Monday, 5 October 2015

What To Do For Fun (Living The Moneyless Lifestyle)

Some people wonder what I do in my spare time and how it is possible to have fun with friends or do something romantic with a partner while living the moneyless lifestyle. For me this is a difficult and easy question at the same time, because living moneyless has become so automatic for me that I hardly ever feel like it is limiting me in any way. I also don't really desire doing things that cost money (even though I used to enjoy some of them), and I enjoy doing more with what is freely available. But whenever I do want something that costs money, it is an enriching experience because I get the opportunity to practice my creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, which is fun in itself.
So the basic idea is to list things you enjoy doing and then get creative and find ways to do them for free.

How to enjoy your spare time by yourself or with friends
Depending on what you like to do, there are probably several ways to get it for free (or at least to try). You can try to get it sponsored if you combine it with doing something good for the world and telling people about it (free publicity). Or you can donate your time, skills or other goods in exchange for what you want (trade). And finally, you may just get things for free for no reason (or because people like you), because there are still plenty of kindhearted people out there who are not afraid of helping their fellow humans, even when there is no obvious personal gain. Here are some activities you may enjoy with some suggestions of how to realize them without spending money:
If you enjoy reading, make sure you keep an eye out for Amazon's free kindle books. You can find books on any topic there for download. If you enjoy the outdoors, you can go for walks in nature. If you enjoy watching movies, there are plenty of them to watch for free on YouTube (such as this brilliant film: The Peaceful Warrior). Perhaps you can even trade some of your time in exchange for watching movies at the cinema or at a Film Festival. Film Festivals often look for volunteers to help organize the event, who can then watch as many movies as they like (when not working). If you enjoy horse riding, you can volunteer at a riding school, become a trail ride guide or volunteer at a local farm. Sometimes horse owners need help in taking care of their horse(s) too. If you enjoy retreats and meditation, you can join a free Vipassana course and give back by serving as a volunteer a couple of times (cooking, cleaning, organizing). This way of giving back even gives you free food, housing and personal development in the meantime! If you want to travel abroad, but you don't like camping or couchsurfing and want to stay at hotels, you can even try to organize that. Travel by biking, walking or hitchhiking there and ask hotels if you can stay in their simplest room in exchange for an extensive review on major websites or other types of free publicity. And of course make sure you enter into competitions where you can win trips abroad and other things (plus improve your creative skills even further whilst coming up with catchy ideas that stand out).
Obviously there are many ways to get things for free that would normally cost money. But personally, I have found that I get most enjoyment from experiences that do not involve a third person who is trying to make money. A walk in nature, a picnic in the forest or on the beach, swimming in a lake, playing with a dog, enjoying a good conversation with friends, meditating, or helping others are some of my favorite things to do. And they don't cost any money.
Oh, and if you enjoy treasure hunting (and who doesn't?), then make sure to take your friends on a dumpster dive or collect some edibles in the forest. Afterwards, you can share a great meal with what you found.

And in winter, don't forget to go sleighing with your friends!

If there is no winter where you live, just enjoy the sun.

Watch the stars, lightning and dance in the rain. Or just dance.

How to spend romantic time with your partner
What could be more romantic than a picnic somewhere in a beautiful, natural setting? Or a romantic candlelit dinner at home? Unless you prefer going to a restaurant. In that case, I would suggest you befriend some restaurant owners and tell them about your challenge. Ask them how you could get a meal for two in exchange for helping out in other ways than payment. Make sure you give some suggestions to avoid confusion: Perhaps you can source some ingredients for them (from dumpsters or farms); ingredients they need on a regular basis. Or you can help with washing dishes in busy times and earn a dinner coupon instead of a wage. Or maybe you can train the staff and give helpful tips on customer service. Whatever your skills may be, think about what might be an interesting proposition from the perspective of the restaurant owner. And try to stick with smaller (non-chain) restaurants, where the manager is usually also the owner and therefore fully in charge. Also, don't blog about it without their permission, so be clear about offering anonymity if this is important to them. Some restaurants may not be particularly keen on being known as one where people can get meals for free.

The rewards of the moneyless exchange
You might wonder: What is the difference between volunteering my time in exchange for experiences and getting a steady job and working for money? The difference is that the exchange is much more direct, which makes the experience much more valuable. You have literally "earned" this experience through a voluntary act of giving, and the other person has voluntarily responded to this by giving you the experience. The agreement is one of mutual trust, respect and completely voluntary for both parties. Money brings an element of force and control, which takes away from the experience of giving and receiving. When money is involved, there is often no risk of getting rejected; there is no personal exchange involved. You don't have to explain your drive and tell your story if you use money. You don't have to show anything of yourself other than your cash. You don't even need to put in any effort. You can be the most horrible person in the world, or the most kindhearted person in the world, but the price would still be the same (at least in many countries and stores). If you have enough money, you can get what you want no matter what else you bring to the table. You don't have to be a nice person or have any kind of skills.
However, if you trade with anything other than money, then all of those other things become very important. Your personality, drive, knowledge and skills become your currency. So every exchange becomes rewarding, because it is direct proof that you are valued as a person and as a member of society. When you give it a try, you will notice the difference. The experience will be more rewarding and it will be much easier to experience gratitude, because you put a direct effort in with a particular intention. And the reward is very clear throughout and is usually instantly given after you put in the effort.
Also, you add the fun factor of creativity and thinking outside the box when not using money. And after a few successful attempts, you will start to believe that anything is possible (because it is). It removes the boundaries that we may have put on our thinking. It opens our minds (and hearts). And it makes us much more aware of what really matters. You will find yourself becoming more selective of what you really want to experience and what really matters to you. And you will focus more on experiences than on stuff, because even though nothing lasts, experiences can change you and expand you; they can make you a better, happier person. Even if you lose all your stuff, you can never lose your experiences.

Money and meaning
Remember: The less you need, the more freedom you have. And more freedom means more happiness. This doesn't mean you should deny yourself things you want in life (on the contrary), but be open to the possibility that the things you think you need have been ways to fill a void; and that void can only be filled with true meaning and purpose. Meaningful relationships and purposeful living is what life is all about, and those are not for sale. With money no longer clouding your view, this will get very clear.

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  1. I love your writings! I have been looking for more zeitgeist related inspiration and your blog has it in spades, i have come to a more minimalist lifestyle through parkour. Once i realized i could have more fun climbing a tree than buying some material item or cheap entertainment service, i had effectively jumped down the rabbit hole. Thank you for your inspiring posts! 😊

    1. Thank you, Chloe :)
      And great to hear you are enjoying life on a similar path!

  2. You writings show money is not a necessity to live a happy life. They challenge the mind to think differently than what we're accustomed/wired to since our childhood. We are always told we need to earn money to lead a life, whole world revolves around money etc. These articles give whole another perspective. Even we may not be able to live 100% without the money but your writings definitely guide how little we need to live a happy life. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Yerri!
      Letting go of the money-mindset is definitely one of the most freeing things we can do for ourselves. But you are right: Most societies teach us a very different story.