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.

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?


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

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 !

Did you see Eimhin’s comment above? :slight_smile:

It’s funny how things lead to others. Still haven’t managed to find a moment to check out demopolitique…we’re moving and I can’t seem to find time to just read. It will slow down after the 3rd of July for me when we are settled in Brussels…

Sure !

Yeah, i saw it, it’s pretty amazing to see these coincidences happen.

As i’m in my confort zone, it happened to me only one time this week, and i miss it already.

I will probably move for a few days to brussels to see Dante as we did an intense brainstorming these last days. We’ll probably get the chance to meet and discuss calmly…

I definitely need to move forward, get to the unknown and embrace my path. Actually, i need to deal with my job and a few other things that pollute my mind. I hope everything will be as I hope, but can’t know, recent events showed me that the path is often going in unexpected directions.

Hope to see you all soon.

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

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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:

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?



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

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:

Great reflection!

Thanks for this reflection Nadia, and thanks to you Pavlik for enabling the experience by taking and sharing the first steps.

I have a funny story for you, do you guys remember the last thing. Spoke about before you left, I gave you directions to the Al Natura organis dumpster and you told me about hitch wiki. Well as it happened, when I got to the station to buy my ticket I found that I had no money in the bank and so I sat in a cafe and looked up hitch wiki and within the hour I was at a gas station hitching out of the region toward Paris.

To make a long story short I can tell you that the man who picked me up was a Czech businessman, he was a self-described ‘economic conservative’ believing in individual merit and all that goes with that descriptionary worldview. Over the course of our conversation we delved into a range of topics, we talked about the move from Christianity in his country to the individualist enlightened perspective of science and then into communism and from communism into democratic capitalism. Filip had been educated in an elite school in England on a scholarship basis and had worked in youth services with the EU before taking a managerial position in his current company which works in distribution of promotional materials for various companies.

We spoke about Ireland and the psyche of authority that exists there as a consequence of the catholic education system, a rule based on fear and control rather than talent or ability and about how this stymmies growth in the country. Through our conversation we considered the term ‘economic conservatism’ to be site specific, a term that definitely means very different things dependent on the social conditions experienced by the culture in which the term is used. This led us to look at the financial aggression that characterises the American system and to a firm differentiation on Filip’s part between these apparently similar modalities.

We talked about the wastefulness of businesses in terms of the expenses spent by their employees and about this as a consequence of capitalist monism of profit, why spen less if it goes into the pocket of one person? This led to us imagining a business whereby a consultancy could work with companies to encourage their staff to waste less paper, use less electricity, spend less of their expenses allowances and other methods by which employees could waste less in order to work toward bonuses for all workers in terms of better health care, better employee perks and services and so on. This would improve the sustainable portfolios of businesses while encouraging employees to think more about sustainability issues and how their actions can benefit or harm their fellow employees and human beings.

At on point we spoke about my health situation in the past, my sickness and subsequent surgeries. He told me that his wife had been suffering from the same condition and had that day gone for surgery to have her large intestine removed only to have an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic. I explained to him my journey to India and the Ayurvedic tradition and it’s 4600 years of digestive health focus, how it healed in one month what western doctors had toyed with for three years . I showed him entries from my journal detailing my healing process and appealed to him to advise his wife to leave the hospital, forego the surgery and head for India for treatment giving him a contact for my doctor in Pushkar Rajastan.

Needless to say, we were both amazed at what was happening, in the space of a few hours we had come to a new perspective on what we thought were objective realities and had subsequently gone into subjective situations that could not have been more timely. 400 kilometres later Filip’s left me at the metro in Paris with a business card and thanked me as I thanked him, for the time and experience shared. I can imagine that both of us were asking the same question of our random encounter, what is it in these situations that brings the right people together at the right time, to achieve the best result?

We have to trust, and to head out without a safety net, the world becomes a home and each person we meet our guide and friend.

Thank you Pavlik for starting that, on my, Filip’s and Filip’s wife’s behalf.

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Thank You for SHARING :slight_smile:

Eimhin, I feel happy to hear about your experience and glad that you have dedicated your time to share story about it :heart:

I wish we all will find more appreciation to traditional healing arts and nature :yin_yang:

Do you cultivate an online journal where we can find more stories from your life?

:slight_smile: for few more days from #occupybb7

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Funny you mention it Pavlik, I am not very good at doing anything alone, but today a friend that I have recently met and made an amazing connection with has sent me a link to our new shared space, I will not release it until it is ready, but soon it will be available under ‘opensourcerers.4W4K3’ :slight_smile:

Happy you read the story and found some light in it, all of the very best to you, perhaps soon in Berlin, is it easy to hitch from Paris to Berlin? I imagine it will be exciting if nothing else, I’m off tomorrow , maybe catch you for a late night dumpster dive round kreuzberg :slight_smile:


Funny you mention it Pavlik, I am not very good at doing anything alone, but today a friend that I have recently met and made an amazing connection with has sent me a link to our new shared space, I will not release it until it is ready, but soon it will be available under ‘opensourcerers.4W4K3’ :slight_smile:

Happy you read the story and found some light in it, all of the very best to you, perhaps soon in Berlin, is it easy to hitch from Paris to Berlin? I imagine it will be exciting if nothing else, I’m off tomorrow , maybe catch you for a late night dumpster dive round kreuzberg :slight_smile: