Money is an interesting thing. It’s this thing the government produces, and the public trades for goods or services. It’s a small thing that often runs our lives. You often hear people say they can’t do this or can’t go there because they’re low on money. There’s never enough. In my family, we see money as a mildly important factor when it comes to living your life and paying the bills. In the recent years, I’ve been practicing minimalism and trying to do away with what I don’t need. I actually feel like I’ve become a hippie without the pot or vegetarian diet. As I think of the minimalist lifestyle I want to adopt, I find myself thinking about money. Is it necessarily the necessity everyone figures it is?
As mentioned before, money is something we exchange for goods or services. These days, it’s dollars and cents. Paper and coins. That hasn’t always been the case though. As far back as 9000 BC, cattle and their manure were considered to be very valuable and fines were paid in oxen and sheep. Around 4-3000 BC, people started using metals, particularly gold and silver. It wasn’t until 700-500 BC that people started using coins as money, and paper money didn’t come along until around the 13th century. Obviously this is a practice that has a history nearly as long as humans have been around, but how necessary is it really?
I have a theory. If all the money in the world disappeared at this moment, but all the resources remained intact, we would still be able to produce the same amount of things as before. As long as the physical resources were there, we could easily satisfy any human need and fulfill any human desire. This is something I want to test sometime in the next year, to prove the point of how unnecessary money truly is.
How do I plan on going about this? Bartering is a one way. To me, time is money. I am clearly not the only one who thinks like that, as there are many resources such as Workaway and HelpX that allow you to find volunteer opportunities on the road in exchange for a place to sleep and sometimes food to eat. In a lot of places, small restaurants will give travelers food in exchange for a few hours of helping wash dishes or cleaning tables.
What about getting from Point A to Point B? Hitchhiking. In today’s “trust no one” society, it doesn’t surprise me that so many people fear it. Statistically speaking, it’s about as safe as riding on a plane. Everyone warns me against it, but those people who warn me against it are people who don’t have any experience traveling the way I intend to. On the other hand, I have also talked to many people who do travel in that way who swear by hitchhiking as a means to get around. People who have much more experience than the people who warn me against it. Yes, it’s a risk, but so is walking out to check the mail. It’s really a matter of common sense and trusting your instinct. You don’t have to get into a car that stops for you if you don’t feel safe getting into it. You never know who you’ll meet if you open yourself up to the possibility.
In today’s society, money controls us and we depend on it way too much. People put too much value on money and not enough on time. Personally, I feel if I had no money at all but the freedom to travel the world and experience new things on a constant basis, I would feel like the richest person alive.