After nearly three years of planning, in September 2012 Anthony Manrique and Emma Stevens set out on a big adventure. The plan was to take a roundabout route to Colombia, via France, Spain, Portugal, the Canaries and the Atlantic Ocean.
They have now been on the road for over 18 months, despite having run out of money in Colombia just over a year ago. They have not let that minor detail stop them – which we discuss in fascinating detail in this week’s podcast.
Money makes the world go round?
“Have faith in other people because they just want to help. One of the most beautiful things you can do is to put yourself in an uncertain situation and allow people to access their innate kindness because when you see the joy that people get from sharing and helping – it’s wonderful.” (Anthony Manrique)
How would most of us feel if we were in a foreign country with absolutely no money, not even enough to get home?
Maybe even a failure?
But as with so many things, it’s not the situation that matters – it’s our response to the situation. While most of us might have been freaked out by the idea of running out of money, Anthony and Emma were ready for it.
What I took away from my mind-expanding conversation with them was:
- The concept of life without money is easier to grasp if you’ve seen other people (their Hungarian friends) do it and not just survive, but thrive.
- Knowing that someone has gone 11 days without food makes it a lot less bad to go hungry for a mere 2 days.
- Exchanging hard work for board and lodging (and a lot of learning) makes everybody a winner.
- As we’ve heard so many times before on this podcast, most human beings love to help. If you recall the story of the Good Samaritan, it seems less surprising that the Samaritan stopped to help, and more surprising that the first two miserable bastards crossed the road to avoid the injured man. When adventurers go out into the world with humility and vulnerability, people respond with kindness and generosity.
- Both giving and receiving trigger happiness responses in human beings, as a reward for our interconnection and interdependence – an evolutionary response that we needed for survival.
- Maybe money even gets in the way of our better natures. Psychologists seem to have proof that this is so. There’s a great video here (with transcription) about how people with more money are less likely than poorer people to stop for a pedestrian at a crossing, and more likely to cheat, lie, and steal candy from children. Seriously, I’m not making this up! Also psychologist Paul Piff’s TED Talk: Does Money Make You Mean?
So… does money really make the world go round?
Other great quotes from Anthony and Emma’s Uncertainties blog:
“Travel, exploration and adventure should be an expression of the sacred relationship between humankind and nature. A celebration of our connection with, reliance upon and duty to planet Earth.”
“From the struggle we find that we are in fact inextricably linked to these places. We have poured blood, sweat, tears, vomit and diarrhoea onto them. And in turn they have poured something into us; something that immediately validates the difficulty, even if we don’t yet know it.”
“Without uncertainty there is no hope and adventure fades simply to motion.”
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1:40 Our first ever podcast recorded from a Colombian loo
2:55 Life before adventure
4:55 The journey prior to LWM (Life Without Money)
7:00 Their first encounters with PWM (People Without Money)
10:30 Role models for LWM, e.g. Mark Boyle, the Moneyless Man (note: Anthony emailed me after our conversation to point out that Mark is now living with money again, although still adhering to his philosophy of simplicity and continuing to live and participate within gift economies)
11:50 Starting out on LWM
13:45 Maintaining a moneyless lifestyle
15:15 Evidence that the people who have the least, give the most
15:45 Adjusting attitudes to hunger
17:30 Embracing uncertainty, allowing people to be generous
20:00 Paying it forwards, the circular economy of kindness
20:40 Does moneyless travelling work all over the world?
23:00 Misrepresentation of human nature in the media
23:30 The environmental benefits of LWM
25:00 Planning to pass on their skills
26:40 Offering work as gift
27:40 Crossing back across the Atlantic
30:45 Top tips for travelling with little or no money
33:00 Slacklining for meditation and making friends
34:40 The healing power of nature
37:00 The importance of bringing back the lessons learned – “Don’t let go of what you learned, otherwise it’s not a lesson”
38:00 Staying in touch
The Uncertainties blog – with loads of stunning photos guaranteed to induce wanderlust
And one of my favourite blog posts: Why the Hell am I Doing This?
Anthony and Emma’s Helpx page, advertising their services in exchange for board and lodging
WWOOF International for jobs on organic farms around the world
Sacred Economics by Charles Eisenstein
Crowdfund your adventure at Trevolta.com and meanwhile PLEASE chip in and help fund Anthony and Emma’s trip home! (food costs only)