Lessons From a Moneyless Life

In early 2009 I saw ”Zeitgeist: Addendum”. It was the first time I really understood how the money system works - that every cent in my wallet is someone else's debt. It posed a moral dilemma. I didn't want my success make others fail. I wanted to give up using money altogether.

I sensed that there is much more to life than meets the eye. I wanted to break free and answer to that call. It was scary at first because it meant letting go of everything "normal" and diving into the unknown. Nonetheless, I became an "urban nomad" in June 2009 and I have lived completely without money since July 2010.

Now I have visited some 30 countries - traveling, eating and sleeping for free - doing some 90,000 kilometers hitchhiking in other people’s cars, trucks and even horse carriages. In fact, it’s no longer traveling. It’s a lifestyle. People often ask me "when do you settle down?" and I find it curious because I feel that I’m at home where ever I go. I am settled down, on the road.

So, what have I learned being one of the moneyless pioneers?

Be the change
We can point at the flaws of society and blame everything external to us ad infinitum but it's only after we accept personal responsibility that the things start to change. We cannot directly change society or other people. We have to change our own ways. If we don't, we silently submit to the obsolete society we are criticizing. It's about being the change, not about doing it.

Do what you are good at and what you love to do
I always wanted to be a writer, but never had time for it. Now I do. And I love it! The mere fun of creation and giving away the fruits of creation is enough incentive for me. The secret for fulfilling life is to help others without expecting anything in return.

If the system ignores you, ignore the system
The politicians, big business, religions, army and the like are mere guardians of status quo. Representative democracy is a hoax as much as the debt and interest based money system. If you are in debt, it's OK to walk away from it. These debts are never going to be paid anyway. There just isn't enough money to cover it all. The only way for awakened individuals to change the system, is to create the system. Get together and brainstorm: how might we provide life's necessities for free? No one else is going to do it for you.

Gifts are sacred
Every meal, ride and a place to rest is like a treasure for me. Everything I wear and eat, for instance, is a gift from someone. Living off of other people's generosity creates a very different mindset than being surrounded with crap that was mass-produced with slave labor and purchased with cold money from someone acting like a robot.

Awakening is seeing life as it is
Letting go of needless physical stuff creates much-needed mental space. Without all the artificial noise around you start seeing life as it is. Personally I have reconnected with my inherent curiosity, creativity and imagination - traits that I used to have as a kid. I've connected with the nature and the whole universe, realizing that there is so much that our contemporary science is still unable to explain.

Stop being afraid
I would have never made the choice of living moneyless without a much bigger prior decision: I chose love over fear. "Love the universe and it will love you back" is my motto. And it works! Fear of death is pointless. Mere survival is insufficient purpose for life. It's okay to take leaps of faith. If you are in it with right intentions and pure heart, whatever happens in the end turns out to make sense.

For more info go to www.tomiastikainen.com


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Sat, 11/05/2011 - 4:28am | Very impressive! You're an (Score: 1)
Sat, 11/05/2011 - 4:56am | Zeitgeist addendum was like (Score: 1)
Sat, 11/05/2011 - 3:08pm | If you want more inspiration (Score: 2 Informative)
4ndy's picture


Karma: 1

If you want more inspiration from people who have tried this direction, have a look at Heidemarie Schwermer, who has been living a similar lifestyle to Tomi.

Also, check out the writings of Mark Boyle, who created the Freeconomy Community as he set out to spend at least a year living without money. He now writes a blog column in The Guardian about moneyless living, and wrote a book called The Moneyless Man, about his experiences in that year without money, the proceeds of which are going towards a trust fund to build a 'freeconomic' community in Britain.

Sat, 11/05/2011 - 3:17pm | Admirable and inspiring story (Score: 1)
Thu, 11/10/2011 - 5:09pm | Agree... (Score: 1)
Sat, 11/05/2011 - 3:27pm | I've read most posts on this (Score: 1)
Sat, 11/05/2011 - 6:57pm | Tomi's first book (Score: 2 Interesting)
Dario WurmD's picture

Dario WurmD

Karma: 1

Tomi's first book http://www.mindyourelephant.org/ "Mind your Elephant - How to get rid of your ego, connect with others and save the world" - a precious read :).

I read that book, loved it (just look at that sub title :D), sent an email to Tomi expressing my appreciation and inviting him over - and guess what! He was in Lisbon at the time XD! Almost at my door step! He spent a week at my place, cooking wonderful salads for me and my mom (om..nom..nom.. :D)

We spent a most invigorating week, discussing and learning from each other, while I watched him drinking coffee for free at coffee shops XD.

PS: Tomi! You're always welcome :) my door is still open.

@Tim O'Riordan: One of the experiences he shared with me were of going to the back-doors of restaurants and being well fed :) - at least on the food and services level it's possible to get it without the giver having to have had spent money directly on it. :)

Sun, 11/06/2011 - 1:15pm | Thanks Dario for introducing (Score: 1)
Sun, 11/06/2011 - 4:25pm | Hi Tim! You're right. This (Score: 1)
Sun, 11/06/2011 - 6:01pm | Hi Tomi, Thanks for replying. (Score: 1)
Sun, 11/06/2011 - 7:38pm | Tim, I would go so far as to (Score: 1)
Sun, 11/06/2011 - 8:27pm | It's like the teaching of (Score: 1)
Sat, 01/21/2012 - 6:18am | Our Textbook Buyback> (Score: 1)
Sat, 01/21/2012 - 6:18am | Our Textbook Buyback> (Score: 1)
Sat, 01/21/2012 - 6:19am | Our Textbook Buyback> (Score: 1)
Sat, 01/21/2012 - 6:19am | Our Textbook Buyback> (Score: 1)