What is life without money

What is it like to live without money?

It's raining. Water. It's free I think. Herbs are free, soil and mushrooms are free, the air, berries, leaves and trees. I see people who put money on a counter for vases and shoes and later complain over coffee that somehow there is never anything left in their account. I roll my eyes and think: It's my own fault. Do you need another shoe?

And think of all the years I've lived without money and vases. Of air, leftovers, exchange and water.

It was 25 years ago when it started with the voluntarily empty wallet. An old squatted office building in London, Rosebery Avenue 99 (today Amnesty International resides there), with 25 rooms, we lived upstairs, downstairs a bunch of so-called peace punks, i.e. punks who can do without a beer bottle and rumble. Occupying was a normal way of life in England at the time. If you had no money, you occupied, and by God these weren't just punks, but also mothers with children, families and so on. And the peace punks liked to get together to form anarchic substitute families.

With bulky waste tables, couches and kettles (for donations) we opened a Vegan Cafe. Who knows? Maybe a Seattle hippie scrawled his idea for a multi-financial coffee empire in squatter ethnic style on a pad. And read “Moby Dick” in between, impressed by the helmsman.

At five in the morning a few of us went to Spitalfields Market every day and picked up scraps that the vendors had left behind. Good goods, just not beautiful. Not just a few lousy carrots and ole fennel. No, sacks full of beets, courgettes and sweet potatoes. We filled the zucchini, cooked ratatouille, soups, pumpkin stews and so on. The food was in the cafe for a donation, which was then invested in Nescafé, soy milk, tea bags, soap and other stuff that wasn't lying around on the street. We lived with no money in our pockets. Only, I have to admit with shame, when the greed for Mars was too great, we scrounged a pound at the Angel subway station and bought chocolate for it.

That was all a long time ago, but is that still possible today? Well, I meet followers all over the world. And thanks to the internet, everything is better organized now. There is the Food Diver, for example, these are boys and girls who - as soon as it gets dark - fish the good things out of the rubbish bins in the big supermarkets. Expiry date exceeded, but still good for a long time. Her credo: "For some it's rubbish, for us it's gifts." Or the huge couch surfing community, which offers free sleeping places (mostly sofas, sometimes really great beds or just flat sleeping mats). The guest naturally helps with the house cleaning or repairs the crooked closet. The host, for his part, also has overnight accommodations all over the world.

And me? I'm still trying to wander the world without money. After all, there are big swap sites: For example, I paint a chest of drawers (thank God I can paint) and get spaghetti with the best pesto sauce in the world and a backpack for free.

And otherwise? Of course I'm scared sometimes too. The fear of lying in the hospital completely unexpectedly and having 6,800 francs in debt. But maybe I could clean it off, work it off, what do I know? On the other hand, I get heartburn when I see happy families, father of ties, day at the office, mother cuddles children's cheeks. And then this mother of all people tells me how beautiful she finds my freedom. If only she could break out. Just two days. Yes, I think longer would be difficult. Because for most of us security comes before love, sex and happiness. I am outlawed. I have no securities. Instead, a ton of adventure in the free backpack. It's true: freedom also means fear. Only over time the panic, the existential killer monster, gets smaller and smaller. You just can't wake up at four in the morning. The hour of the spleen is also the hour of the devil. It washes up everything bad.