Recently I read the The moneyless man: a year of freeconimic living by Mark Boyle. It his memoir on a year of living without using money. In short he lived in a trailer on a piece of land which he was allowed to use in return for working 2-3 on the farm. He had to cater for his own food, heat and amusement. He was pretty hardcore with it all.
Next up was shelter. I got myself a caravan from the website Freecycle, parked it up on an organic farm I was volunteering with, and kitted it out to be off-grid. I’d heat my abode with scavenged wood burned in a woodburner made from an old gas bottle and I had a compost toilet to make “humanure” for my veggies. - Mark Boyle
Reading it gave me the epiphany: “If he does not need money, what things could I not need?”. Seeing as Mark Boyle took one thing(money) and eliminated it from his life, what other things could be eliminated as well? Now I would not start immediately with money, as I do need it now. But perhaps I can start with smaller things that I doing currently. This concept is not new, there have been plenty of books about not doing or avoiding something. Namely The year of less by Cait Flanders, Year of no sugar by Eve O. Schaub, No impact man by Colin Beavan, A year without Made In China by sara Bongiorni. (not) Doing something for a year presents a hard challenge as it is almost impossible to prepare yourself by either stocking up on the thing you will be doing without, or planning your year so you can circumvent the thing easier.
By reflecting on my 2020 I noticed there was no particular recurring theme, well except for COVID-19 and lockdowns but that is not something I really wanted. I had some projects and finished some goals, where the one with the greatest span was a savings goal which I only just met in December. I would like to have an ideal which continuously presents challenges and forces me to think about what I am doing and why. Another reason why I would want something like that is because it is easier to update on, so I can keep a log on this website. Planning something, hiding for a year and then writing one post in December saying “I made it!” would not amount to any readers nor will it benefit any of those readers. The most interesting stories start with someone having an idea, going over it a bit to make short plan and then just get on with it.
The things I could do without are:
- Non Free Software. I hate proprietary stuff and vendor lock-in, although I am a victim/enforcer of it by working with Google Cloud at my job. Also stuck with Whatsapp and Zoom for communications although I can try to convince people.
- Stuff Made in China. People don’t need the cheap trinkets from Aliexpress and the conditions under which most of it was made are inhuman. I will not support this with my money.
- Buying Anything New, I think I have almost anything I need. The only things I would buy are replacements if anything breaks or replacements for things that wear out(Tires, oil for motorcycle and car)
- Excess Social Media. I spend way to much time on Youtube, Instagram and Reddit. Although I managed to push back a bit by not using the apps, I still find myself wasting hours on my computer. To this list I could also add news sites as they don’t add anything to my happiness and really important news will find it’s way to me eventually.