See How One Man Moved Into The Wilderness And Turned His Back On Currency For Good


Photo: BBC

More than a decade ago, Daniel Suelo, just shy of 40 at the time, took his entire life savings – $30 in cash – and dumped it all inside a phone booth. Then he turned his back on currency for good. 

Living off the land, Suelo’s managed to survive by bobbing from cave to cave in Utah’s wilderness and foraging whatever food he needs to get by. 

As he told the BBC, his goal has always been simple: “To stay free from the illusion of money.”

A self-proclaimed cynic, Suelo suffered from clinical depression for years.

He began realising a cashless life was possible during a trip to Alaska.

'Eventually (my friend and I) split up and I decided to hitch all the way back to Moab, Utah, with $50 in my pocket, just to see if I could,' he writes.

'When I arrived in Moab, I had $25 left. Then I realised I had only used money for things I didn't need, like snacks and a beer. For the first time, I was seriously realising I could live totally moneyless.'

But his real inspiration came from a chance encounter with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala.

Here's how he describes the experience:

'(The Dalai Lama) recommended that everybody go back to where they were planted, instead of trying to find greener grass on the other side of the fence. This was syncing it for me. What good would it do for me to be a sadhu in India?

A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth, to return to the authentically profound principles of spirituality hidden beneath our own religion of hypocrisy, and be a sadhu there. This idea exhilarated me.'

Several months later, he turned his back on everything he knew and moved into the wild.

Mostly he camps in caves, but he's not opposed to accepting lodging from strangers. He also takes the occasional house-sitting gig.

For food, he harvests mulberries and wild onions, but roadkill is also on the menu.

Dumpsters are another common hunting ground.

No matter what, he accepts no welfare, food stamps or any form of government assistance.

On the bright side, this is his back yard.

Suelo writes pretty candidly about his life at his blog ZeroCurrency, using public computers whenever possible.

And now he's ready to share his lifestyle with the masses.

'He's not just sitting there on a hill becoming enlightened,' Sundreen told the BBC. 'He's really engaging with the world and he wants to get his message across. He doesn't imagine everyone living in a cave but he does imagine that money will become obsolete.'

From one extreme case of frugality to the next...

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