Travelling moneyless to Berlin: reflections from the road

I’ll start with what I learned. That there is something worth exploring further with Elf’s moneyless experiment. It relates to something I read in David Graeber’s Debt: the first 5000 years. Part of it related to exploring, or rediscovering rather, an understanding of human relations and interactions that doesn’t reduce them to transactions: this in exchange for that. The other part is the value of this kind of initiative in general. Let me start with the second.

We hitched a ride with 4 cars, the first to pick us up were two brothers on their way to Frankfurt. I walked up to them said hi and explained that we are hitchhiking to Berlin, and are they going in that general direction… a few minutes later we were in the car and the conversation was rolling. I won’t get into details but the trajectory of the conversation was “what do you do”, then “you can’t save the world or change the system” ending with “ok I think you guys and what you’re doing is cool and I’m a software developer, let me know if I can help on one of your projects- I try to contribute to the open source community when I can”. Next we hitched a ride with two friends from Freiburg who were headed to Kassell to perform at an a-capella choir event. They also have a hip hop band.

Next up Elf managed to connect with pair, man and woman, who were driving from Frankfurt heading in the direction of Berlin. They were quite stylish and in a flashy car so I just assumed they are a well-off couple on their way back home to a stylish apartment in an upmarket part of Berlin. I was wrong. They are colleagues working for a door manufacturing company based in a small town a few hours outside Gdansk. During the 3 hr car ride we had a lot of time to talk about all kinds of things. Elf did most of the talking as he had to translate from Polish to English in addition to just speaking for himself (if you’re not sociable, forget about hitchhiking). They asked us about ourselves and we described what Edgeryders and lote was about and I think Elf described his moneyless initiative. I was curious about their lives and asked a lot of questions. We discussed differences in lifestyles and it’s clear that a lot of what Elf said resonated with them on some level. We talked about all kinds of stuff.

On dropping us off at the gas station, the lady and I had a conversation while waiting for the counter ( I was waiting for a refill of my water bottle) and she was paying for something. I found out that they had driven over 1000 km in three days to go to a meeting with a potential new client based in Germany, and that this is pretty expensive. Apparently like myself she travels alot and seldom has time to spend outside airports, train stations and hotels while on business trips. Just before heading off into the car she came back and gave me a hug and kiss saying that we were building the future. I think I’ve made a new friend.

Steal Like An Artist - “What we are vs. what we want to be”

I now know more about what it is Elf does: he’s building tools and setting an example to enable cultural change. The way he does is by putting himself out there and living in a future he wants to be a part of. And by doing so he is contributing towards it happening. By simply taking its different components out of the realm of the unimaginable and putting them into the realm of the possible. This opens doors to spaces we didn’t didn’t know existed. In our environments but also within ourselves. I feel it everytime I am inspired by people I meet to try something new to me and this shared trip with Elf was one of them. And it’s not even over yet!

We’re supposed to go dumpster diving together before I leave Berlin :slight_smile: I experienced a “light” version of it yesterday when we passed by a dumpster on our way to Ela’s place (also on Edgeryders) where I am staying while in town. Elf salvaged a couple of packages of really high quality milk from bins outside an organic food shop. I thought it would be a much bigger deal, the food looked fine and it’s hard to justify this kind of waste of a valuable resource so it’s a pleasant discovery that to my surprise I didn’t have an issue with it. Apparently in Germany salvaging food that could be made use of this way is criminalised (“theft of private property”). I would like to know more about the reasoning and whether it is the same in other parts of Europe. And whether someone has come up with some kind of legal hack to get around the restrictions?

After the trip I have a different understanding of what Elf does than the one I had before we set off. He is building software to better enable in kind support of different initiatives by lowering the coordination costs involved in moneyless, non-transaction based, flows of reources from where they are made to where they are needed. The moneyless living experience gives a lot of insight into the social softare of human relationships: he is putting himself out there and discovering needs which he can help satisfy which he probably wouldn’t know about otherwise. What do you think?

At this point I need to say that I admire first of all Elf and second Nadia for doing this experience!

During the Making a Living breakout session I was hosting the table with the Question Mark, people came over and we ended up with the question “I want to make a living, I want to be happy but what if I am always looking towards the same ‘direction’, towards the known path and towards the same options?” People are not used to try different experiences and this is one of the reasons why people can’t find true happiness in their decisions. I remembered even say out loud that I really admire people who can give a try to moneyless living BUT i m not like them… Here I heard Elf stated that WE are the people and not THEM… we should always include ourselves to this group because only that way we can achieve something and go further trying things…

How can you judge something if you haven’t tried out?

Guys, I would like to join you at some point, be part of this and thank you for giving me this chance of choosing :slight_smile:

Really glad to have met you

Good luck with the trip <3

yayah let’s do it :slight_smile:

I don’t think I’d hitchhike on my own, actually felt much safer as a “couple” than it would have otherwise. I did it once another time a few years ago, completely mad trip (will tell you between four eyes :)). But yes it’s an interesting way to travel, and I’m really glad I took the step out into a new space. Not over… :slight_smile:

Thank You for SHARING :slight_smile:

I really enjoy hitchhiking together with you Nadia and I wish we will do it again sometimes :smiley:

Thank you for taking your time to reflect and share your experience and thoughts with others!

If you like we can go dumpster diving, still I find it a very temporary work around for getting food that would go waste otherwise, I try to focus more on suporting non-commercial agriculture and Comunity Supported Agriculture (with moneyless support). An exciting news I’ve heard in this direction lately mentions people from Occupy WallStreet connectin with CSA farms and establishing mutual support:

Also we could go for a very self organized ‘community kitchen’ also called voku here in berlin where you can leave small donation but you can still eat even if you can’t/don’t want to donate any money:

See you in the evening!

Hugs <3

Yes I imagined a more sustainable path would be a way

Was nice to see you Elf however brief.

About CSAs, you might want to find a film I saw a while back called “Farmer John” :slight_smile: Thank you for the offer, I didn’t manage to get to the community kitchen in Berlin…do you know if there is anything like it in Brussels?


Hey, I just saw this posted


I just saw this posted on Hub Brussels fb:

I don’t if it’s at all helpful for you!

kisses xx

people’s kitchen in Brussels

Hi Nadia -

There are a few places in Brussels serving meals in a warm atmosphere, for a “prix gratuit”.

I can personallly recommend the Poissonerie du Progres any Thursday evening. (And they also have an open stage on every third Thursday of the month.) I have also heard that 123 Rue Royale provides a nice community dinner on Sunday evenings.

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Quickly – make a map!

Hmm, interesting. I wonder whether Pavlik and people who share his choice have built a map of these resources. There must be others: Brussels is a friendly place, but I can’t believe it is the only city with similar initiatives.

Hey Elf, I saw the website

Hey Elf,

I saw the website you suggeste occupy farms and I find it very interesting! in general i think people should get more sensitive about donating food (in the form of salvaging) but unfortunately as Nadia wrote in some countries is still forbidden.

Do you have more information about that? How can we over passed the law and share free food ?

let’s keep it simple!

Hey Chara,

I would like to keep it simple, and help more and more people to grow food as autonomous collectives, then just share it among participants who can share it with friends as well… some people might refer to it as Friend2Friend approach :slight_smile:

I hope soon all the food we grow will never get ‘sold’ but simply shared among people we grow it for, this way commercial can quite fast become obsolete and move to the cards of history (followed by commercial projects in other fields)

See you in Berlin! :smiley:

Thanks for the story !

It’s been a really interesting reading !

Following intuitions often lead to coincidences. It seems to me a natural mechanism : the more you are aware of your environment, the more you are able to live senseful and compelling stories.

I’m gonna tell some of my own experiences to make my point.

During saturday to sunday night, i was at the hostel and couldn’t sleep. As I often do in this kind of situation, i went outside to walk a bit. When i got back, i talked a bit to the keeper to realise he was a sociologist working on african unformal communities. A subject i’m pretty aware about because my cousin is actually in africa doing sociological searches on the exact same topic !

As your meeting with the software developper willing to help you met during your trip : what are the odds ?

Recently, i lived a lot of this kind of coincidences, especially during lote conference and un-conference. I didn’t try to meet every person, i just followed my instincts, and the people i’ve talked to gave me fascinating clues, hope, love, help. It was pretty obvious it would happen in such an event, but the way it happened really surprised me as every meeting lead me to a path of understanding at a pace…

And it’s far from over !

Many many thanks to all of you !

ideali che costruiscono la storia!

Molto bello, straordinario un passo al evoluzione

credo sia la strada da percorrere, il cittadino efficente ed evoluto, responsabile, ricco di valori, disposto alla creazione di percorsi umani.

io sto occupandomi della fase di transizione, penso sia importante identificarsi come bene comune, la nostra consapevolezza tutti in sieme!

penso alle giovani generazioni, proporre alternative coinvolgenti, legate al tema della mutua esistenza,  mutuo soccorso, mutua assistenza.

camminare sulla strada della rigenerazione degli abitat naturali, ascoltando gli insegnamenti che la natura ci trasmette.

scegliere la strada della rigenerazione permette di condividere le risorse del valore dei beni comuni





Mezzi di trasporto





La natura e un bene comune

Energie rinnovabili sono un bene comune, si devono recuperare energie che vanno perdute, utilizandole ò  donandole ò scambiandole.

la fattoria Fontana Buna e il  nostro laboratorio Edgeryders siete i benvenuti, troverete il conforto della mutua esistenza,

ciao Nadia