THE MAN WHO QUIT MONEY

As I was walking out the door last night, I found Ross watching a video on the BBC about this book: The Man Who Quit Money.  Or, as the BBC adorably calls it, “The American Who Quit Money.”

Have you heard about it yet?  Here’s the set-up:

A true story about a man who gave up his life savings ($30) in 2000, and walked away from money — totally. For the past 10 years, he has been living in a cave in Utah.

Shocking I know.  More shocking?  He’s happy.  Very happy.

What’s particularly fascinating is that the author actually knew his subject, Daniel Suelo, before he gave up money.  According to the BBC video (which is pretty short and you should totally watch), Suelo now lives on “mulberries and wild onions, scavenges roadkill raccoons and squirrels,” and also engages in some good old-fashioned dumpster diving. He doesn’t work. He doesn’t do food stamps. He doesn’t pay taxes.

Being a person who is constantly stressed about money, even when there is enough, I paused behind Ross and watched the video over his shoulder.  “There goes Ross and his super hippie videos,” was my first thought. And then: “that sounds … incredibly … liberating.”

Usually it takes me months, years even, to buy buzzy new books. Terry Gross usually has to talk me into them.  Hunger Games? Just read the first one. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Ditto. Harry Potter? Guys, I still haven’t done it yet. I know. Someday, I’m going to have to lie to my children about that.

But I just ordered a copy of The Man Who Quit Money.  Because I’m utterly fascinated with this idea. I think it would ultimately be a very lonely life, one that would probably prevent the big things (having kids), as well as the little things (having friends over for wine, going to the movies, etc.).

And yet …

Don’t you have to wonder what it would be like?  To just completely opt out?

I’ll tell you guys how it is once I get in and start reading. In the meantime, Daniel Suelo operates a blog, as well as a website: Living Without Money. There’s a pretty fascinating Q&A section there, where Suelo answers questions like: “Do you get sick from roadkill?” “What do you do for transportation?” “What will you do when you get old?” But, my favorite question / answer combo was: “How long do you plan to live this way?”

Here’s what he wrote:

“I have taken no vows. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, and I’m open to anything. But the more I live this way, the more absurd it seems to go back to living in the prison of money. I was unhappy under money and I’m happy free of it. Why would I trade happiness for unhappiness again? Why would I trade freedom for slavery?”

Would you ever quit money — if even just temporarily?