The bloodclots will get you in the end,

Dear all,
This is a question and a problem I've had for some time now, that I've shared with quite a few of you but have never really received an answer, or that which I've been looking for.

I need to be self reliant in terms of money. For a while, I lived from kindness and occasional jobs here and there, but this reliance on others became exhausting and the power of it (waiting for another to give) becomes something that eats away at the spirit.
Too, in living off next to nothing, I found all that I nurture and writing, exploration, creation in all its kinds, compassion...all of it became diminished. I become a half person living for my basic needs rather than living out of myself, thrusting myself into explosions, tenderness, passion.

I just finished vineyard season just outside of Lyon.
What appeared to be a family atmosphere became military work. What appeared to be community became vomiting and turning over beds when drunk (they call it the cathedral effect). Incredible racism and intolerance..when my two north african friends left, it turned to me. I've never experienced this so much skin colour has gifted me this passing by, of sorts.

I can't keep doing this jobs that bury you. When it becomes of necessity for money, you become trapped and no longer alive, fully.
What can we do?

I will begin to try writing articles, for I know I can do this, and eventually make money from it. But in the meantime..the bloodclots increase and my hands are all cut up and useless.
Are others experiencing this same shitheap?
I feel quite alone in this, in this either take it and accept it or you fight it, but how do we fight this exploitation, this resounding nausea?
Surely not by hiding in casa and waiting for the world to magically change..right?


jesus's picture

Explore yourself as much as you can..

I think I kind of get the general point you're trying to get across here.. Everyone's situation is very very different though, so there is not one answer that could be equally as effective for everyone.

I absolutely hate the monetary system. I hate working for money, because I think it is totally immoral. Every now and again I can bring myself to get some kind of job for a while, but I hate it. Money does not make me happy. It's not even things that money can buy that make me happy.

I need some kind of security too, and I need some things to keep me happy. Money is not a part of this equation at all, in my mind, but in reality I do have to spend a certain amount of money every year to live and survive.

It took me what seems to me like a very long time to come up with a solid, intentional plan, but I think I finally have one. Again, this might work for me, but I can't say it will work for anyone else. It took me ages to even be able to think of something that just works for me.

Safety for me, mainly means shelter from the weather, and food in my belly. I travel a lot at the moment. I can't afford rent, or hotels. Hospitality is awesome, but when it's not there, it can be a very stressful situation, which gets worse when you add health issues to that. So I have decided to live in a vehicle, instead of a house. This way, when I can afford to travel, I can take my shelter with me. When I can't afford to travel, I can park my shelter somewhere and move within walking distance from it. If I park in an isolated place in the woods, I can look for edible plants. If I park in an isolated place by the sea/river/lake, I can fish. When I park in a busy city, I can dumpster-dive.

The only two things I absolutely need to keep me happy, after survival is dealt with, are music and love. I am lucky to be able to create my own music and to have amazing people to share love with in my life.

So with this, my vital needs are met. Emergencies are a different story. I try to exploit existing institutions as ruthlessly as they exploit us. Having worked in the UK in the past, I am essentially entitled to free healthcare anywhere in the EU. Good enough, for now. I have needed it a couple of times during my travels. I might even get a pension if I ever reach 65, but that's too far ahead to think about now, and besides, I really do hope that by that point all institutions like that will have been smashed to bits and there will be healthcare on offer without the institutions.

As for abuse, racism, xenophobia, etc... I have had to put up with a lot of it in my life. Nowadays I am simply trying my best to avoid places where I know it exists. Or better, I stick to places where I can somehow verify it won't exist. There's only one flag that I can somehow relate to, the red and black one. Under it, I know I will find comrades who will stand up for me, and I will stand up for them too. Solidarity, community. If we stick together we can protect each other. Nomad bases don't currently have a flag.. But if they did, I would certainly feel comfortable under that one too! (maybe we should design a nomad-base flag??)

Apart from all that, other practicalities include learning how to do all the things I might need to do, on my own. So acquiring the appropriate skills for the life I want to live. Since I live in a vehicle, I consider it necessary to know how to repair the vehicle myself. It might look a bit like it came out of a science fiction post-apocalyptic movie, but it keeps on running. As for road tax and stuff like that, if I can afford it, it means I can travel. If I can't afford it, it means I just have to park up somewhere. I cannot afford to travel normally, so I use my music skills. I go on tour, playing music, and this is the only way I can keep my vehicle moving at the moment.

I don't have any problem receiving money for something I would do for free. But I cannot do something for money, that I would not do for free. It seems like prostitution to me. So I see it as receiving donations. I have trouble setting a price for things I offer. I always say something like "give me anything you like, I need to travel to the next country, if you can fill up my jerrycan with gasoline instead of giving me money, I would prefer it".

These things keep me happy and going. I know that it won't be like this forever though, which is why I have invested all my efforts in this kind of life. Because I know that when the music's over, and I cannot travel anymore for whatever reason, at least I'll still have my shelter, even if it is rusty and won't work anymore. I can always park it near the people I love, and have my guitar to keep me company and resonate my sorrows away..

Even keeping the vehicle on the road by paying tax and gasoline is cheaper than rent. Not keeping it on the road is free. You don't have to pay for the shelter. You heat it with wood in the winter. Free. You live in the nature, instead of a big city, and learn to identify edible plants. Free. Live near a lake with drinkable water. Free. Find love. Free. Find music. Free.

Ok, I didn't include chocolate anywhere in all this.. Sorry! I can live without it. But I can't live without tea, so I can pick it from the forest. Free. In the end of the day, I'd rather live for only a short while longer but live happy and free, than reach old age miserable and enslaved.

So I would say, explore yourself as much as you can. Find out exactly what it is you absolutely need to survive, and write it down. Try to secure that first, everything else comes later on. Then find out exactly what you need to keep you happy. Try to find ways of securing that too. I think you'll be surprised how little you can actually live on, and be happy with. Know your friends, and know your enemies even better. Keep your friends close, and simply avoid your enemies. Don't focus on the things you don't like, focus on the things you like instead, and work for these. Then you can be in a better position to avoid the things you don't like.

Remember, work is a really good thing. Employment/Slavery is what sucks. You have to work hard for the life you want, but you don't ever have to be a slave or employed if you don't want to.

Jass's picture

I know so well the life of

I know so well the life of communities (perhaps more poorly structured / developed than the better ones) and this is what I think we must work towards.
But I need money for certain things. For emergencies, to begin with, most importantly. If I had a big accident like Charlie's, what would I do without money?
But more than this when I need solitude, quiet, days of tea and writing on my own. I haven't had my own place since I lived in a tent in London for a long time. I like to buy tea, chocolate, books, go to concerts.

And I don't know anyone who dislikes the monetary system as much as I do. The exploitation, the imbalances in relationships, the hardships and humiliations we must go through to get to it.
& so many of my friends need money regardless; through family, studies or somesuch. I like so much the contrast, and I can't dig myself so far underground that I'm never coming to the surface.
I want someday, to be able to help with rent at places like casa. I don't want to rely on people, forever, for things that are difficult/impossible to get without money. Visas for instance? Rice/grains that are impossible to dive anywhere. And that's in the west. Even in the east of europe, it's almost impossible to dive food, so what then? Just stay in our safe communities?

And even then, I want so much to believe in communities and societies that are doing it on less..but it's not nothing and we need money at least a little bit, no?
Or do we? I have no answer for this, at the moment..but I dislike so much these false utopias..if it is to be, it is to be, it is to be with guts and honesty and transparent relationships.
Are we just these words, or are there practises in happening? Who would pay rent at casa if nobody believed in money? Not to be cynical, or even realistic, but searching for a kind of honesty that we often forget or lose track of in the world of ideas and dreams.
What now?

valentina's picture

a critical point of view

I generally agree with Jass here and I'll try to provoke a bit more...

As Jass, Charlie, Lily and many of us, I think that the way to go are the commons, but at the state of the art not everything can be bargained (especially if we consider medical services or resources coming from outside the communities as for electronical good i.e.).

At the same time, I do not completely support the idea that we should only work on voluntary bases (in exchange for housing and food). It is fine if we want to learn something or if the organization we are working for is a no-profit or if it is involved on missions we believe (environmental or humanitarian for example).

But why should I work without getting paied for the wine industry? Don't they make commerce out of my work? Don't they use pesticides and artificial components for the wine production? Isn't wine a luxury product?

And, by working for free, don't I undervalue my manual work by getting the industry used to unpaid labour?
By working in exchange for accomodation and food, don't I "take away" working position to the people who really need to work and getting paid (people with a family for example)?

Moreover, after living for a short while with no-money, I also came to see how important is to "love yourself" sometimes: choccolate if you need it, or a hot meal at the time and place you want. Having no money can be fun for a while and it is an enriching experience, but let's not forget how hard is to be on the road when you are sick.

This is why, after this experience in the streets (where I did meet amazing people and great random hospitality), I feel very lucky I can choose if being in the streets or in an house (and this is one of the biggest things I've learnt: Appreciate what you have, be humble, thank the Universe for what it gives you today).

Living with no money can be a game that can teach you lots. But let's not forget how lucky many of us are to have the option of using money when they need to (to book an unplanned flight to reach their best friend, or to rent an apartment ). Why if I work with responsability and effort, I shouldn't receive a fair wage? Isn't what labour right movements have been fighting for?

I've met also lots of people that do not have this choice: sleeping in the streets, unable to take care of their health, too old to find a job, too tired to believe in the Universe, or just too powerless to fight for a good rage in picking grapes jobs that could help them during the winter.

What to do?
I cannot give an answer that would satisfy all (any of us has to make their own choices) but I would say: find your path. Discover something you like to do and to share with others. Make a job out of it. Indipendent. Be the learder of yourself. Be creative.
And do not ask me more details cause I'm still looking for my way to survive without reling on my background.

lilylove's picture

Charlie and I just talked

Charlie and I just talked about this this morning, after reading these posts...

and we both said we were surprised by the focus on jobs/money in this thread.
It's certainly not an uncomplicated issue, but one that has many many answers and thoughts and ideas out there.

Ive just spent more time on the San Juan islands in Washington, a place that has been calling me back for a while. A lot of the people there live 90% without money - that is work trade/bartering/gift economy.

but the important element about the community there that I have noticed, is that it's not a structured economy. It doesn't have a system in place - like Ithaca Hours or Madison Hours - and there is no formal bartering system. The way it works is based on community and networks. Since everyone knows everyone on the island, if you need something you just call around and see who has it. Then you go and speak with them, connect, as friends, and discuss their projects. Generally something will come up ... like "oh, i have a welder you could use for that job" and so there is an exchange made. it's not seen in this fashion, it's not structured, it's just people giving and helping eachother as friends - as part of a community. Sometimes, it's more official, with a direct work trade organised - but it's always on an individual basis, discussed when appropriate and used when necessairy.

I think the problem with a lot of money-less ideas is the structure and strictness of it - like just another currency... and the reason it works so well on the islands is because it's so informal - just everyone out to help everyone else.

So Jass - i totally understand where you're coming from, and it can be difficult to live without money in such a money hungry world - but there really are communties and societies out there doing it with a lot less than we would normally say we'd need. Maybe your jobs should start being more voluntary/barter jobs, instead of for money? it generally means they are more rewarding anyway, and taking money out of the equation heals relationships and provides honest/open dealerships.

Good luck!


heather's picture

I've worked many many many

I've worked many many many jobs on and off for the last 10 years, none of them that I actually enjoyed. I've been overworked, underpaid, harassed, unappreciated, mistreated....But the thing that keeps me sane, is knowing that after a couple of months, I can quit and travel for years. That I'll have enough money in my pocket to do as I wish, go where I want, have endless hours to paint, draw, write. Hospitality work, farm work and cleaning jobs will never be enjoyable work, but I prefer the freedom I get from it compared to a 9-5 year after year job.....And yes racism and intolerance still exist. They lied to me in school, I didn't realize how cruel the world was until I started exploring it....I've gotten too tired to fight....This last year of intolerance has made me give up....sad but true, I'm just happy to finally have a job again.

Jaap's picture

move on

hi Jass,

I have worked in many jobs, some good, some bad. but most were good, with good atmosphere, nice people, sufficient pay. those jobs are out there... you just have to find them. if you need to work for money, might as well enjoy it, that's my motto. if I feel I'm not alive anymore, I move on. I have done that in the past, and I'll do it again (moving overseas).
cut your losses, and find that true family-atmosphere!

big hugs

tammulinka's picture

to Jass!

hey Jass, so sorry for the bad experience... hope there're lots of comforting things waiting for you out there on the road.
i'm always had a great time volunteering at communities/retreat centres... i didn't get any money for it but lived well there and usually learned a great deal of things (for which i'd prob. have to pay elsewhere). of course you need to find a nice place, i didn't visit too many but i believe lots great nomad-friendly places exist:D
i guess i have no advice on the money front, all the money i ever got from my own work came from jobs that were allright but nothing that you'd die for.
sending you lots of hugs and love, and remember that what you're doing is amazing... it takes to be brave to be on the road, but it brings the most intense experiences... good and bad, all there to remind you that you're still alive.
i'm so glad you're alive.

Sma's picture

uhmm the thing that keeps me

uhmm the thing that keeps me sane is in a way being able to go to uk for a month and do a temp job somewhere..i know uk isn`t the most ideal place but wouldn`t be as hard as picking grapes maybe?