Our consumerist society is nearly always in full shopping flow. But one man has bucked the trend and has successfully managed to live for a full year with no money at all. Mark Boyle, once a businessman, decided to give up his job, possessions and money and live in a rusting caravan after watching the Oscar-winning movie Gandhi.
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A year on, the 30-year-old has vowed to continue his pauper lifestyle for good, insisting it was the best decision he has ever made. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Boyle said: "It's been fantastic. I never really knew how much stress and worry money brought to my life until I was free of it. People often ask me if I miss my old world... stress, traffic jams, bank statements, utility bills... why would I miss any of that? Now I've tasted life without money I never want to go back to the way I lived before."
Mark survives with a one-acre plot of land that provides him with his seasonal vegetables and forages for mushrooms, nuts and berries. Supermarket skips are also a handy source of free sustenance. It was no walk in the park and Boyle's relationship with student Clare fell by the wayside as a result of his dramatic change in lifestyle.
He explained: "Even the simplest tasks, like having a shower or flushing the loo, become incredibly time-consuming. Washing my clothes in a sink of cold water, using laundry liquid made by boiling some nuts on my stove, can take two hours. But I never got bored and I rarely felt lonely. I'd go for walks, cycle, make a fire. I've learned so much about food, about nature, about myself."
And though he has written a book about his experience, Mark insists the thought of making money is already causing stress. There is no doubt that Mr Boyle's lifestyle choice is an admirable one, but how many of us could manage such a dramatic change?