The Man Who Quit Money: An Interview with Daniel Suelo

“Money only exists if two or more people believe it exists.” – Daniel Suelo

When I first heard the story of Daniel Suelo, I was immediately intrigued. After all, Daniel lives entirely without money and has done so for the past 12 years. In 2000, he put his entire life savings in a phone booth, walked away, and has lived moneyless ever since. Most frequently, he lives in the caves and wilderness of Utah where he eats wild vegetation, scavenges roadkill, pulls food from dumpsters, and is sometimes fed by friends and strangers. Daniel proudly boasts that he does not take food stamps or government handouts.

I found myself very interested in hearing what he has learned from the experience and how it might inspire me in my own journey to live with fewer possessions. So I contacted Daniel to see if I could ask him a few questions about his life and what views on money and possessions have shaped his existence. He graciously agreed. This is how our conversation went:

1) Earlier this year, your story was documented in a book titled The Man Who Quit Money. I opened this interview with a brief introduction. Am I missing anything here Daniel? Anything I should be adding to help us get a better understanding of who you are and the life you have chosen to live?

I don’t care for the statement, “Daniel proudly boasts that he does not take food stamps or government handouts,” because it can be construed that I put myself above those who must take food stamps or government handouts. I don’t judge those who do. I merely mention that I don’t take government assistance for the sake of those who might think I’m living on their tax dollars. I do boast about having few possessions and no money, because it’s ironic fun to boast about nothing special (wild creatures, after all, have few possessions or money and it really feels like no big deal), and to boast about what the rest of our commercial society debases.

I will add that I do make a small exception to taking government handouts: I use the public library to maintain my blog, website, do emails, and read books. This does cause ire in people searching for loopholes in my lifestyle. In my blog comments, a woman once responded to their anger by declaring that she pays taxes and doesn’t use the library, and that she donates all her library time to me. Then they were quiet.

2) Thanks so much for taking the time for this interview. I find it interesting that so many of the articles highlighting your story include something similar to this line: Suelo “came from a good family and has been to college. He was not mentally ill, nor an addict. His decision appears to have been an act of free will by a competent adult.” So, for starters, you are clearly not a crazy man. Correct?

A crazy man does not think himself crazy, so my opinion on the matter is meaningless :-) People will have to judge my sanity for themselves.

But it would be nice if we lived in a world that considered it crazy to cause harm to ourselves, others, and our environment or to praise those who do cause such harm. Then we’d have to say we live in a truly crazy civilization. A sane society would consider it crazy to kill living things and destroy food and water supplies in order to amass something that nobody can eat or drink, like gold, silver, and money. It’s crazy to sacrifice reality to the idol of illusion.

3) The thinking that led to your journey into willful moneylessness evolved by degrees during your travels. Could you share with us some of the foundational beliefs that have evolved in your life that led you to make this decision to give up money entirely?

My first thought of living moneyless came when I was a child. In my Evangelical Christian upbringing, I wondered why, if we were followers of Jesus, we didn’t practice his teachings–namely giving up possessions and doing not for the sake of reward (money and barter), but giving freely and receiving freely.

When I left home for college, I studied other religions and found that all the world’s major religions teach giving up possessions and doing not for the sake of reward. If all the separated witnesses are saying the same thing, it must be true. Ironically, few practice the one thing they all agree upon in word. What would happen if we actually practiced this stuff, I thought.

My dad also took us camping a lot, and I was a nature freak. I couldn’t help but see how perfectly balanced nature was, and it ran on no money. Why, then, couldn’t we?

As an adult, I thought it through more thoroughly. Nature’s economy is a pay-it-forward economy. This means one sows, another reaps, ad infitum. For example, a bear takes a raspberry, and the raspeberry bush demands nothing in return. The Bear takes with zero sense of obligation, zero guilt. The bear then poops somewhere else, not only providing food for soil organisms, but also propagating raspberry seeds. You never see 2 wild creatures consciously bartering. There are no accountants worrying what the bush will get in return. This is exactly why it works, because nobody knows how it works! There is no consciousness of credit and debt in nature. Consciousness of credit and debt is knowledge of good and evil, valuing one thing and devaluing another. Consciousness of credit and debt is our fall from Grace. Grace means gratis, free gift.

My next impetus for living moneyless came from observing the world economy and politics. Do our economy and politics function well? It’s self-evident, isn’t it?

My next impetus for living moneyless was to find authenticity for myself. To do out of one’s heart is to be real. To do for somebody, expecting something from them, is ulterior motivation, which is to not be real, which is to prostitute oneself.

My last impetus for living moneyless was to heal myself. Okay, I guess I’ll talk about my craziness. To heal myself was to first see myself as crazy, and only them could I become free of craziness. I was suffering clinical depression. Mental illness is rooted in having unnecessary, thoughts and to let go of unnecessary thoughts is to free oneself from mental illness. This is basic Buddhist philosophy. It is the philosophy of all the ancient religions. To cling to thoughts is to possess thoughts and this outwardly manifests itself in having unnecessary physical possessions. We accumulate what we don’t need out of fear and anxiety. This is true craziness. Unnecessary thoughts and unnecessary physical possessions (including possessing people) are inextricably linked. To accumulate unnecessary possessions is not to live in abundance, as we’re led to believe, but is to live in scarcity. Why would we have too much stuff if we believed the universe was abundant? Why would we worry if we weren’t crazy? Worry is simply lack of faith, faith that everything we need is in the here and now.

4) Your spirituality is clearly an important part of your journey. In what ways, have your spiritual beliefs strengthened you for this journey and lifestyle?

I mentioned above that this is about faith. Faith is eliminating unnecessary thought, trusting that everything we need comes as we need it, whether it is the right thoughts or the right possessions. Faith is being grounded in the Eternal Present. This is the common truth of the world’s religions.

5) What are some of the most important lessons about money/people/society you have personally learned over the past 12 years? And did any of these lessons surprise you?

Most important is that I’ve learned our true nature lives moneyless, giving freely and receiving freely. Even the most staid CEO is human underneath, and gives and receives freely with friends and family. By cultivating this nature in myself, I can see it in others, and it can be cultivated in others. When our real selves are cultivated, the gift economy is cultivated, our unreal selves (based on ulterior motivation) and all the nonsense drops away.

I have been surprised at the intensely angry reaction thousands of people have had at my living moneyless. It used to bother me, but now I realize that anger doesn’t come from people’s true nature, but from the facade they build up. The facade is threatened by reality. Who wants to hear that the basis of our commercial civilization is an illusion? Money only exists if two or more people believe it exists. Money is not a physical substance, but merely a belief in the head. Money is credit, and credit literally means belief (e.g. credibility). Money is literally a creed, the most agreed-upon creed, or religion, in the world. And what fundamentalists won’t get angry if you question their creed?

6) The reality of today’s society is that most people will never make the full leap into moneylessness like you have. Do you believe that your lifestyle still offers important inspiration for individuals and families? And if so, in what ways?

As I said, we all live moneyless at our core, in our everyday actions with friends, family, and even strangers. People tell me almost every day that they find living this way inspiring and even comforting. Even if people don’t intend on giving up money, they can still find that it isn’t the end of the world if they lose their money. If you are not religious, it is comforting to be reminded that life has flourished in balance for millions of years without money, and why should it fall apart without money now? Nature evolved you from an amoeboid to a human over millions of years, with zero money, so why should nature give up on you now? How is it that, when natural disasters (tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis) hit towns and cities, people suddenly forget about money and start helping each other? It’s comforting that we have a true nature beneath the falseness and ulterior motivation of commercial civilization.

And if you are religious, it’s comforting to know there is profound truth at the core of your religion (whether Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist, Sikh) that actually works if you practice it, that it isn’t all a lie. If we don’t practice the core truth of giving up possessions and ulterior motivation that every religion teaches, then of course our religion becomes a destructive lie, as we see all around us.

7) What are the practical steps individuals can take to free themselves from their pursuit (and bondage) to money – even if they will never live entirely moneyless?

People get overwhelmed unless they realize that all the tools they have are here and now, and steps can be taken right here and now.

Everybody, no matter how entrenched they are in the money system, can freely give and freely receive. Freely giving and freely receiving is our true nature, is true human-ness. And everybody is human. As I said earlier, it’s about being real, cultivating our true nature, and everything else falls into place, and all the falsehood drops away, no matter what station in life people are in. Even if somebody is totally skeptical about what I am doing, I challenge them to make it their goal to be totally real, with themselves and with every human interaction, and I propose they will then know whether or not I’m living a pipe dream.

Somebody once commented that our cities and towns could not function without money. But I say they and the world can’t function right now in the present system.

Take classic American suburbia, for example. People don’t know their neighbors, and everybody has their own cars, computers, TVs, lawn mowers, washing machines, etc, etc, as well as stockpiles of food and land they could grow food on. All we need is right here, but the only thing that’s holding us back is not physical reality, but belief, dogma. What if we actually spoke to our neighbors and agreed to share, like we learned in kindergarten and in church? What if we realized we could share cars, computers, washing machines, have dinners together, etc, which would not only save us expense, but would save expense on the environment, and, as a bonus, put smiles on our lonely faces? Then cities and technology would start serving us, rather than us serving them. But what’s holding us back? Not reality, not scarcity, but only our thinking!

As far as going all the way and living without money, people often ask me to teach them survival skills. Often I feel like I don’t know many skills, that it’s really about determination and getting up the confidence more than actual skill. Sometimes I tell folks to imagine something really silly: what if somebody offered you a million dollars to live without money for a year? I guarantee most people would figure out how to do it, skilled or no. This is about finding a determination, a motivation greater than a million dollars!

8) I’m curious how concerned you are about spreading this message of living free from money. I know you had the book written about you, you maintain your website, and you have agreed to this interview and various others. Is there a message you believe you have inside that is important to get out? And do you look forward to your story continuing to spread?

Yes, I now have a strong urge to spread the message. At first I just wanted to live my own life, whether or not anybody else took notice or not. Then I realized a message was errupting in me that I could no more suppress than an erupting volcano. Our society is not sustainable and we are not only heading rapidly into, but most the world has already reached disaster, due directly to our being trapped by our own beliefs. I want to shout this out to the world. But talk isn’t enough. It must be talk with action, right now. We could debate whether or not Paul Revere was trying to gain attention for himself, or we could simply take notice that the British are invading and we have to get off our butts!

Thanks so much for your time Daniel, I really do appreciate it. Your experience is unique – at least, in our society. As a result, it provides each of us an opportunity to reevaluate your own opinions and views on how we choose to live. And for that, I am very thankful.

To discover more about Daniel’s specific journey or find the answers to the questions swirling in your head, I’ll refer you to the FAQ on his website.

But before you leave, what parts of Daniel’s story resonated most with you? Did you discover any new insight or inspiration during the interview? Let us know in the comment section below. I’m interested to hear how his story is challenging others.

Joshua Becker

About Joshua Becker

Writer. Inspiring others to live more by owning less.
Bestselling author of Simplify & Clutterfree with Kids.

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Comments

  1. HeidiSue says

    I love the idea of sharing things like lawn mowers and cars and such, and in fact, my mom and a neighbor lady shared a lawn mower for a few years. The question I have about sharing such things is, where does the responsibility lie when they need repair? If four families share a lawnmower, and it breaks down…? A car needs new tires. Who chooses the brand, etc? (Of course, they would pool their money to pay for the new tires)
    This way of living requires deep levels of trust and mutual commitment between families. I don’t know if it’s possible. It has been tried, where early Christians pooled all their belongings and no one was in need in their community. I think monks have this kind of thing, too. Where they all live in community, each contributing, and each receiving what he needs…from the leader.
    Does such a lifestyle require a top-down structure? With everyone pitching in, and then select individuals divvying it all up and distributing it? And how does it stop from denigrating into the abuses of communism, where the higher ups get everything and the masses stand in bread lines…?
    All very interesting to think about and chew on, and wonder, and question.

    • mdavidw says

      Think more about people in very small primitive tribal situations. They live and help each other out. They are mainly extended families that provide for one another. Yeah one side may be more lazy or incapable of contributing, but they share with them anyway. It takes communication and compassion.
      An interesting movie that deals with that dilemma you raised is “The Gods’ Must be Crazy”.

  2. says

    I love the point he makes that if we believe there is abundance, we should live in scarcity. This man has some incredible perspectives that I’ll ponder as I continue my simple living journey.

  3. PJ v Staden says

    Something defenitely went terribly wrong somewhere down history with the way we perceive life. Even religion doesn’t make sense. You go anywhere in the world and ask any religion who created nature, and the answer will be “God.” Nature works the same all around the planet and everyone can associate with it, thus is everyone looking at the same God, but with many different books and names for God, causing the human race to live in discord with one another. If we would to throw away all religious books, give God one name “He Is” and live in peace with one another, wouldn’t any god of love be more happy with us, than clinging to books and live as we do now. It looks like all religious books have been designed at the same time to saw discord by creating “enemies” in the human race. Even the Bible states that the greatest commandment, “love,” contains the whole law and all the prophesies, so if every human take on just this commandment, why do we need the books? And no name was given God in this commandment. It only states “the Lord your God.” And with “enemies,” hunting season is open to war and grab. Religion as we have it is the core reason for the capitalist dog-eats-dog systems in place today. Our real truth is schattered into bits and pieces amongst which we are divided, where everyone is made believe that his own bit is the whole truth. The way this man is living is not necessarily the right way, but it does proof that something is wrong with our perception of the truth. After all, life is an invitation to death as we die anyway, so what purpose or benefit is there in gathering without sharing if nothing leaves with you? Our purpose is to work, in whatever we choose to do, and share it with fellow men. A great commandment, forsure. For how else can’t there then be abundance?

    • Lyle Shaulis says

      “…what purpose or benefit is there in gathering without sharing if nothing leaves with you?” Well said.

    • Fred says

      Actually not all religions have an active god, that can be prayed to, asked for special favors or considers humans to be extra special beyand all else. Varieties of Buddhism and Taoism come to mind.
      And I must add it is the Christians, Jews and Muslims who seem most determined to turn the planet into a lifeless hulk, on way or another. That is a pretty bold generalization I’ll admit.

  4. Roy says

    I am presently reading ‘The Moneyless Man’ by Mark Boyle and came across this interview. I am so encouraged and uplifted by Daniels story and his clear thinking.
    I’ve found it comforting, surprising, and empowering to see that there are so many people looking for change and a better way of doing things whether through UBI, the Free World Charter, Zeitgeist movement etc..
    In my teens I knew that we were making a mess of the environment but I felt I couldn’t do much about it/was inarticulate and could only do my tiny bit re. saving energy, ‘leaving only footprints and taking only photos’ etc. I’m late middle age now and only now do I realise that there are many many more people that want to see a better way of living and caring for this amazing world.

    • Jeff ulland says

      the man says he survives WITHOUT money,,, THE TRUTH IS HE SURVIVES ON THINGS PROVIDED BY THE MONEY OF OTHERS……EATING OUT OF DUMPSTERS LIBRARY TO NAME JUST A COUPLE……

      • Fiona Cee says

        So? he still lives without money, whatever way!

        And why do you need to YELL by capitalising.

        I think you are envious!

  5. Kevin says

    I think he misunderstands the nature of money. Money simply makes barter and exchange easier. It’s a tool. Joe has 3 cows but lacks apples and would like some. Sally has two bushels of apples and one cow. She doesn’t need another cow, but would like a sewing machine. The company that makes sewing machines isn’t interested in cows or apples. Money allows Joe to buy apples from Sally and in turn she buys her sewing machine. There’s nothing evil or sinister about it. It’s the love of power and control that comes with money that people need to learn to do without.

    • Archie says

      The observation that money is just a tool, is entirely accurate. Unfortunately, it is like we, as humans, have gotten on a train and then forgotten to get off. We, like all animals, need a food, shelter and clothing to survive. The problem is that by the time we reached a point where we had an adequate amount of security, we forgot why we were doing what we were doing. We had reached a level of skill at hunting and gathering to adequately provide for ourselves, but by this point we had formed a habit. We continue to hunt and gather well beyond a sane point. It is why people collect things. They collect items that they don’t need in order to survive. Pens, lunch boxes, cars, money…just look on Ebay. We have spent millions of years forming a habit of hunting and gathering and we can’t seem to stop. Ask yourself “at what point do I have enough?” Is it when you have enough resources to last a day? A week? A month? A lifetime”? A thousand lifetimes? Many people have this amount of resources and still pursue more. They forgot why they got on the train. What is the point? It is important to recognize that nature has programed us for survival. This is not the same thing as happiness. We now have the luxury to back off pursuit of resources for survival, and pursue happiness, and as the experts have now long since established beyond a basic, small amount of income, we do not get happier as we accumulate more resources.

  6. says

    Those things he said about what we learned in kindergarten and church – that of sharing. He said so many pertinent things. I’ve minimized, down-sized and eliminated a lot in the past year, but I just don’t know if I could go this far, save a natural disaster as Daniel had mentioned. He presented me with a lot of “thought-food”.

  7. George-Anna Lovett says

    So…what happens to the money made from selling the book, which cost money to make, about him living without money? And doesn’t selling a book, that cost money to make, about this way of living, contradict the whole principle behind living without money?

    • Joy says

      Mark Boyle was the one who wrote the book, had it published, and makes money from the sales. Daniel Suelo did not have any part except the book is written about him.

    • álvaro says

      I think here he prioritized his inner urge for sharing his thoughts and let people know about this way of living. To produce and publish a book costs money, but I believe you should also be able to find it online (couldn’t so far).

  8. Leah says

    “and is sometimes fed by friends and strangers. Daniel proudly boasts that he does not take food stamps or government handouts.”

    Basically sounds like the same thing to me. Relying on other people to feed you, either way.

    And like Kevin said I think he misunderstands what money is and what it’s for. He asks, if nature can operate without money, why can’t we? Well, we can. Hundreds, thousands of years ago we operated on trade and barter. You wanted some of your neighbour’s chicken’s eggs, so you’d trade them for some of the oranges off your tree (as a very basic example). That’s not prostituting yourself. It’s just swapping, exchanging. Giving and receiving.

    Money is just an extension of that. You might want some of your neighbour’s eggs but they don’t want any of your oranges. They have their own orange tree. What then? How do you obtain some eggs? You have these tokens – which can be exchanged for *anything* with their set value. Your neighbour will happily take those because then she can use them to swap with the guy around the corner who grows tomatoes, and he doesn’t want any of her eggs. To have the tokens made from something rare and valuable, like silver or gold or whatnot, ensures not any Joe Blow can go and chop down a tree and make himself a thousand wooden tokens because then the tokens would lose all their value. I agree the way money has evolved now – it’s really not connected to the value of gold or any other metal and often has no physical manifestation and is just numbers in a bank’s computing system – makes me a little uneasy. That is how banks collapsed during the GFC and people lost all their money. The numbers in the computers were there but the banks didn’t actually have the money. That is how banks deal with money which is a problem though, not money itself.

    All that doesn’t take into consideration that you really do need money to live in our society. This guy is only able to do what he does because of other people’s money. He might not be getting benefits, but he evidently relies on other people for meals at times, he uses public resources like libraries, etc. I’m not saying he *shouldn’t*, I’m just pointing out that he’s still using money, just not his money. Also what happens if he needs dental work or elective surgery? I don’t know about the US, but in Australia, while you can get necessary health care rather quickly in the public system (again, other people’s money), dental waiting lists are 2+ years long in some states and if you want treatment sooner you have to pay for it. Same goes for elective surgery (which, while it might not be life-saving, can still be significantly life-improving).

    That doesn’t even touch on raising a family, or travelling, or what have you… things you can do with less money than a lot of people think, but still in the end need money. Things he might not want to do but a lot of people do.

    • Truth says

      You are missing the point.. He is saying that this is how society SHOULD BE. He knows society today isn’t as open to letting him use public resources and handing him food.What he is saying though is even a barter system is quid pro quo. casein point, joe has 100 cows and counting, bob has a chicken but needs a cow. Bob goes to joe and asks for a cow, joe gives him a cow because bob needed a cow. Joe doesn’t want or need a chicken so he puts his ego aside and gives for nothing, but love and unity. The reference to a lady saying she doesn’t use the library and pays taxes so he can, was an unequivocal example of how we ought to think.. Greed and competition and a desire for possession is why we would care of something as futile as this man using a library. A lot of us pay to service libraries and never use them so what difference does it make that people who don’t pay for them use them? It’s our illusion to connecting with money over humans that is the problem. We hate helping because we work hard and even though we will squander our money on beers or whatever we get more happiness in that than helping a person have food to eat. Honestly in this society you do need money for dentist visits, medical illness, surgery ect.

      • francine says

        “Greed and competition and a desire for possession is why we would care of something as futile as this man using a library.”

        Well said :-)

    • Ruth says

      Yes no matter how you look at it, it all very well to say live money less but very idealistic not practical unrealistic. At the end of the day whatever you do you are using reserves if something or someone else. If the whole world lived by his philosophy, there would be no buildings no technology no transport systems no great engineering feats no medical or pharmaceutical advances etc etc. They just would not exist because they came about in the first place because someone somewhere had more ability, better ideas, a more creative mind, more determination to pursue a broader vision of what could be than those around them. There will always be those who are greater or lesser than yourself.

      • B.sankarasubramaniam. says

        The whole idea of moneyless living is living in harmony with the nature. Expecting something in return always has created a need for a tool to remind me that I owe someone or someone owes me. This idea of mutual indebtedness (a virtue in our society ) has created this institution of money.
        GIFTING each other with what one has eliminates the need for begging and stealing and importantly no direct obligation for the person getting a gift to return in kind or otherwise immediately. In India festivals incorporate this idea of gifting never expecting in return. JUST GIVE AWAY – will feed everyone in this world. UTOPIA.
        A man with a new idea will simply gift his idea and another with labor and so on.
        In fact competition in real world creates different kind of same things and a lot of resources is wasted. Our garbage is proof.

  9. Judith Dennis says

    Some of what he says is fine and I have a lot of agreement to this way of life. But he does not mention people take advantage when you lend, share, barter, and extend a helping hand and try to further the group cause even when living in a household together it seems people cannot be decent with each other. How about the greed, hate, and living among this kind of chaos? Explain some of how to live with the others in the world.

  10. Sarvo says

    Love or money, love or money, love or money? Go out and ask hundreds of people what they want; love or money. The hallmark greeting card received wisdom of the culture dictates their answer. They will say love. Then watch their behavior for awhile. Actions speak more loudly than words.

  11. says

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  12. says

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    I mean The Man Who Quit Money: An Interview with
    Daniel Suelo | Becoming Minimalist is a little boring.
    You ought to look at Yahoo’s home page and see how they create news headlines to grab people to click.
    You might try adding a video or a picture or two to grab readers interested about everything’ve got to say.
    In my opinion, it could make your website a little bit more interesting.

    • Fiona Cee says

      you are missing the point. He is a simple man with a simple mantra.

      Foof up the website and he might as well piss his message into
      the wind and be like all the rest.

      What is wrong with simple? We all need more of it!

  13. says

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  14. says

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  15. says

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  16. Anne says

    Hi, I just wanted to say THANK YOU :) I’ve been depressed for a long time and I am currently going through a spring clean of the house phase. I realised I was unhappy because of the idea of acquiring things were actually starting to take a toll on my health, relationships in general. Its amazing how possessions can actually imprison you and to stop, re evaluate what you’re actually doing in life isn’t quite working out, you end up having a ‘lightbulb moment’ Your article is one of those lightbulb moments, so thank you indeed!

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  18. Charles Tripi says

    This makes more sense than anything I have ever read. I am presently reading Small is Beautiful by E.F. Schumacher, and I’d say Daniel sums up the whole book up in this brief interview. He does his biblical name justice, giving us a vision and yet a clear way out of it. Truly inspiring. Thank you Daniel, and thank you Joshua for the interview.

  19. Gene Trevino says

    I totally identify with Daniel. I have been homeless a few times. The latest time was two years ago. There are many reasons people are homeless. It could be from finances, divorce or the death of a loved one, disasters from nature or fire, floods, etc. In my case, it was for finances and peace of mind from abuse from family members.

    Daniel Suelo is also a prepper and a survivalist. He is an human rights activist. He chose his own human identity when he went moneyless. Our society has raised the worship and love for money to the state of godhood. We make effigies to money in the form of sky scrapers and images of the bull.

    We have FICO scores that mean more to people in terms of credit worth that their own human worth, which has been lowered to the level of that worthless piece of paper. The Dollar.

    Daniel Suelo is that lonely voice crying in the wilderness. People need to be ready and prepared for disaster when the dollar collapses.

    When I was houseless, ( I lived in my car at the time) I didn’t have a sleeping bag. I had blankets and slept in my little car. The seat would recline , but I could never fully stretch my legs. The need for proper sleep and stretching of the my legs was so great, I slept under a tree, under the stars, and on top of an ant colony. I slept great that night.

    I currently live my daughter and her husband. I clean the house and maintain the property in exchange for being here. My car was towed away for expired plates and parking fines. Losing the car was a blow to me, but I felt somewhat relieved. I also gave away some musical equipment which I could not keep or transport.

    I have my own little room. I sleep on a sleeper sofa. I sleep on the floor and use the cushions and blankets to lie on. It’s comfortable and it reminds of shelterless days.

    Both of my parents are native American Indian. They told me stories of the Great Depression and how they were poor and happy in those days. My mother was raised on and off a reservation and lived a hard life bouncing from home to home.

    As a child, she would take me to work with her in the fields picking fruit and vegetables. She showed me the kind of plants you could eat if I needed to.

    That came in handy when I was homeless.

    I ate cactus nopalitos and other plants. I also dumpster dived. Yes, my pride was cast off and ate food from the trash. I made about two dollars a day from recycling. Sometimes less. Once, I found a shopping cart abandoned and took the contents back to my place.

    It was full of sodas, chips, and shaving blades. what a blessing.

    Daniel’s story is one of hope. If I have to, I can do it again.

    Daniel, or anybody who would like to share, you can email me at
    leegenix@yahoo.com

    Regards and Peace to all.

  20. Wild Tiger says

    We would have a much better world without money and it could be done within a few weeks. The governments should start printing money day and night and hand out to everyone as much as they can carry.

  21. Terri Wojcik Christian says

    One of my lifelong dreams is to have a self supporting house in the woods… along a river so I could generate energy from that, solar and wind energy…have a green house so I could grow fruits and vegetables all year round…chickens for eggs…and the list goes on…the only thing I wouldn’t be able to do is kill and butcher an animal…I admire this man for what he is doing and I get that my dream isn’t even close to what he is doing but it is still a dream…I honestly want to get out of this society and all of it’s commercialism and politics…I’m sure this is not the way the world was meant to be but it is…If I could have my dream I’d be happy and I applaud Daniel for doing what he is doing…Nice read… :D

  22. CherylSTHLM says

    I really enjoyed reading Daniel’s thoughts. Three passages resonated especially well with me:

    1) “There is no consciousness of credit and debt in nature. Consciousness of credit and debt is knowledge of good and evil, valuing one thing and devaluing another.”

    2) “To accumulate unnecessary possessions is not to live in abundance, as we’re led to believe, but is to live in scarcity. … Why would we worry if we weren’t crazy? Worry is simply lack of faith, faith that everything we need is in the here and now.”

    3) “…our true nature lives moneyless, giving freely and receiving freely. Even the most staid CEO is human underneath, and gives and receives freely with friends and family. By cultivating this nature in myself, I can see it in others, and it can be cultivated in others. When our real selves are cultivated, the gift economy is cultivated, our unreal selves (based on ulterior motivation) and all the nonsense drops away.”

    I would like to believe that if we all spent time indulging our true interests and sharing freely that we would achieve some sort of natural balance, with fewer resources wasted.

  23. Karie Kammerer says

    I love the idea of people sharing things and helping each other. I believe it is our responsibility to watch out for each other. I have a tiny apartment without cable tv or internet or a computer. My phone is my computer. I get ridiculed sometimes but actually have a few friends who have decided to disconnect their cable. I have only minimal belongings and love it. I like this interview because this man, by choice, recognizes whats really important and doesn’t let stuff clutter his life and mind.

  24. Jess says

    This was a very interesting article. Obviously, Mr. Suelo is a man. How would his experience change if he was female? He says he is not crazy, but has he ever encountered people he did not feel safe around living as he does? Has he ever asked anyone to leave his group because they either didn’t really fit or he felt they were seriously unbalanced. Maybe my preconceptions are skewing this, maybe he never runs into any crazy people at all and its very safe. Just really got me thinking this morning.

  25. Jody D. says

    With what is going on in the world today, if America were to choose this wonderful way of living, every other nation in the world would come and take her over. I don’t need to write what they would do to us or our nation as I am sure each and every one who reads this comment can imagine. We can however, take on the attitude of loving and giving rather than being selfish and self centered. Nothing really belongs to us on this earth. For example, when we move, the house we “owned” now belongs to another. Have a yard sale. All those items that were yours now belong to someone else. And in the end, when we pass on, everyTHING that was so important no longer is needed. I loved the article, I admire the guy and I enjoyed most of the comments.

  26. Kristen Stelling says

    What a thought-provoking interview. My church sent a group of young people to Pilger, NE after the tornadoes destroyed their town. It’s true, they were operating very much in a moneyless fashion as a community. Neighbor helping neighbor. It was a beautiful reminder that humans were made to live in a relationship of mutual care, not credit and debit.

  27. Sheila says

    While I agree that in many ways society is out of control with consumerism, and this was a very thought-provoking article, I don’t believe the lifestyle Mr. Suelo is living is sustainable long-term, nor for society as a whole.

    I don’t agree that sharing things like cars would save money, as the items would wear out faster if used more frequently. It could work with infrequently-used items like wheelbarrows, garden tools, etc., though.

    What about health and dental care?

  28. Sheila says

    While I agree that in many ways society is out of control with consumerism, and this was a very thought-provoking article, I don’t believe the lifestyle Mr. Suelo is living is sustainable long-term, nor for society as a whole.

    I don’t agree that sharing things like cars would save money, as the items would wear out faster if used more frequently. It could work with infrequently-used items like wheelbarrows, garden tools, etc., though.

    How does he access / pay for health and dental care?

  29. Jane says

    I never comment on articles I read. But this article is just so refreshing. I didn’t feel pushed, I didn’t feel pulled. I only felt like I was having a conversation with a friend.

    Money has always been my issue. My family grew up dirt poor in rural Jamaica. They are still dirt poor. I own a $3000 computer. I never had much growing up and what it taught me was that my goal in life should be to grow up, acquire lots of money and give that little girl all the things she wanted and could never have. But I’m 21 now, and I too have clinical depression. And the $3000 computer won’t make it go away. I’m not sure the little girl in me is happy either.

    I can’t begin to fathom how to let go of money as an essential part of my life. But I think that Daniel’s message goes farther than that — before I physically give up money, I must mentally let it go. I think peace and relief can arrive as soon as then. At the very least, I know my current money woes will go away and that’s one less woe to be woeful about.

  30. Mohammed Ali Singh says

    Satan has successfully destroyed communal living in many a state,country,etc. And God loves christians being enslaved to demonic governments that love caging humans and making others homeless by forcing them to pay to stay in their houses. Isaiah 29:21 That make a man an offender for a word, layeth a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, that turn aside the just for a thing of nought has been imposed as a misquoted bible verse to justify the harassment of men who compliment ladies breasts,cleavages and rears.

  31. Liz Thottan says

    what if somebody offered you a million dollars to live without money for a year? I guarantee most people would figure out how to do it, skilled or no. This is about finding a determination, a motivation greater than a million dollars
    This article came on the threshold of giving up a plum job with a logistics company. Earning loads of money versus, living in the nature, with the ocean and birds and growing my own vegetables.. A dream a passion in the future,. This article raises my spirit and my path.

  32. carol says

    I agree with the person who commented about money just being a tool for bartering so people can share and get what they need… the problem is greed of course… fear that we won’t get what we want or that we’ll lose what we have… and its become such an ugly society with so many problems and crimes… People lose perspective and he is trying to keep it and succeeding pretty well for himself.

  33. Kathy says

    ” Worry is simply lack of faith, faith that everything we need is in the here and now.”

    I really needed to hear this today. I worry too much….

  34. Karen says

    At first I got this guy mixed up in my head with Paolo Soelho & thought it was BS, then I realised he was different & I read the article. Love what he says about beliefs. Fascinating reading.

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