possible) is only a very small aspect of this way of life. So this FAQ is not entirely relevant anymore, although I have made some changes to my answers. I might write an updated version as new questions come up.

1. I am just one person among billions. Why would it matter what I do? Can I really make a difference?
2. What are the benefits of living moneyless? Why would anyone do it?
3. How do you get <insert random “need”> for free?
4. What motivates you to do what you are doing? 
5. How can you say you live moneyless when you are using other people's facilities that cost them money?
6. Are there exceptions to your moneyless life?
7. If you want to be free full-time and live completely moneyless, then why don’t you quit your job?
8. What do you do for fun?
9. What will you do with all that money you have saved while living moneyless and also earning a salary? 
10. What if everyone would live like you? Would society as we know it still exist? Would we still have the comforts we have today?
11. But what about things that are mass produced? Will we still be able to have things like computers and such? 
12. Are you against money? If it were up to you, would you ban money? 
13. What if the majority of people just doesn’t want to risk losing what we have and want to keep things the way they are? 
14. What about healthcare?
15. What if you get old/sick/etc?
16. How can I support a moneyless world? How can I best inspire others to change?
1. I am just one person among billions. Why would it matter what I do? Can I really make a difference?
The short answer is YES, you can make a difference! Not just for yourself, but also for others.
You'd be surprised of how much one person can do, and if you make it your mission to create change you will continue to discover new ways in which you can help your cause and make changes in the world that go beyond the scope of the personal / individual level. As long as your intentions and motivations go beyond personal rewards and benefits, then your reach will, too.
For example, your life mission to support the environment and the ecosystems through targeted actions may inspire many other people to make similar changes and to start working towards this common goal. You may even create a social movement in the process of reaching out to others and sharing your personal story. Every single action counts, and it is impossible to see the reach of the outward ripples that even one single action can create.
Once you have made steady changes to your life, you will see that you can't help but affect others differently also, perhaps inspiring them to change without even trying (in fact, it only works as long as you don't try): they will notice how you respond differently, how your vibe is different, that you are a happier person and that you express yourself differently. They will notice how you choose your words and actions more carefully and how they are more aligned, because your actions (as well as your words) are now directly guided by your values and beliefs. They will notice how your new way of life works much better for you and everyone around you. They will notice you live your life with more integrity, and how your life seems somehow more meaningful for that reason. They also notice how they could do the same thing and start living within their values instead of doing what everyone else is doing. All of this is contagious; it is inspiring.

2. What are the benefits of 'rewilding', or living moneyless? Why would anyone do it?
 There are so many benefits to the moneyless life that it is difficult to list them all. Let's look at some of them:
One of the biggest benefits to the moneyless lifestyle (or what I now like to call 'rewilding') is that it promotes freedom, in every sense of the word.This includes having more options for how you want to live your life, having more time, being more in control of your health and what you eat, and increasing your own skills for survival instead of relying on others. It puts you back in control of your own life and you no longer have to participate in society's obligations such as jobs, consumerism and taxes.
- Physical:
Rewilding is also likely to get you in a better physical shape because you are solely responsible for your own health once you quit money. Rewilding also leads you to de-clutter your life, which is a huge contributor to a more relaxed and happier life, because you have so much less to worry about (and you realize you didn't really need all that stuff in the first place!).
- Emotional:
Rewilding can make you a happier person, because it encourages living life from a place of gratitude at all times. It also gives your life instant meaning and purpose, and therefore you will experience a sense of fulfillment more of the time. Living with integrity helps you become more balanced and remain centered through most of your experiences in life.
- Cognitive:
Your mindset changes for the better when you focus less on money and simplify your life. It helps you to get back in touch with the reality of being part of an ecosystem and to live in harmony with the beings around you. It also stops the calculated type of mindset that money teaches, which promotes conditional giving rather than unconditional living. Unconditionality is another key to happiness. Having more time will create necessary space for you to reflect more and integrate new experiences. This also helps you stay grounded and equanimous. More about the moneyless mindset in this post.
- Social:
Rewilding (and living without money) promotes independence (from the system and others) as well as collaboration with others. This means your relationships with others will also improve. As with all aspects of life, you will no longer be looking for what others can do for you, but more for what you have to offer and how your relationships with others can be as meaningful as possible.
-Benefits beyond yourself:
Rewilding has also many positive impacts on the environment in that it helps other beings thrive, it halts the destruction that we are doing to the earth (mainly driven by money, ownership and our loss of connection with nature), it brings your focus back to supporting the ecosystem you live in and brings you more in touch with the natural resources you use, which promotes efforts to protect and help replenish them.

3. How do you get <insert random “need”> for free?
When your main focus is contribution (instead of just getting everything for free) and you start getting creative, you will see that there are many ways to get things for free. Of course you can work your way towards living completely for free in steps/ stages, as I have done (that is: without using money). You may also discover along the way that you no longer need certain things, even if you really believed you needed them in the past. So it is best to just get started somewhere and see how far you can take it, without anticipating too much on things you might think you need. You can simply eliminate one cost after another and deal with each need as it arises. I have to add though that 'getting something for free' is a misleading way to describe this way of life and it puts the focus in the wrong places. Contribution and giving is always the main focus. All needs should therefore be questioned in the process of simplifying life.
Some ideas about how to find basics for free can be found here, how I found my first free home is explained in this post and some ideas on what to do for fun can be found here.

4. What motivates you to do what you are doing?
When I started the challenge, it was mostly about saving money and doing something practical to help the environment besides just studying environmental psychology and doing research. However, very soon into the challenge the other benefits mentioned above took over, or rather supplemented these initial goals. This helped me to keep going, and turn my vision into a mission; a way of life. The journey became self-rewarding. This last year my life has felt more meaningful than ever before. Also I have felt happier and healthier than I have felt in a long time. And I have definitely felt more focused, determined and successful than ever. All that is left now is for me to gain total freedom after I finish my final job (the PhD degree) in 2017. Then I will be completely free. I am very much looking forward to taking this last step towards personal freedom.

5. How can you say you live moneyless when you are using other people's facilities that cost them money?
This question has come up a lot. So much so, that I decided to write a post about how I see it. You can read more about it here. The bottom-line is that living moneyless requires a different mindset, which will develop once you get started on the path. It is therefore difficult to describe, but perhaps with some imagination it can be understood from the post that I just mentioned. Money can create a mindset of exchange and a focus on calculating cost and value in all our interactions with others, which makes our relationships less personal and less rewarding.
In addition, the distinction between what costs money and what doesn't is completely artificial and made up. In the end everything comes from the earth and returns back to the earth. What is free and what costs money has changed over the years and will keep changing. So why would we even make that distinction?
When you live moneyless, you are no longer constantly thinking about exchange. People don't give to me conditionally, and I don't give to them conditionally. All interactions are unconditional. This is what happens when money is taken out of the equation, and that is the point of 'moneyless living' for me. The focus is on what you can give instead of how much you can get.
In this context I also think it is important to remember that not paying money does not mean that one does not contribute. The contribution just happens in a different form, which is more focused on serving others directly and serving the ecosystem that we are all a part of than on "financial contribution" (which sounds rather vague and unspecific in comparison, doesn't it?). Read more about that here.
One final point is that the answer to this question ultimately doesn't matter, because living without money is not actually the goal of this way of life. The goal is to get more in touch with nature: to increase awareness and consciousness. I would like to call it 'rewilding'. That is freedom. Read more about that here.

6. Are there exceptions to your moneyless life?
When I say I am living moneyless, it means that I am not spending any money, without exceptions so far this year and with a few exceptions last year. However, I still have a job at the moment (until October 2017) so I still receive an income and I still have some indirect payments (automatic taxes). Also, I use office supplies that are paid for by the university and I get some incentives to use for traveling and costs while traveling. This means there are occasions where I am still indirectly 'consuming'; mostly through my job.
However, after October 2017 I am planning to retire completely and then I will be completely money-free. Then I will no longer burden the earth directly nor indirectly by using valuable resources for valueless reasons. This will be the final step in the process of my personal liberation; the final step towards freedom. It is what I am preparing for right now with the foraging challenge.
However, remember that living without money (or with less money) is only a tool to help me in what my way of life is really about: rewilding - getting more in touch with nature and raising awareness/consciousness.

7. If you want to be free full-time and live completely moneyless, then why don’t you just quit your job?
I have considered quitting my job, but eventually decided against it. I seriously considered quitting my job at the end of last year and with any other job I would have. So this last step of giving up everything is taking a bit longer than I hoped and ideally it would have come sooner. But I do treat my job more like a hobby now (I take it less seriously) and definitely don’t let it dictate my choices and priorities. As a consequence I enjoy it more too, and I am probably even more productive. I used to take my work way too seriously to the point where I would often stress myself and others out (I suffered from burnout a couple of times in my life).
However, a couple of points have made me decide against quitting this job. I started the job before I started this challenge and my job provided me with the ideal circumstances to try out moneyless living to decide if it was right for me. Also, it is a temporary job so it won’t be much longer and it gives me exactly enough time to prepare all my next steps in detail, before starting the nomadic journey. The job also gives me a lot of freedom: I can work from home whenever I want and can even include writing this blog as part of it. It is almost as good as being entirely free, and a great step in-between.
In a way this job helped me discover the moneyless life, because it gave me the final push to take environmental action (with the topic of my PhD being about interventions to promote behavior change to mitigate climate change). So I feel some loyalty towards the people who made this possible (my supervisor mostly, who has been very supportive of my personal efforts with this moneyless project from the very start). I have also found that it works much better to take on this challenge in steps rather than throw myself into the deep end straight away. The process of freeing yourself from society (and changing/ re-building your mindset) takes time. And because at the start I still had my connections with society (through my job) I was able to test the waters first with some peace of mind.
Nowadays my mindset is so different that it is hard to imagine that I was so obsessed with getting a job in the first place. And it is hard to imagine that I would have felt like I needed a job at all. But I did. And I found one. Luckily I also took up the moneyless challenge, because now I know I don't need a job, which frees me up for the future. So in part, I have my job to thank for the idea to go moneyless and for supporting me through this process of transitioning from being trapped in the system and slowly freeing myself. I am very grateful for this and I believe that some loyalty from my side is in order to complete this project. So all of this made me decide to finish what I started.
If I would have been unable to find this  particular job, perhaps I would have tried to go moneyless anyway. It is difficult to say in hindsight. It may have seemed more difficult with the old mindset of not feeling good enough and being so focused on the need to find a job and to be part of society and to ‘contribute’ in the traditional sense of the word. Having said that, others have shown that this way is also possible. But perhaps it is reassuring to know that you don't have to take the plunge right away, and that you can make small changes on this journey and still reach the same destination. I think this makes moneyless living appear much more attainable to many people. For most people, it is much easier to oversee one change at a time than to just changing everything overnight.
You don't have to give up everything right away. You can work your way towards it and just let go whenever you are ready. In the meantime you can just work on preparing yourself.

8. What do you do for fun?
When you follow your passions in life you will notice you don’t need so much ‘fun’ anymore, because your life is already fun and joyful. Fun can be an escape people need when they take life too seriously too much of the time, or when they don't want to face the reality of their lives somehow. However, fun and enjoyment of life is important and I did write a post on how to do certain things that most would consider fun. Read more about things to do for fun here.

9. What will you do with all that money you have saved while living moneyless and also earning a salary?
At the start of the challenge, the plan was to save up a lot of money and then buy some land in France or Spain (or somewhere else with a good climate) to start an ecofarm or even a small ecovillage, where I could grow my own food and live a happy, peaceful life, enjoying nature and all it has to offer. But now I am not so sure what I will do. If I buy land, then it brings more worries into my life and it is putting me back into the system that I have learned to reject and have come to detest (the money-grid), as having land means having to pay property taxes in most countries (yes, there are exceptions). And that means I am yet again no longer 100% free. At the same time I also have the urge to settle down after so much moving around and living a ‘rootless’ kind of life (although definitely not in Norway as I find the cold and dark winters absolutely unbearable).
So I am not sure what I will do. Perhaps I will live the nomadic, moneyless life for a while and travel from Norway to Spain on a horse or hiking, and then I can just see where the road takes me. I can see what I find and if I find a beautiful location where I want to settle, I can do that with or without buying land. Perhaps there is some land that is not used where I can live. It is hard to predict this kind of stuff. We will see what the universe has in store for me. I am sure that I will know what to do once the time comes. In the meantime, as always, it is good to have options. Freedom is mostly about creating options.

10. What if everyone would live like you? Would society as we know it still exist? Would we still have the comforts we have today?
Many people seem to worry that if everyone would live like this, there would be a lot they have to ‘give up’. Of course it is difficult to imagine what a moneyless world would look like now, because we have made a lot of technical advancements since the stone age (and understandably, not everyone wants to go back to that). I do know that when we all live moneyless, a few things will start to happen:
1. We would all have a lot more time, because none of us would need to work anymore.
2. Our collective environmental footprint will be reduced significantly, because a lot of damage is done in the name of employment (‘just doing my job’), profit and (economic) growth (things some like to call ‘progress’).
3. Everyone will take responsibility for their basic needs, which means that everyone will invest time in learning how to grow their own food and purify water. Cities will probably be rebuilt to be more sustainable; more in line with keeping water, air and food clean and accessible. People will do this voluntarily (without payment) because they have the time and it is their home.
4. People will uphold and maintain societal structures they deem important, such as health care. So a moneyless society will demonstrate what people think is important and where efforts should be directed. I imagine that structures like the military will disappear almost instantly, as they benefit no one when money is no longer involved. So will politics and other unnecessary societal structures. I imagine that things like education (mainly of survival and other self-help/life skills), the arts and health services will flourish.
5. Natural resources will once again be valued, protected and cherished rather than exploited and depleted for all they are worth.

11. But what about things that are mass produced? Will we still be able to have things like computers and such?
Many people who believe in a moneyless world fail to take action because they fear that they have to make (big) sacrifices. This is not the case. In my case, I have not had to sacrifice anything. I have my own little home on a farm with plenty of space, I have access to enough food to feed several families and I have all the stuff that I need and more (I am still downsizing even though I didn't have that much to begin with). Each time I simplify my life more or get rid of more stuff, it feels liberating (and not like a loss or sacrifice at all).
But what if we would all live this way? Would I still have the computer that I am using to type?
Well, if the answer would be no, then does that mean that ‘slave labor’ is the price for our luxuries? Or at least the fear of losing those things is keeping us all tied to the current system. Is that worth it? And is it even an option, realistically, for the long term? I’d say no. It is not sustainable and we will destroy the planet this way, probably sooner rather than later. Again, is that worth it? If all is destroyed, would you regret not making changes and taking the chance of perhaps being even happier than you are now? Would you feel like you had done enough to prevent this from happening once major catastrophes start to happen that affect all of us? (And yes, they have already started, but perhaps none of them have affected you personally yet; at least not as far as you realize.)
Although it may not be possible to keep comforts in the form they are in right now when forced labor falls away, I do believe that production of things that people really want and need will still happen even without the use of money, if it is something people value. Perhaps a different kind of product will be invented, from different materials (that are easier to produce on a smaller scale) and one that lasts much longer because then the aim will be sustainability rather than consumerism (for more information on the purposeful speedy expiry of products, see this video (the end of ownership), which explains the basics of a resource based economy.  You can also watch the Story of Stuff (very insightful!), which puts everything in perspective and explains the circular economy. For more about a circular economy see this TED talk by Thomas Rau).
It is impossible to describe with certainty exactly what the future would look like. But the fact remains that what it would look like is totally up to us. We can create the future the way we want it to be, in total freedom. If we miss something, it is our responsibility to (re-)create it; this time in a more sustainable way. If we don’t like something, it is up to us to change it. This new paradigm is the kind of world that stimulates and rewards innovations and initiative, instead of laziness and complacency.
So to come back to the question: is it possible to keep all the luxuries we have right now? The answer is, I don’t know (although the future is in our hands and I do believe that people are capable of creating anything if it is important enough for them, with very limited resources). But let me ask you this: Is it possible to sustain human life without making radical changes to the way we do things? Is the way we live now, collectively, in any way sustainable? And here I know for sure that the answer is no. And that is all I need to know. It makes the above question completely irrelevant.

12. Are you against money? If it were up to you, would you ban money?
At the start of my challenge, I had nothing against money. I was neutral to money. I did not feel the need for others to change. My journey was purely personal. I didn’t see money as good or bad, just as a tool. But now, through my experiences and reflections, I have seen the links between money and so many forms of destruction. And I would like to see humanity move beyond this ancient (and debilitating) construct.
In a world without money, would natural resources get exploited? Would hierarchies exist in the same way as they do now? Would nature be destroyed or protected? Would we live in harmony with nature or go against it? Would we cherish other beings or carelessly drive them to extinction? Would people still work jobs and would they still work the same type of jobs, or would they do something more constructive with their time on earth? Would people live to support the system, or themselves, each other and the earth? When you really get into it, you will see that many things are directly related to money, consumption and our habits of exchange. We can all move beyond it by getting back in touch with nature.
However, I have also come to realize that money is not the cause but rather the consequence of our dysfunctional way of thinking. So banning money would not work: the root cause is in the mind so we need to change (evolve) our way of thinking first and foremost.

13. What if the majority of people just don’t want to risk losing what we have and want to keep things the way they are?
At the very least it would be great to have some part of the world where this type of society could be trialed: one that does not rely on money and that produces everything on a small scale. This gives people who do not believe in money anymore the chance to opt out and it gives people who do not believe in moneyless societies an example of how it could work. I understand if people do not share my ideas. I don’t want to force them to change. But I also do not want to be forced to remain in a system where I don’t belong.
Additionally, as mentioned previously: if we don't start making changes now, the world will be headed for destruction sooner rather than later. I do not want to wait here and watch it happen. I want to do what I can to contribute to a solution before it is too late. Time is running out. Nature doesn't care whether you believe in climate change or not, and while we are debating this and other pointless topics, the window of opportunity is closing.

14. What about healthcare?
Ultimately everyone is responsible for their own health. Yes, some health problems may be caused by genetic makeup, but the majority of health problems stem from the ways we live our lives (not enough nutrients, not enough oxygen/clean air, not enough movement). The current trend of making others responsible for our health does not promote self-care and healthy decisions.
However, as mentioned under question number 10, I believe that health care will still be accessible in a moneyless society. Until we reach that point, we need to learn to support ourselves in the best way possible. Learn about natural medicine and learn about plants. All the cures in the world are out there, and prevention is the best cure of all. That means living a healthy lifestyle with healthy food (foods from the earth) and natural activities (NOT sitting in an office all day).
Most likely, the same system that offers you health care is also making you sick.
Read more about my views on health here.

15. What if you get old/sick/etc?
Well, we all get old and eventually we all die. This is an inescapable fact of life. And so for me it is illogical to sacrifice my freedom for something like health care (which I may never need, and have not needed in a long time). Why would I sacrifice my whole life (and the freedom to live it as I choose) in exchange for something that I may or may not need some time in the future (i.e. health care)? It doesn't make sense.
So yeah, if I get sick I may die, someone may help me, or I may find a natural cure. If I do end up dying, it is called natural selection. It is how nature keeps its populations clean. And when I get old, I die as well. But I will die a free person, and that's what's important.

16. How can I support a moneyless world? How can I best inspire others to change?
Actions are the foundations for change, because they speak louder than words. Words are only a supplement. On top of that it feels better too, because actions are empowering and can redirect and strengthen the energy generated by having a vision. Doing something therefore always beats doing nothing.
When you want others to change, it must start with you. You cannot get others to change first. If you feel and see that change is necessary and possible, then you must take that first step. I sometimes see people out there desperately trying to change the world, but they forget to take those first steps. Instead they try to change the world before they change themselves by trying to convince others to change first. But how can we expect others to change when we are not even willing or ready to do so ourselves? If you are in this situation and find yourself promoting change to others but are not consistently taking the necessary practical steps that are involved, then you have a wonderful opportunity. Obviously something is still holding you back, and it is likely that that very same thing is keeping others from changing too. So if you explore what it is and figure out how to overcome your personal barriers, then you can lead the way for others to follow in your footsteps, even more effectively than if you would have had no barriers to overcome. After all, how can you be a teacher or mentor if you never had to learn anything?
If you fail to walk the talk, nobody will take you seriously and you won't be able to offer anyone any guidelines on how to get started. Also, you might implicitly contribute to the myth that it is okay to talk about the need for change without taking actual action; that talking about it and being offended by the state of the world is a form of taking action. It is not. We need real actions to create lasting, structural change. On the other hand, if you have walked the path yourself, then you can give specific guidelines on how people can get started, and you can demonstrate to the world that change is possible and beneficial (to yourself and to the world). Inspiring real structural and societal change can only come from personal change.
(See also question 1).

This page may be updated if new questions come in or as my views on life (and hence answers to the questions) evolve.