In my seven months abroad the single most interesting thing I encountered was a thirty-nine page zine entitled “How to Live An Amazingly Adventurous Life For Zero Dollars a Day.”
I found this brilliant work on the bookshelf of my second Couchsurfing.com host, Kim, in Adelaide, South Australia. Kim, a permaculture activist, conveniently happened to be the author.
It was my first week of backpacking Australia without any plan whatsoever, and although I had plenty of money, I felt hesitant to spend it. I’d been saving up for a year and when the time came to travel I felt like a child guarding her piggy bank. It didn’t seem necessary to spend. I wasn’t being frugal; I actually wasn’t interested in doing anything costly. I mainly wanted to Couchsurf, meet interesting people, and see beautiful outdoor places. Meanwhile, a cunning afterthought was telling me to blow it all on hot air balloon rides.
Somewhere in my consciousness was an ingrained belief that travel and spending were synonymous. I felt resistance to accepting this as true.
Kim’s zine was a powerfully written confirmation to me that it is not necessary to spend a lot of money in order to have a meaningful travel experience, or any life experience for that matter.
“How to Live an Amazingly Adventurous Life for Zero Dollars a Day” is a radical re-examination of our world’s monetary economic system. It proposes the possibility of creating a lifestyle, and eventually world, where money no longer exists.
The notion is that if we change the way we think about resources and open our eyes to the abundance in the world, everything we need becomes available at no cost.
As a backpacker, the section on “Adventure,” was most relevant to me. She supported Couchsurfing and WWOOFing for free accommodation, and made suggestions for free entertainment from “Wilderness Survival“ to “Talk to people on the street” and “Pee outside.” I recall that I did enjoy the adrenaline rush of popping a squat behind a tree near a major road later that week as I explored Kim’s neighborhood.
During my stay I had the opportunity to fully experience this lifestyle Kim preaches and practices. It was the most delightfully unusual place I’ve ever been a guest. Kim exchanges foraging and gardening to her roommate for accommodation. Their water bill is virtually zero, as they pee in their garden (free fertilizer), poop in a homemade compost toilet (more free fertilizer), and drink rain water.
My week in Adelaide was fun, adventurous, and practically free. I believe In total I spent $10AUD, on tacky secondhand clothes for a ridiculous party we went to.
In Kim’s words,
Money is an illusion that only has value because we believe it does…True wealth is soil, seeds, trees, clean air and water, generosity, caring reciprocal relationships and resilient communities…We live in an amazing world with so much possibility, why limit yourself?…When you live free, all your time is free time.”
Inspired? Please share your thoughts!
- Describe a priceless (literally and figuratively) experience you’ve had, or an experience you can’t believe people waste money on.
- Do you think it’s truly possible to live/travel without money? Have you done it? Are you doing it now?
- How might we be the change in the world to stop letting money control and limit everything?